View Full Version : With Korea as Model, U.S. Ponders Long Role in Iraq

06-03-2007, 09:52 AM
3 June NY Times news analysis - With Korea as Model, U.S. Ponders Long Role in Iraq (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/03/washington/03assess.html?_r=1&ref=world&oref=slogin) by David Sanger.

For the first time, the Bush administration is beginning publicly to discuss basing American troops in Iraq for years, even decades to come, a subject so fraught with political landmines that officials are tiptoeing around the inevitable questions about what the United States’ long-term mission would be there.

President Bush has long talked about the need to maintain an American military presence in the region, without saying exactly where. Several visitors to the White House say that in private, he has sounded intrigued by what he calls the “Korea model,” a reference to the large American presence in South Korea for the 54 years since the armistice that ended open hostilities between North and South...

06-08-2007, 03:59 PM
Iraq after 2008 (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19099768/site/newsweek/page/0/). Michael Hirsh, Newsweek. 7 June.


In fact Bush has no intention of going back to Baker-Hamilton, says a senior White House official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record. Sure, he’s paying a lot more lip service to its recommendations, partly in an effort to gain new bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill after the White House’s successful effort to thwart a Democrat-led withdrawal plan. But one of the central recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report called for a dramatic consolidation of the U.S. presence onto a handful of large bases like Balad. There, U.S. air units and special ops would mainly focus on killing Al Qaeda and leave the Iraqis more or less to their own devices.

A long-term presence at Balad is still part of the plan—it always was—but the White House official told NEWSWEEK this week that the Baker-Hamilton panel misunderstood the mission. “What Baker-Hamilton didn’t get right is the military feasibility of doing anti-Al Qaeda missions based primarily on special forces operations,” he told me. “That isn’t feasible because Al Qaeda is so entrenched in the population.” When the National Intelligence Estimate “gamed this out,” he said, it concluded that sectarian violence was now so out of control that to allow Shiite reprisals to occur while the Americans remained hunkered down on their bases would only fuel support among the Sunnis for Al Qaeda, which would grow even more entrenched. Hence the surge’s effort to rein in Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and other chief culprits.

This will continue for many months. So while the president supports Baker-Hamilton’s “end state”—stabilizing Iraq—he doesn’t intend to get there using its recommendations. That means “a fairly robust presence beyond the end of 2008,” the official said. “A sustainable presence.” How would you define that? I asked him. “Well, sustainable has always been kind of a 10-[combat-]brigade presence. We’re at 20 now.” A plan for 10 U.S. brigades amounts to about 50,000 combat troops, and another 30,000 troops in support. So about 80,000 U.S. troops will need to stay in Iraq over the long term, about half of the force planned for the height of the surge this summer ...

06-10-2007, 11:45 AM
10 June Washington Post - Military Envisions Longer Stay in Iraq (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/09/AR2007060901464.html?hpid=topnews) by Tom Ricks.

U.S. military officials here are increasingly envisioning a "post-occupation" troop presence in Iraq that neither maintains current levels nor leads to a complete pullout, but aims for a smaller, longer-term force that would remain in the country for years.

This goal, drawn from recent interviews with more than 20 U.S. military officers and other officials here, including senior commanders, strategists and analysts, remains in the early planning stages. It is based on officials' assessment that a sharp drawdown of troops is likely to begin by the middle of next year, with roughly two-thirds of the current force of 150,000 moving out by late 2008 or early 2009. The questions officials are grappling with are not whether the U.S. presence will be cut, but how quickly, to what level and to what purpose...

Much more at the link...

06-10-2007, 02:36 PM
Does the small wars council see Korea as a model? Stabilizing a front along the DMZ is one thing, refereeing a combination civil war and proxy war with no front is another. Looking for a historical analogy is natural to explain what we are doing, Korea just doesn't seem to stand out as an example.

Doesn't this policy beg the obvious question: Unless they can rebuild support in Congress and the electorate ahead of the 2008 elections for the current presence, much less a decades long presence, just how do they think this can be politically sustained?

Anybody heard what the reaction of the Iraqi government is to this? They get a vote, too.

06-10-2007, 04:03 PM
I think part of the problem is that people are always trying to figure out what war this is and what year it is.
Iraq is not Vietnam, Nazi Germany, or Korea, it is Iraq.
This is not 1914, 1939, or 1972 its 2007.
Comparisons can only go to far and I think comparing Iraq to Korea is not a great one.
How many troops has the US lost in Korea after '53?
Besides, Korea has only now taken over the majority of their own defense (thanks to forced military service), and according to what I have heard they still need a lot of American assistance in terms of high tech weapons and some other things.
I doubt America wants to be in Iraq for +50 years.