View Full Version : A Warrior's Warning On Iraq

09-03-2006, 09:16 AM
3 September Washington Post commentary - A Warrior's Warning On Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/09/01/AR2006090101452.html)by George Will.

...With that assessment, laconically recalled in his 1963 memoirs, the experienced soldier decided to liquidate the war. He had seen at a glance that continuing it was not worth the costs.

George W. Bush might yet face an "Eisenhower moment" regarding Iraq. But not yet, in the opinion of Sen. John Warner, the five-term Virginia Republican who chairs the Armed Services Committee...

Speaking in his Senate office, Warner says that he is convinced that the essential characteristics of civil war are not yet present in Iraq. Iraq's government, he says, is "functioning," the security forces are improving and senior military officials are not plotting against the government.

But Warner also knows: The Iraqi government's writ runs barely beyond Baghdad's Green Zone. The security forces are not yet competent to hold areas that U.S. forces clear of insurgents. Holding such areas might require sending more U.S. forces to Iraq, which would further alienate Iraqis. Moqtada al-Sadr, whose support helped make Nouri al-Maliki Iraq's prime minister, has a militia that is becoming Iraq's Hezbollah -- a sovereign force within the state, and one imperfectly controlled by Sadr.

For three reasons, Eisenhower's challenge in ending the Korean War was simpler than Bush's problem would be in extracting U.S. forces from Iraq: Eisenhower had a static military front. The U.S. objective of pushing the invaders from South Korea had been accomplished. And Eisenhower had a coercive threat...

Warner believes that most congressional Democrats understand that there is an unpopular way to oppose an unpopular war -- by voting for abandonment of all the objectives for which blood has been shed. Warner defines the U.S. objective in Iraq not in terms of a glittering achievement, democracy, but as avoiding something appalling -- the Iraqi oil fields in jihadists' hands. Regarding Iraq, there will not soon be an Eisenhower moment...