Thursday, October 26, 2006

Iraq To Do List: (1) Kill al-Sadr; (2) Iraqify; (3) Leave

Ralph Peters, over at the New York Post has an article today on Iraq very definitely worth reading. I only wish I had written it. The money quote:

. . .Iraq deserves one last chance. But to make that chance even remotely viable, we'll have to take desperate measures. We need to fight. And accept the consequences.

The first thing we need to do is to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, who's now a greater threat to our strategic goals than Osama bin Laden.

We should've killed him in 2003, when he first embarked upon his murder campaign. But our leaders were afraid of provoking riots.

Back then, the tumult might've lasted a week. Now we'll face a serious uprising. So be it. When you put off paying war's price, you pay compound interest in blood.

We must kill - not capture - Muqtada, then kill every gunman who comes out in the streets to avenge him.

Our policy of all-carrots-no-sticks has failed miserably. . .

Go read the whole thing -- here's a second link. There's not a word in this essay that's not spot on target.
I have always supported the American effort in Iraq, since the botched ending of Gulf War I. I always thought Saddam should be made an example of, and my opinion hasn't changed. But I thought that the campaign to build democracy in Iraq was a bridge too far -- and that we were setting the bar too high for ourselves. The conditions for democracy do not presently exist, and the whole place is a snake-pit of tribal, clan, religious and regional rivalries.
Once the idea of partition was rejected, the best that Iraq could have expected at this point in time was some Iraqi version of the old Republic of Korea in Park Chung Hee days. But democracy ? Not going to happen, and we allowed outselves to become overinvested in promoting that particular outcome.
That said, we need to persuade the Iraqis to throw together some kind of working government; finish-up the Saddam trial and hang him; and finally get this government (through bribery if necessary) to ask us to leave. As we do all this, we will have to Iraqify the war -- provide the government weapons and supplies, (we can set up some kind of mercenary program for the necessary advisors) and then avert our eyes as the government there puts down the rebels in whatever way it finds necessary and convenient. Killing Muqtada-al-Sadr and as much of his militia as possible would be a good first step.
We cannot afford defeat in Iraq. Read Morton Kondracke this morning, who discusses this very point: how Iraq, in its death spiral, is likely to look very much like South Vietnam when the spiritual and political ancestors of Senator Kennedy and Representative Pelosi pulled the rug from under the Saigon government, and cut off US military aid and support -- one of the most disgraceful and shameful political acts of American history.
Mr. Kondracke, in an otherwise excellent discussion, only touches on one very important point -- the domestic political consequences of such a disaster, which are worth thinking on. Over the long run, I am not so sure the political losers are as obvious as Senator Kennedy and Representative Pelosi, and others of their ilk -- would like to think.

1 comment:

louielouie said...


The conditions for democracy do not presently exist, and the whole place is a snake-pit of tribal, clan, religious and regional rivalries

imo, you would be describing the mid-east region as a whole.
one comment that bush made in his address/press conference yesterday, was something to the point of, to paraphrase, if we pull out of iraq now, then an islamic nation extending from spain to indonesia will come to pass. somehow, i think that the PM of india would have some rebuttal of some sort regarding the comment. maybe i mistook the entire comment by bush. wouldn't be the first time.