View Full Version : An Exit to Disaster

06-27-2007, 07:38 AM
27 June Washington Post commentary - An Exit to Disaster (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/26/AR2007062601679.html) by Michael Gerson.

History seems to be settling on some criticisms of the early conduct of the Iraq war. On the theory that America could liberate and leave, force levels were reduced too early, security responsibilities were transferred to Iraqis before they were ready, and planning for future challenges was unrealistic. "Victory in Iraq," one official of the Coalition Provisional Authority told me a couple of years ago, "was defined as decapitating the regime. No one defined victory as creating a sustainable country six months down the road."

Now Democrats running for president have thought deeply and produced their own Iraq policy: They want to cut force levels too early and transfer responsibility to Iraqis before they are ready, and they offer no plan to deal with the chaos that would result six months down the road. In essential outline, they have chosen to duplicate the early mistakes of an administration they hold in contempt...

06-27-2007, 07:51 AM
26 June Washington Post commentary - The Real Iraq Debate (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/25/AR2007062501463.html) by E. J. Dionne Jr.

Quietly, the real debate over Iraq is beginning.

It's not about whether the United States should pull out troops. That is now inevitable. The real challenge is to figure out the right timetable for withdrawal, whether a residual force should be left there and which American objectives can still be salvaged.

This is not the debate President Bush wants to have come September, when a slew of reports will be issued assessing the results of the troop surge...

It is not clear to me that a lengthy commitment of that sort is either possible or desirable. But the report, written by James Miller and Shawn Brimley, has the virtue of defining three sensible goals for American policy: to prevent the establishment of al-Qaeda havens in Iraq; to prevent a regional war; and to prevent genocide. Miller defines the right objective for those who want to end the war: "There should be a much better plan for withdrawal than there was for entry." Indeed...

06-27-2007, 08:01 AM
27 June Washington Times commentary - Ratcheting up in Iraq (http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070627/COMMENTARY/106270005) by James Lyons Jr.

It is clear from recent major offensive operations in Diyala and the other provinces surrounding Baghdad that Gen. David A. Petraeus now has the wherewithal not only to clear areas in Baghdad but to seal off those parts of the provinces where al Qaeda and the insurgents have fled to corner and kill them.

In Baqubah, Coalition forces killed at least 58 al Qaeda terrorists and detained scores of others, discovered 16 weapons caches, destroyed 28 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and blew up 12 booby-trapped structures in the first five days of Operation Arrowhead Ripper. Local residents, who had just received 20,000 pounds of rice and flower and 300 cases of water, pointed troops to al Qaeda safe houses and torture chambers...

06-27-2007, 08:05 AM
27 June Washington Times commentary - Iraq's September Diagnosis (http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070627/EDITORIAL01/106270011/1013/EDITORIAL) by Tony Blankley.

The word Iraq seems to derange the minds of almost all who contemplate it. Like other famous vexations in history Carthage for the Romans, Germany for the French, the Irish for the English (and, of course, the English for the Irish) Iraq induces in the current American mind the full range of mentalities except reason.

Come September, not only Gen. David Petraeus, but many other designated experts, will deliver their report cards on Iraqi progress or lack of it. Now, two months out, serious huffing and puffing is already building up inside Washington. An independent commission created by Congress but appointed by the Pentagon, led by war critic and retired Gen. James Jones, will report back on the question of whether Iraq security forces are ready to take over more responsibilities.

Another report will be filed by Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. A number of American intelligence agencies are also reported to be preparing to file assessments in September of the current Iraqi government's capability to resolve the political logjams between Sunni, Shi'ite, Kurds and tribal leaders...

06-27-2007, 12:13 PM
27 June Christian Science Monitor commentary - What America Owes the Iraqis (http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0627/p09s02-coop.html) by Andrew J. Bacevich.

Americans, wrote Robert Kagan and William Kristol in September 2004, "have a profound moral obligation to the Iraqi people." In this one instance, the two well-known neoconservatives got it exactly right. Today we confront the question of how best to acquit that obligation.

For the war's supporters, even as their numbers dwindle, the answer remains self-evident: our moral obligation requires us to persevere until peace is restored and justice guaranteed for all Iraqis. To withdraw prematurely would be tantamount to betrayal. Morally speaking, we have no alternative but to persist. For those keen to stay the course in Iraq, moral reasoning and policy preferences neatly coincide.

For the war's opponents, the issue is more complicated. Those complications include a growing awareness that however great the US responsibility for the situation in Iraq, that responsibility is not one that Americans collectively are shouldering. Instead, "we" have off-loaded our responsibility onto the backs of a relative handful of US troops, many currently serving their second or third combat tour...

06-27-2007, 04:29 PM
The only logical extension from the evolution of shock 'n awe to the armed peace corps/nation builders is a series of outposts that can react to AQ types and the more vicious insurgent groups when they can be tagged, like festering boils to be popped with surgical air strikes from time to time, while the sepsis of the organism itself goes untreated, unchecked. Even with the will of the American people in support of the long haul, continue on as we are for 10 more years, economic projections will not sustain it. Ultimately we must define the edge our foes will gain by our withdrawal and the creation of new Ft. Apaches. Regarding the focus of this thread, in as much as John Q Citizen never felt threatened by Iraq, so too will there be no remorse for the suffering the Iraqi people will endure for at least another entire generation. We know darn well our politicians on either side of the issue will shed nary a tear for the Iraqis and that leaves the warriors who not only have to shed a tear for their fallen comrades but now for the innocents they will no longer be allowed to protect. It's a hell of a deal but it leaves AQ types with naught but Shias, Sunnis and Kurds at each other's throats and only the opportunity to create pockets of shariah existence and the few odd training camps. For a fraction of the cost of current operations, Jordan and Egypt can be bolstered on the left flank and the status quo maintained on the Afghan right flank with the help of NATO. The AQ types are not going to be generating much income from Iraq, we know that and if anything, it will become a drain on their resources as well. We have to ask too how much cash Iran really has to pump into Iraq to make it a quasi fiefdom that can be readily proctored. The ongoing IO generated form Iraq will take a huge hit as well once the hated infidels are gone in force. I wonder if we overestimate the PR value our withdrawal will have for them. They will get an immediate spike, but then what? Sunni killing Shia in the absence of the Americans doesn't say much for the AQ type mentality and their visions of the good life. I had thought Pretraeus could turn things around much quicker but I am starting to wonder if he was ever given a full deck of cards to play poker with. I guess that's another subject for another time and thread.