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Demanding answers about the future of Iraq
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, December 13, 2006

On Iraq:
President Bush on Tuesday put off until early next month announcing a new approach to the Iraq war, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bush should take whatever time necessary to decide his next steps.

The White House initially indicated that Bush might deliver the speech before Christmas.

While administration officials said Bush had largely decided on where he wants to go in terms of a new policy, he gave no public hint of his plan at a meeting with the country's Sunni vice president.
Everything I'm hearing is that more troops will be committed in a "surge" with an eye on ending (or at least dramatically reducing) sectarian violence and giving the government the breathing space necessary to exert its authority and take over the policing of the country. This sort of strategy would (must) entail taking on the militias.

Two events give some hint as to what may be in the offing. One, President Bush met with one of the top Sunni officials from the Iraqi government at the White House (a purposely high visibility event):
Appearing with the visiting Sunni leader [from Iraq], Bush took no questions about the announcement by his aides that he would wait until the new year before laying out a new course for U.S. involvement in Iraq.

[...]

Al-Hashemi had said in advance of his visit that he intended to tell Bush of his "dismay" over the Shiite-led Iraqi government's handling of security. He accused the government of not doing enough to deal with militia attacks and said he was especially concerned about Baghdad, where Sunni-Shiite violence has flared in several neighborhoods in recent days.
The second event is a Saudi meeting with VP Cheney in which the Saudis told him they would move to support the Sunnis in Iraq if the US withdraws "too soon".

Those two events, at least as I see it, indicate that there is no plan to withdraw the troops anytime soon and may indeed indicate a short-term plan to increase troop strength by anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 depending on which report you're inclined to believe.

The obvious question is what does "short-term" mean? Secondly, what is the desired end-state? Lastly, are we really willing to do what is necessary to take on these militias and accept the casualties that entails?

The biggest question is, assuming we succeed, what then? What is the plan for post-surge Iraq and how do we accomplish it? The military portion of any such plan is only a small part of any solution. Assuming success, what is the post-surge plan to leverage it and capitalize on it?

Given this administrations track record in post-invasion Iraq, and assuming the upcoming plan involves a surge of troops, we should insist on detailed answers to all of these questions before the first soldier or marine's boots hit the ground in Iraq.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
So why’d they fire Obaid if he was simply saying what the prince has been saying anyway? I guess I was right that he is a mouthpiece for the regime.
 
Written By: soccer dad
URL: http://soccerdad.baltiblogs.com
I guess I was right that he is a mouthpiece for the regime.
Yup. It was all for show. Provides deniability if necessary.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think your assessment of future likely events is correct, McQ.

Time will tell if the forthcoming political manuvering succeeds in opening a two-front - sunni and shiite - war against the US. That’s how things were looking when we moved against sadr in 04.

If we’re looking for a way to exit Iraq quickly, that would at least provide the neccesary melodrama.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I will reiterate my formula for success in Iraq, updated for current events:

Step 1. Surge of US trooops
Step 2. A miracle occurs
Step 3. Stable government in Iraq

(h/t Gary Larson)
 
Written By: Steven Donegal
URL: http://
"Given this administrations track record in post-invasion Iraq, and assuming the upcoming plan involves a surge of troops, we should insist on detailed answers to all of these questions before the first soldier or marine’s boots hit the ground in Iraq."

Maybe the President could introduce his plan, then we allow 6 months for adequate polling on the plan. After the first polling cycle is complete we could ask the legislature to create a firm resolution backing the aformentioned plan. With both affirmations complete then it is off to the UN.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
Maybe the President could introduce his plan, then we allow 6 months for adequate polling on the plan. After the first polling cycle is complete we could ask the legislature to create a firm resolution backing the aformentioned plan. With both affirmations complete then it is off to the UN.
Or we could demand a compelete and well thought out plan for the entire effort (political, diplomatic, economic, military, etc) rather than making it up as they go as they have in the past?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
100,000 more troops? Cool! That’s the exact number I had in mind and here’s what they should do.

One - Seal the border with Iran, completely. Do it with clear resolve. Send more troops if necessary. In addition to strangling Irans’s support for Shi’ite insurgents, it might even prevent some of the re-arming of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Two - Coldly and ruthlessly destroy the insurgency, starting with Sadr’s militia. Our troops are perfectly capable if only we give our unambiguous consent. Overrule the Iraqi Prime Minister, if necessary, and declare martial law. If ever there was a place that justifies martial law, Iraq is it.

