Reasonably Ascertainable Reality

Thoughts and musings on current events and other random occurrences.

Location: South Jersey, United States

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The "Surge" and the President's Plan

I suppose I shall wade into the waters already chock full of opinions about what to do about Iraq.

I do not, and have never, supported a unilateral pull-out of our troops in Iraq. I think it is the highest form of ethnocentricity and arrogance to invade a county, topple its leader, destroy its infrastructure and then withdraw and leave it in chaos and then say something like "well, its up to the Iraqis."

If it was up to the Iraqi's, for crying out loud, we should have left toppling Saddam up to them too.

However, one can not continue to ignore the realities that exist in Iraq today, whether they existed for millenia, or they are something which our effort created -- perhaps a combination of both.

Iraq, in almost all likelihood, will fall into civil war. Its hard for me to imagine a situation where this doesn't happen. The only reason it didn't happen prior to our invasion was the stranglehold that Saddam had on the majority of people, and government dissenters, in the country. Now that Saddam is gone, revenge seems to certainly be on the menu.

Whether the US endeavor has hastened the path to civil war or not, the Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq seem to have little desire to live in peace with one another. Worse yet, no leader has emerged who shows any interest, Maliki included, in bridging the wide divide between these two factions, let alone the Kurds (who got a nice kick in the face when Saddam was executed prior to being tried for the Kurdish massacre...and then the charges were dropped).

Now, while I don't agree with unilaterally withdrawing our troops, I certainly oppose keeping our troops in a country intent on civil war. If the President wants a surge in forces, I'm skeptical as to how many will actually be necessary (let alone how skeptical I am that the President will be truthful in how many are necessary) to stem the violence. I am also skeptical about bringing in extra troops on the broad mission of "securing Baghdad" or some other such nonsense. Direct, clear, concise missions. Timelines for success/failure. A plan that outlines a complete exit strategy with a deadline.

Yes, I'm aware that the insurgents can just wait us out. But they can do that without a deadline. Also, if the Iraqi forces step up, they can wait us out only to be faced with Iraqi forces.

Quite honestly, I find it hard to believe a word President Bush says about Iraq and have the distinct impression he is looking for approximately 2 years of political cover. If he told me it was dark outside, I'd look for the sun.

Questions remain about where the "surge" troops will come from and how many will be enough. Sadly, I don't think anyone has any idea. But I know one thing. If the President is continuing to rely on the advisors who were so wrong on so many things in the past (greeted as liberators, oil revenues will pay for the war, "last throes" etc) he's crazier than I thought he was. At least if you are going to sell the American people on a new strategy, start by getting new strategic minds.

In conclusion, I'm open to a plan, I just don't trust this President to be truthful, to have the right plan, or to execute it properly. Not sure where that leaves me.


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