Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Opinion: Why We Will Stay in Iraq


(Update from post on June 27, 07)

We have an overweening moral obligation to stay the course now and give the Iraqi a further chance.

Any idea that we were morally wrong to invade Iraq is simply and completely superseded by the subsequent decisions, events, and commitments of the US to Iraq and its people. (“If you break it, you own it.” Colin Powell.)

The very simplest solution is to stay where we are, consolidate our strategic and tactical gains, and do something constructive with our capabilities and assets.

We are not going to leave any time soon. There is far too much going on in the region to bring our forces home, only to find that we must reinsert them a few months later.

We are not going to admit defeat.

We are not going to give the Islamic terrorist insurgents a victory.

We are not going to let the current government down because of our commitments to them. We must help them to reach an effective government, which is, in the end, up to them.

We gave back sovereignty to the Iraqi, and claimed that we would withdraw if asked to do so by the government. Will such a request signal to the world that our mission is over and successful, and that we can peacefully wind down the effort? Can we promote that thought?

We may well support a sectarian partition of Iraq, subject to the solution to the oil revenue question. Divide and conquer is a tried and true tactic.

We are not going to let the 27 million Iraqi people down by leaving them entirely to their own devices, after promising them to stay the course. On the other hand, we should not misplace our confidence in Iraqi sects, tribes, and foreigners in the country to remain friendly to us. Thus, we must watch our backs at all times.

We are not going to let Iran and Syria move into Iraq and take over.

We are not going to let Iraqi oil be used against us, although this was one of the great mistakes of the war up to now to let the Iraqi decide how to manage their oil. We regret this decision now, so it may change. Perhaps we can play “honest broker” to ensure fair distribution of oil revenue directly to the tribes and to the government. There must be a portion of the revenue allocated for us to defray some of our costs.

We are not going to let the Kurds be massacred by Iran or Turkey or the Sunnis from Iraq, or all three.

We are not going to stand by and watch the Sunnis and Shiites massacre each other.

We are not going to turn our backs on our soldiers who sacrificed to help give Iraq a chance, over 3,500 of whom did not return alive, and over 20 thousand have been wounded, and many maimed for life.

We must disengage insofar as possible, while executing the surge in Baghdad, guarding the borders with Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia, keeping an eye on Turkey, guarding the oil infrastructure, and ensuring our supply lines.

We are not going to turn our backs on an investment of hundreds of billions of dollars to help Iraq out of its troubles.

We have a national interest in keeping a substantial force in this highly strategic area of the Middle East, next to Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

We will have a substantial force in Iraq and Kuwait for a decade or more. We must plan for a long-term presence.

This force will be useful in many ways in the near future. It will be augmented again soon now. Another 30 thousand troops may be on their way shortly, along with substantial air and naval forces, including the increase of carriers to four off the coast.

We must be ready for any eventualities resulting from the Iranian conflict, and possible Palestinian and Lebanese flare ups. Israel may well be the pivotal nation, especially if they decide to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

We are not going to substantially change the situation if the Democrats win in 2008, unless it is along these lines or something similar. There may be a draw down of forces, but it will be more symbolic than substantial, and more like down to Kuwait than to Okinawa.

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