Thursday, August 18

An 'outside the box' suggestion for exiting Iraq

Regardless of your political affiliation, it's clear that the clock is ticking down toward U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The twin tolls of U.S. casualties and huge dollar expenditures are wearing down the resolve of the "swing voters" who decide our elections.

In a year or two, either enough Republican congressmen will finally decide enough is enough, or the Dems will regain the presidency. Either way, the U.S. will eventually leave.

Up to and including the last day of the American presence in Iraq, terrorists/insurgents will continue to detonate a few car bombs a week. Moreover, given the huge stores of conventional explosives owned by Saddam's army, they can maintain that rate indefinitely.

Thus when the U.S. does eventually withdraw--even if five years from now, with a well-trained Iraqi police force and army in place--what will the world hear endlessly? That the Americans were "defeated," by the power of Islamic jihadists--including suicide bombers. Moreover, the Islamic faithful will be told that this great victory over the so-called "superpower" was assured by Allah's support for the One True Faith. And they'll believe it.

In reviewing the ten sentences above, do any of you see something that doesn't seem completely certain?

So to this point, unless we do something radically different, we're looking at a fairly unwelcome outcome (for conservatives and fans of western-style freedom). It would be unwelcome for 3 reasons:
* It would motivate Islamic nutcases to start pulling triggers in other countries;

* It would cause a bare majority of American voters to oppose confronting Islamic terrorism for the next decade or so;

* Finally, it would almost certainly put liberals back in control of the U.S. government for the same period. (Can you say "President Hillary"?)

In flying there's a saying that if your plane is going down and you've done everything the book says to do and nothing's helped, do something different even if it's wrong. It's an older version of 'think outside the box'.

I think the best approach for the U.S. now is to announce that we will withdraw our troops some time next year even though we openly acknowledge that civil war is a very real possibility.

Yes, Europeans and the U.S. Left will crow that they warned that this would happen--and suddenly both groups will become intensely, heart-wrenchingly (and unexpectedly) concerned about the prospect of Iraqis killing each other on a Saddam-like scale. But of course, Europeans and Leftists already hate conservatives and Bush in any case. Moreover, the animosity of the Left is trivial compared to the overriding objective here, which is to force the 'good people' in Iraq to step up to the plate and fight for their own freedom.

I don't want to see a civil war in Iraq--but if the terrorists/insurgents, including Iranian-backed Shi'ites, are determined to fight indefinitely for control of the place, how could anyone prevent them from doing so? Indeed, if a wacko Leftist dictatorship took power here and cancelled elections, I suspect we'd see exactly the same armed struggle to oust them. Hell, we had our Civil War, so who are we to tell them they can't do the same thing?

Finally: One of the military lessons we learned in Nam was that as long as the Americans are willing to do your fighting for you, virtually all locals will be happy to let us do so. Clearly, that's not a viable long-term strategy for us.

Once we took out Saddam's army--including the highly loyal Republican Guard and presidential guard units--the playing field was levelled. At that point, we should have publically started the clock counting down to withdrawal. And of course it's not too late to do that even now.

Even if there is a civil war in Iraq and the "bad guys" (however you want to define that term) win, that's not a total disaster, because the world will get to see just what life under wacko Sharia law is like. Plus, the next time the U.S. says "You need to get your shit together because we're leaving next year," people are more likely to believe it.

Bottom line is, there are several weapons that are much more destructive than anything we've used so far. One is an Iraqi civil war. We didn't want that--hell, we've been spending billions to rebuild the place--and the world needs to be crystal-clear that Iraqis themselves have the power to avoid that outcome. Totally up to them. But I suggest we announce that we're gonna' leave, and if they're dumb enough to trigger civil war, it's something that was probably bound to happen eventually.