Monday, December 11, 2006

Iraq, And How To Win The Mid-East

There are two ways to get the US out of its jam in Iraq:

1) Leave
2) Stay

Brilliant, ey? Doesn't get any simpler than that. The irony is intended, but there are military solutions to Iraq, real, workable solutions represented by those two most basic approaches. Lest you think it arrogant of me to propose such, I claim my right to do so by the manifest, criminal and repeated failures of the pros and the "experts." Bear with me, because each approach can work, both would marshal largely untapped resources, and neither excludes the other.

Obviously, a gradual draw-down won't help, being merely the catastrophic status quo writ small. The warning phrase the Bushies are so fond of invoking, "make no mistake," applies: the US has been defeated in Iraq. It's a fact. Base and unit-level perimeters have already shrunk dramatically in response to worsening conditions, only Rumsfeld and his cowed careerists never bothered to mention it. The number of bases has shrunk from 110 to 53. This is because the US Command in Iraq is struggling to just keep its supply lines open. Shrinking perimeters during an occupation, although tactically prudent, is ultimately about as effective as Napoleon shrinking Le Grand Armee's perimeter in Russia, and nearly as ominous. A gradual draw-down will allow the insurgents near-complete mastery of the ground, and will probably result in much higher losses on all sides while it occurs.

What if the US had 500,000 combat troops to send? It doesn't. McCain and his new Neocon buddies are suggesting 20-3o,ooo more combat troops will solve the problem. The depths of delusion and depravity which gave vent to that notion deserve public pillory, and it's a measure of our nation's troubles that these nonsense-spewing monsters walk unmolested and unchallenged. Their suggestion is so insultingly ridiculous as to be genuinely sadistic. Listen: even if the US were to institute the draft and sent a million troops in, it would simply aggravate resistance levels because it has by now richly earned either the distrust or hatred of every Iraqi alive, and collectively they'd rather die than live under us. They gave up on polite hints long ago. The US has lost ability to impose its will on Iraq at any force level, and is being ground down through a now rapidly devolving stalemate. Sending more US troops is a waste of lives and economy.

Left to its current trajectory, most of Iraq will become a client state of Iran, with the Sunnis turning to Taliban-like Shariah-preaching warlords to stave off genocide, and the Kurds provoking a war with Turkey, Iran, or both. Can anything work? Yes. Knowledge of political gravity. Judo. Altering Iraq's trajectory in ways which suit US interests can be effected by completely and utterly withdrawing troop presence, or by massive international reinforcement. Neither are sure things, are without question dangerous and hinge on tricky implementation, but they both have a good chance of working. Contrast them with guaranteed failure, and they'll both start looking more attractive. Even to Boosh himself. It'll probably take about a year before the Washington jeniuses are ready, and chances are high Iran will be bombed before then as the compensation for impotence, and as yet an excuse to fiddle with new weapons and air power theories. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Solution One: Leave (And Make It Arabia's Problem)
Shia dominance can be used against it. If we completely pull out of the country, it will create a power vacuum, and power vacuums fill themselves with whatever is available. This one has an ancient religious rivalry surrounding it, and if it is not filled, Sunnis in Iraq face genocide and poverty. The US absence will suck in support from the Saudis and other very rich Sunni nations. This support will rapidly mean heavy weapons and volunteers flowing into and fortifying the Sunni Triangle, and it will mean the re-formation and financing of an outnumbered but technically superior, well-organized army capable of defending itself handily. It will mean humanitarian aid. It will be bloody, but a lot less so than "stayin' the curse" will be, and balance will be achieved. This will work because Iraqi Shias fundamentally don't want to be vassals of Iran. With balance, an oil revenue-sharing sharing deal can eventually be brokered, as recommended by one of the Iraq Study Group points. (If it worked for Alaska, it can work anywhere.)

Solution Two: Stay (And Make It Europe's Problem)
Iraqi oil flows to Europe, as does Iran's. There is another option, and it amounts to widening the conflict in a smart way. In effect, Iraq's future oil production can be used to entice massive reinforcements from Europe, and as window dressing, from the UN. By massive, I mean an international force of close to a million men, with 600,000 troops in-country at all times. French troops. German troops. NATO troops. Maybe even UN troops. Most important is that US troops and flags are not much seen in Iraq for a long time, and that Europe and the World are allowed into Iraq to provide security and humanitarian aid. This will work because it's what the Iraqis actually want. All that's required is to give up the Neocon Dream of direct and sole US control over the world's oil patches; it's abundantly clear now that plan was not a realistic objective, and bringing Old Europe in as a full partner would share the load and salvage an energy destiny for the West.

Neither of these solutions are going to occur soon, if at all. Too much humble pie to choke down. (Funny, you'd think their mouths would be big enough.) Every day which passes decreases the odds of Iraq being recoverable to any solution. Just wanted to go on the record. Even with average leadership, Iraq could still be won.

No comments: