Above is a paraphrase of a headline on the over of a popular main stream media news magazine. We are not losing in Iraq, I don't think. In fact, I was reading in another article by Phillip Carter and Owen West that it would take over 73 years for U.S. forces to incur the level of combat deaths suffered in the Vietnam war. Beneath those words is a sentence about getting out of Iraq. At first I thought it was a reference to the idea of "cut and run", but surprisingly, that was not the case.
After a comparison to the Korean war, and a statement that at the time two thirds of the American public disapproved of the war (I'd like to see the reference on that), the writer of the article "Rethinking Iraq: The Way Forward" by Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek proceeded to outline a strategy for exiting Iraq for the most part (but not completely) while saving the nation from a civil war, thus not causing a bloodbath. His words essentially states that we should "redefine [the] mission, reduce and redeploy forces and fashion a less intrusive involvement with Iraq." I think that a reduction if forces may be disastrous, but increasing the number could be as well.
The writer states that the spiraling death toll is alarming (spiraling death toll? Compared to other campaigns, hardly - again, it would take over 73 years for U.S. forces to incur the level of combat deaths suffered in the Vietnam war ), but the unemployment rate is devastating. I guess it would be. War on one's soil can cause economic and employment strife. Our war, according to this writer, is not promoting peace, normalcy, and jobs. Much of this is blamed by the writer on a lack of security. An issue currently being tackled.
The violence increases when the American forces scale back in an area. No kidding? The violence, according to Fareed Zakaria, is being suppressed, but not resolved. That's what happens when evil people don't like the growth of democracy, and they do whatever they can to stop it.
The sectarian violence is being categorized as a low-grade civil war (well, then, I suppose the gang wars in our big cities could be categorized as low-grade civil wars too) between Sunni and Shia communities. The violence involves ethnic cleansing, and other communal attacks, displacing 365,000 people and resulting in the deaths of 2,600 Iraqis during September in Baghdad alone. A lot less than the deaths caused by unchecked terrorist groups, and by a tyrannical dictator by the name of Saddam Hussein.
American assisted Iraqi security is being created with lopsided effects, states the journalist. The article then enters a "Bush's failure" mode as well as indicating that the Iraqi security force is not only inadequate, but at fault for slaughtering members of Sunnis since, as stated in the article, the Iraqi police and army is largely Kurdish and Shia. That may be true - however, again, they are a lot less as compared to what it could have been without us there.
Democratic party line is then quoted, and Democratic Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island is labeled as "one of the most intelligent voices on foreign affairs in the U.S. Senate." Senator Reed's trip to Iraq, and a story regarding how progress is limited in the region and how Iraq is sliding back into instability, is then recounted. The paragraph completes with a sentence stating that American strategy is falling prey to the political realities in Iraq. I am sure that the political realities were underestimated by the current administration. War can be like that. I suppose it is sort of like picking the lesser of two evils. Enter Iraq, hope for democratic growth, and an elimination of the use and production of weapons of mass destruction, or allow Saddam to continue to do as he pleased, murdering his own people, cohorting with the terrorist element, and racing with Iran to see who gets the nuclear bomb first. Hmmm, which is better? Hmmm. Still thinking?
Bush is accused of misunderstanding the potential of this war. Bush is said to have believed that they could make Iraq a "united, secular, harmonious, freedom-loving" society. He further says that unseating Saddam Hussein has resulted in a catastrophe, introducing Shia-majority rule to Iraq. The contradiction is funny, here, because later the unseating of Saddam is listed as an achievement. And you know, I doubt they thought that Iraq would become this magical, united, harmonious democratic society. Democracy is tough to grow. But at least they have been given the opportunity to head in that direction, and at least Saddam is no longer their to continue his tyranny.
The Sunnis, now, because of the Shia domination of the nation, are angry, causing them to be radical and feudal. The writer does then indicate that the Sunnis fail to recognize that without the American forces to protect them, they would be massacred by the Shiites. Religious radicals are difficult to gauge. The goal is to allow them to share the power, and if that has not been achieved yet, then perhaps that is one of the reasons we still remain.
regardless, continues the writer, Iraq is getting ready for the day the U.S. departs. There is already a power struggle ensuing. A civil war is sure to erupt, according to this article, once the Americans are gone. I don't use any crystal balls, and I am sure that tensions are high, but that is why we haven't gone yet. We may continue our presence indefinitely, someday. But I am sure that eventually our presence will be minimal, but we can't push that too early, or we could very well have a problem in the region erupt - - but remember, the radical left in this nation thinks we should cut and run.
Then the question is posed: with such a dire situation, how can the United States leave and all hell not break lose? Good point.
We can't leave. Not anytime soon, anyway. He states that the Iraqi Parliament should publicly ask the American troops to stay pipe dream for now, and the U.S. should communicate with Iraq's neighbors regarding the need for security and stability in Iraq talking doesn't work too well in this region. Then again, neither does the United Nothings. . . oops, I mean United Nations. He then recommends that by 2007 American units should stop being basic security and become a rapid-reaction force to secure certain core interests. Isn't that kind of what our forces are already doing? This would reduce the number of troops in Iraq while helping the Iraqis take more responsibility for their own security. As our troop levels drop, violence will increase, and hopefully (hopefully - cross your fingers, and hope to. . . well, you know what I mean) the Shia government will fight the insurgency in its own way. The increased Sunni rebellion will force the leaders to come to a political deal. That's a big if that this stage.
The current goals in Iraq ought to be to prevent al Qaeda style jihadist groups to use parts of Iraq as a base for global terrorism, ensure that the Kurdish region retain autonomy, and contain massive sectarian violence. I agree.
Here's where it gets interesting. The writer says that fewer forces will not result in attacks on America. Terrorism could have easily been inflicted on the U.S. in the last three years. They aren't interested in us. They haven't forgotten us. It would just make no sense to attack us. Of course it makes no sense to attack us. We are in their face. They could have, but they haven't because we have taken the war to them. The left keeps trying to use American standards to describe terrorists. They don't think like us. They think very unlike us. Talking doesn't work, negotiations are baseless. They kill. It's like the scorpion when he stung the turtle, and the turtle said, "Hey, you said you wouldn't sting me," and the scorpion says, "but that's what I do."
Instead, the writer recommends we battle al Qaeda (aren't we? Why does the left think that because we have forces in Iraq we have forgotten all about al Qaeda, bin laden, and Afghanistan?), secure Kurdistan, prevent a bloodbath by pairing U.S. advisors with Iraqi Army and police forces, draw down troops and increase the number of advisors. The writer admits that this plan may not work. If that's the case, we'll have to figure out how to handle the increased violence and chaos. (and of course the Republican party would then be blamed for the increase in violence, but if it works, the Democrats would get the credit somehow) But if it does work, a new nation might emerge. After all, civil strife tends not to go on forever. not forever, though it has for 6,000 years, so far. . .just ask Israel.
Surprisingly, the article lists some achievements of our presence in Iraq, listing Saddam's capture as one of them (using the statistic that during his tyrannical rule he killed 500,000 of his own people), Kurdistan is turning into a promising society, and the political positioning in Iraq in a democratic fashion is not seen anywhere else in the Middle East region. (I guess Israel doesn't count) The suggestion, then, is like Korea, we can't pull out completely, but give up our illusions of democracy in Iraq, scale back, and hope time will work everything out.
But we can't leave now, or scale down just yet. The generals in the field will know when that type of action is appropriate. Patience, people, patience.
Like I told my daughter, I will never be upset when she defends herself or comes to the aid of her friends. That goes for the U.S. government as well.