I use the American Military training regime as my model. Military trainers first break down their charges’ self image. Rebuilding something only comes after breaking the thing down. Just such an MO is required for the philosophically backward Arab/Muslim world (citizens exist to serve the government; the civilian population exists to protect the military; might, not a majority, make right). Attitudes on both sides of this war, both the good and bad guys, will change for the better. Those Iraqis who were with us after we deposed their evil dictator, are now doubting our commitment to follow through. We could regain their trust. Those who were against us will realize that we really mean what we say. In the ME, instilling fear is the best way to gain respect.

It will only work if, like I said before, it is done coldly and ruthlessly. We can afford for the world to hate us. It already does anyway. But, we cannot afford for the Arab/Muslim world to not respect our power.

Only when that is done, can we try again at building a Democracy there.

 
Written By: Doug Purdie
URL: http://www.onlybaseballmatters.com
Do you really believe they were "making it up" in the past. It seams to me that the only piece that is not working, is bringing the population to believe in the economic prosparity that is within their reach.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
Do you really believe they were "making it up" in the past.
Point me to a good articulation of their complete plan in the immediate aftermath of the 2003 invasion through 2004. That would include not just goals (anyone can put a list of goals together), but actual executable plans to accomplish them.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
As far as I can ascertain Tommy Franks upon assuming CENTCOM command had MG Zinni’s desert crossing report (1999) According to MG Zinni all required Washington was in on its compilation. The report points out most if not all of what is happening currently (Looting, Neighbor issues, Lack of regional help, revenge killing, corruption, rebuilding military & police). While I do believe timing and scale issues of a plan are leading to problems we see today, I do not see it as a lack of having a plan. The sheer size and scope of the undertaking has to be taken into account.

Also The DoS had a similar plan based on post Military action needs.

Washington, DC, September 1, 2006 - The National Security Archive is today posting State Department documents from 2002 tracing the inception of the "Future of Iraq Project," alongside the final, mammoth 13-volume study, previously obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. "The Future of Iraq Project" was one of the most comprehensive U.S. government planning efforts for raising that country out of the ashes of combat and establishing a functioning democracy.

Having been involved in projects in the 500Mil to 1Bil range for both private and military. At some point the core group has to give up direction and implementation, for the project to complete. Once you pass that milestone all contingencies can not be planned for. I will be very interested to read the actual aftermath history.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
100,000 more troops? Cool! That’s the exact number I had in mind and here’s what they should do.

I’m sure our 35% approval rating president will have no trouble pushing through a 100K troop increase through a Democratic Congress in a time of multihundred billion dollar deficits and defense spending at a post-WWII historical peak,

as long as he promises to use those troops in a 35% approval war of choice in its fifth year, in a hyperbloodthirsty game plan that immediately expands US monthly fatalities by a factor of three or more and provides daily world headlines of US corral-and-exterminate operations, ("coldly and ruthlessly").


Just what you’d expected from an "onlybaseballmatters" URL commenting on foreign affairs.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Coaster, for god’s sake. You’re literally killing me.

As far as I can ascertain Tommy Franks upon assuming CENTCOM command had MG Zinni’s desert crossing report (1999)

Coaster, Desert Crossing is the plan that called for 500K troops - and was still pessimistic. This plan was used for toilet paper. There have been dozens of well-researched books about this. Read one. Please.

The National Security Archive is today posting State Department documents from 2002 tracing the inception of the "Future of Iraq Project," alongside the final, mammoth 13-volume study, previously obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. "The Future of Iraq Project" was one of the most comprehensive U.S. government planning efforts for raising that country out of the ashes of combat and establishing a functioning democracy.

Also completely ignored. No, "ignored" is too passive a word. The DoD did everything it could to bury this plan and ruin its creators. Why? A bureaucratic culture obsessed with contempt for other government agencies and a desire for total control.

It won’t get better, either, until someone cuts the place down to a shadow of its former self. The place needs to be gutted - you could axe half the staff and money and still have more than you need for what should be a skeletal system of planning, PR, and interagency coordination.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
So what your saying is internal government bureaucracys infight. That is a pretty bold statement Glas I hope you have some documentation to back that up. Don’t worry soon enough your folk will have all the power and everything in the government will be OK again.

Back to the point, regime change was executed with a plan, The only written proof I have is declassifed documents on the subject (Zinni, Franks, DoS). Unlike glas I don’t think most authers are very objective on the subject. (Not a knock just an observation)
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
The place needs to be gutted - you could axe half the staff and money and still have more than you need for what should be a skeletal system of planning, PR, and interagency coordination.
The State Department? Sure!
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
While I do believe timing and scale issues of a plan are leading to problems we see today, I do not see it as a lack of having a plan. The sheer size and scope of the undertaking has to be taken into account.
So in essence you’re telling me they had no idea of what that scope was, and consequently had no plan to deal with it?

That’s my point.
"The Future of Iraq Project" was one of the most comprehensive U.S. government planning efforts for raising that country out of the ashes of combat and establishing a functioning democracy.
While that may be true, there’s very little indication the followed it or any plan in the immediate aftermath of the invasion through 2004.
Having been involved in projects in the 500Mil to 1Bil range for both private and military. At some point the core group has to give up direction and implementation, for the project to complete.
I agree. And indications are that has been all but completely lacking, for the most part, in all areas other than military.

For instance when L. Paul Bremer took over the Coalition Provisional Government for Iraq, he was playing with a completely different playbook than the military. There had been no attempt to integrate their effort, which says to me - a guy who spent 18 years in operations writing and integrating plans - that there was no real overarching plan for Iraq, and if there was, it wasn’t being followed.

Having heard interviews with Bremer, it was clear he was acting pretty much on his own with little or no real interface with the military side of things (even though he reported directly to Rumsfeld).

Was Bremer properly plugged in and a part of the plan. Uh, no. From an interview with Chris Wallace where he asks Bremer, "Was there a failure of planning for this occupation?":
BREMER: You know, it’s very hard for me to judge that, Chris. I was, you know, a businessman running my own company right up to and through the war, and until about a week before I wound up in Baghdad.

Let me just say a word about Jay Garner, who was my predecessor.

He is a marvelous man and a great public servant. He did a terrific job under very difficult circumstances. People forget, you know, even when I got there, but especially when Jay was there, the city was on fire. There was gunfire and looting going on. We had no electricity, no water. The whole country was generating 300 megawatts of power, less than a tenth of what it needed.

So he was there under extraordinarily difficult circumstances.
Nice dodge, eh? That’s when Bremer was pushing the company line, but his admitting he wasn’t involved in planning. Later on he, after continuing to dodge the question he said:
I frankly am going to leave the question about whether the pre-war planning could have been better or worse to the scholars and the historians. I really frankly didn’t have a lot of time to look backwards. As you said, 20/20 hindsight, it’s a great thing, especially if you’ve got the time to look back. I really didn’t have a lot of time to examine the pre-war planning. I’m sure plenty of people will.
Really? So what did he ’execute?’
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
So what your saying is internal government bureaucracys infight.
See Barry McCaffery’s Iraq assessment. He’s brutal concerning the failures because of governmental bureaucracy.
The U.S. Inter-Agency Support for our strategy in Iraq is grossly inadequate. A handful of brilliant, courageous, and dedicated Foreign Service Officers have held together a large, constantly changing, marginally qualified, inadequately experienced U.S. mission. The U.S. influence on the Iraqi national and regional government has been extremely weak. U.S. consultants of the IRMO do not live and work with their Iraqi counterparts, are frequently absent on leave or home consultations, are often in-country for short tours of 90 days to six months, and are frequently gapped with no transfer of institutional knowledge.
And:
In Iraq, nothing is possible without carefully managed relationships between the U.S. officials and their Iraqi interlocutors. Trust between people is the prerequisite and basis of progress for this deeply Arab culture. The other U.S. agencies of government such as Justice, DHS, Commerce, Agriculture, and Transportation are in Iraq in small numbers for too short time periods. The U.S. Departments actually fight over who will pay the $11.00 per day per diem on food. This bureaucratic nonsense is taking place in the context of a war costing the American people $7 billion a month - and a battalion of soldiers and Marines killed or wounded a month.

Bremer also mentions it:
Now we then ran into problems in the Washington bureaucracy, getting that moved forward. And I was certainly among the most critical of that process. And we ran into problems with the contracting which requires a 90-day turnaround for any contract let. And that was, I grant, a problem, but that was the law. And we wanted to obey the law.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
While we are surging and cleaning out the militias from Iraq, what will Maliki be doing? He has demonstrated his fondness for certain militas and has blocked attempts to deal with them.

So, are you suggesting we ignore him or, maybe, depose him? Impose a new government with military force? What?

You are making the same mistake Bush made. You make up plans that ignore everything but military action, including the people that live in your military arena.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
Sorry, The "infighting" line was a bit of sarcasm. A plan of this size and scale is likely to be frought with middle managers who are incompetent and I agree the Military is doing a great job of showing it can adapt and overcome by executing changes in its battle plan. I guess time will only tell if we went in flying blind or not. Personnally I believe they knew exactly what the size and scope was.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
So, are you suggesting we ignore him or, maybe, depose him? Impose a new government with military force?
Although I can’t guarantee it I’m pretty sure this isn’t being done in a vacuum. My guess is al Maliki is quite aware of what the general plan is (or will be). I think one indicator of that probablility is al Sadr’s break with the government.
You are making the same mistake Bush made. You make up plans that ignore everything but military action, including the people that live in your military arena.
Oh please Laime, some context. The article is about the plan to add more troops so that’s the context in which it was written.

But also said in the post was:
The military portion of any such plan is only a small part of any solution. Assuming success, what is the post-surge plan to leverage it and capitalize on it?
Did you miss that?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
MEA CULPA, MCQ.

I did miss that part.

It seems like everybody and his brother has a solution to offer, and I’m having trouble keeping track of who said what.

I’m only sure of one thing: this is one ungodly mess.
 
Written By: Laime
URL: http://
It will only work if, like I said before, it is done coldly and ruthlessly. We can afford for the world to hate us. It already does anyway. But, we cannot afford for the Arab/Muslim world to not respect our power.
Our influence in the world is in decline, and our capacity to somehow secure Iraq through force is probably gone. Not only that, but the American people wouldn’t put up with it. Iraq is our Boer war.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, Influence gone?? Force gone ?? WTF? The American people won’t put up with it??? WTF??? You need to leave campus (bubble) for a while dude! why do you hide on campus?? (Fear)
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
"Or we could demand a compelete and well thought out plan for the entire effort"

Sure. But that would take time, and time seems to be lacking. The French used to have a strategy called "Debrouillez-vous"(sp?), which means something like "Muddle through". And you thought the French were contributing nothing to our efforts there.

***************************************************
"The sheer size and scope of the undertaking has to be taken into account."

You mean like someone would do if they were to make a plan?

****************************
"Our influence in the world is in decline,"

You know, I have heard that line, or variations of it, since the 1970s, and read of it being used before that. Don’t worry, we will get it back as soon as they realize(again) they need us.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Sure. But that would take time, and time seems to be lacking. The French used to have a strategy called "Debrouillez-vous"(sp?), which means something like "Muddle through"
Yeah, and history tells us that’s worked out rather well for them, hasn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"Or we could demand a complete and well thought out plan for the entire effort." - McQ

Setting aside the fact that no battle plan survives contact with the enemy, and setting aside the fact that "we" are in no position to "demand" anything — Bush doesn’t have re-election to worry about and when push comes to shove even the new Congress will grovel as soon as the "you’re betraying the troops in the field if you don’t give me what I want" card is played ...

... well, wait. We can’t set aside those things, can we?

The question is not whether the war will be won or lost. It was lost more than three years ago. The question is how many more US body bags will be filled before that is acknowledged and acted upon in the only sensible way — unconditional, unilateral and complete US withdrawal from Iraq.

Tom Knapp
 
Written By: Thomas L. Knapp
URL: http://knappster.blogspot.com
Well if we "can’t"...
"...demand a complete and well thought out plan for the entire effort."
... it seems rather pointless to believe we can demand a ...
"... unconditional, unilateral and complete US withdrawal from Iraq."
... doesn’t it?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Glas, The war started successfully (for a war) and now has degenerated to something horribly wrong (According to some). Why do the in theater commanders keep saying the don’t want to increase troop levels. Is it wrong to believe that the current troop levels fit the plan??

Also I respectively disagree that all is lost in Iraq. Most admit some good things have happened and are happening in Iraq. The polls show "Americans" believe it a total failure. Leads me to believe either the "wisdom of the crowds" is wrong for once or their not being shown all the jelly beans in the jar.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
"Yeah, and history tells us that’s worked out rather well for them, hasn’t it?"

You dare question the Gloire and brilliance that is La Belle France? Anglo-Saxon cochon.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Scott, Influence gone?? Force gone ?? WTF? The American people won’t put up with it???
Do you really read "influence in decline" and understand "influence gone?"

Clearly if you look at the polls and recent elections, the American people are sick of the Iraq war. Prepare for the "Iraq syndrome." Face it, reality has proven that the pro-war side who thought it would be easy to bring democracy and stability to Iraq, that oil revenues would pay for the reconstruction, and we’d be pressuring Iran and Syria have been shown to be way out of touch with reality, caught in a kind of theoretical fantasy. You have to deal with reality, not what you wish to be.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, Theoretical Fantasy? Your scholarly utopian socialist views and all of its institutions are batting 0. It amazes me someone can be so intellectually sheltered. May I suggest stepping out of your comfort circle of thought. I hate to break it to you but there are bad people in the world and they need to be dealt with.

By the way do you ever wonder how many people sit in slums and depravity dieing while the talkers of the world pontificate and scheme on how to act.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
Your scholarly utopian socialist views
Since you’re lying right from the start, you clearly aren’t engaged in honest discourse. I’m an anti-utopian pragmatist. As for pontificating — what do you think you’re doing? I suggest you engage ideas rather than just insult.

Of course there are bad people in the world. That’s why I suggested everyone read Romeo Dallaire’s book
Shake Hands with the Devil
, and confront the reality of what genocide is, and how the United Nations and major powers not only did nothing about it, but went into active denial about what was happening. People criticize Clinton about Lewinsky, that was nothing. His utter failure and hypocracy in the Rwandan tragedy makes him a failed President as far as I’m concerned. Oh, and read
Machete Season
to get the perspective of the people who actually did the killing — their own stories.

What too many seem to do is either look at the world through a partisan lens, or, rather than engage ideas different than their own, simply insult and attack, and think they know anything about another person through this kind of exchange. You can do that if it makes you feel good — send off a flame, let off some steam. I’ve done that myself, I admit. But it really doesn’t help build solid, honest, political discourse.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, I have an idea, you are misinterpreting the term pragmatic with the term pessimistic. (Reasons below)

Main Entry: prag•mat•ic
Pronunciation: prag-’ma-tik
Variant(s): also prag•mat•i•cal /-ti-k&l/
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin pragmaticus skilled in law or business, from Greek pragmatikos, from pragmat-, pragma deed, from prassein to do — more at PRACTICAL
1 archaic a (1) : BUSY (2) : OFFICIOUS b : OPINIONATED
2 : relating to matters of fact or practical affairs often to the exclusion of intellectual or artistic matters : practical as opposed to idealistic
3 : relating to or being in accordance with philosophical pragmatism

Main Entry: pes•si•mism
Pronunciation: ’pe-s&-"mi-z&m also ’pe-z&-
Function: noun
Etymology: French pessimisme, from Latin pessimus worst — more at PEJORATIVE
1 : an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome
2 a : the doctrine that reality is essentially evil b : the doctrine that evil overbalances happiness in life

The second Boer war?? Is some how equal to Iraq. False statement! The closest parallel I can derive you are trying make is "imperialism" and you have not made the case. Maybe your comparison is based on Oil is Gold and you have not made that case either.

You have yet to offer any solution to anything! There is no action just thought, theory and dialect, if I would just read X, I would understand. Some of us don’t need to read killers memoirs to understand why they killed. They just did!! Do you think you can stop future killing by understanding why people kill?? Why do you oppose Darfuring genocide and but gladly send the Iraqis to their mass graves?? Only reason I can surmise is your are truly just a political agent for the Dems. I mean killing is killing right?
If you are interested in "solid political discourse" then post a thought beyond "all is lost, America the Imperialists, Dem talking points memo".

Lastly if you think the last vote signaled a sea change than you are sadly mistaken prepare to be used by the progressive party of change like you have never been used before. Good luck with that!
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
You have yet to offer any solution to anything!
On the Iraq war, check my blog entry of December 4 (click the link below and scroll to December 4). Most of your post is just a weird set of assertions that have no basis in reality. Also check out the November 13th entry, and if you wish I can point you to entries on Darfur and the conflicts in northern Africa.

Your problem is you’re looking to attack me personally without really thinking about what I’m writing. You should confront my ideas with your ideas, and then we can have an effective exchange.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott,
Scotts plan minus observations. If my condense job is wrong or I missed a point sorry.

1. UN creates a new plan. Partition, ??consociationalism?? (to big for even the dictionary), a major UN force.
2. Be humble

Comments
1. The UN has proven itself an ineffective military force. (Kosovo, Somalia, UNIFIL, Darfur)
2. By inviting other Arab nations to Iraq the fighting will really heat up. Seeing how they all have differing agendas. The Saudis basically said they would fund half the civil strife in Iraq if the US left.
3. Europe has already singled its thoughts pretty clearly on positioning troops in Iraq. The EU knows there are two dynamics afloat in Iraq. Iraq on Iraq and Arab on west (There has been attacks either planned or carried out in most EU countries). Other reasons EU will stand down. Large Muslim populations at home. Every time they have meddled in the region before they have made things worse. Such as the French colonization technique of arming the minority (Baathist) and putting them in power. It is pretty much why we are there now.
That leaves UN Guns for hire from where Buddhist countries??
4. The US is like any other country in the world looks out for its interests no problem there.
5. Lastly I see Iraq just as you see Darfur. If we went in to stop the genocide in Darfur it would play out pretty much the same as it did in Iraq.

Nice caveat "It is within the capacity of the international community to save Iraq, but they may not have the will."

I think we need to continue to.
stand up Iraq army,
stand up a police infrastructure,
Allow for vote,
Support the elected national government,
Allow for national healing no matter what form (As long as our guys are not caught in the cross fire).
Target money and security to anybody willing to start producing
Build extensive and decentralized communications network and encourage entrepreneur ship in those areas.
Continue to stabile Electrical and Oil production capacity
Stop listening to people who wish to undermine the effort.
Stay the course
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
Forgot one.
Leave troop movements and deployment levels to the commanders on the ground.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://
I think we need to continue to.
stand up Iraq army,
stand up a police infrastructure,
Allow for vote,
Support the elected national government,
Allow for national healing no matter what form (As long as our guys are not caught in the cross fire).
Target money and security to anybody willing to start producing
Build extensive and decentralized communications network and encourage entrepreneur ship in those areas.
Continue to stabile Electrical and Oil production capacity
Stop listening to people who wish to undermine the effort.
Stay the course
I agree the international community won’t do what is necessary. That’s an appalling lack of morality and spine.

Yet we disagree still on whether it’s possible for the US to accomplish what you want. I don’t think this war is "winnable," in that it is not a war (we already won the war) but an attempt at social engineering. I think America is caught in the trap of universalism — we are so sure our way is right that we don’t understand that our political ideals are a cultural product that developed over centuries. We seem to think others will simply adopt it once the ’bad guys’ are gone. I’m skeptical.

You can have the last word — I’m heading to Italy after Christmas (with 40 students) and things are too hectic to continue posting now. Have a merry Christmas and happy New Year, and I’ll probably post again in mid-January.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Scott, Your right imposing a political solution is no better than propping up another Sadam. I don’t think we are practicing social engineering though. First if we can hold off the next dictator long enough (Hopefully forever) to have some level of prosperity take hold than it will be a success long term. Secondly Iraq GDP has shown a pattern of growth lately (above estimates). That is good news. People with prosperity tend not to want upheaval. Third our military is doing a great job of adapting to the situation, the more people they can train and institutionalize the better. This will only continue to weaken the militias. Lastly in a system based on pride and shame the more the Iraqi’s do themselves the better, so gradually taking steps back as assessed by our military leaders will promote more pride than shame. Unfortunately all these actions have long term results and are precarious at best when new. Hopefully America has the stomach for finishing what it started. I do strongly believe that if these trends take root it will help stabilize part of a region that was and is directly involved with trying to kill people.

Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New year to you and yours.
 
Written By: coaster
URL: http://

 
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