For those of you who wonder why it's important for our troops to stay in Iraq, read....

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Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
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With a more rational President, said President would have viewed the 11/06 election as a mandate and a message that Congress has EARNED a right to be consulted on the conduct of the Iraq war. Actually a good idea that might lead to more national unity on the difficult question of what to do NOW regarding Iraq.

Instead GWB comes up with the sudden idea of a surge---which requires far more troops than proposed to have any chance of success. And can also be regarded as a total stall tactic and cover for GWB to ignore Congress. Which can become a future national game of chicken between Congress and the President---with sound policy in Iraq the most endangered.

On the very limited plus side ledger post election---Rummy is gone, the Iraq study group has weighted in even though the President is largely ignoring all suggestions, and the President is belatedly and half-heartedly is pursuing diplomatic options.

But our constitution tucks most of the the options in Iraq under the executive wing--especially any diplomatic options. And the Congress can help the President see the light, but unlike our current President must respect our constitution in the process. If GWB&co. does not start respecting the constitution and rationality---we may see that other constitutional option, impeachment find itself back on the table. And Gonzales crisis may become that battleground while Iraq still festers.

But as I have said before and post again---a solution and progress will not be possible in Iraq until GWB&co. is gone.

And the democrats can only help make progress in Iraq through GWB or by removing the GWB roadblock. The choice may ultimately lie with GWB---he can either start to get real or go off the deep end.
 

John P

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,426
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OK, 100 posts and no solid counter-solutions posted.

How bout we just concentrate on:

1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.

2) Let's pretend Iraq never happened. What's the best way to figh global terrorism and keep if from crossing our borders?
 

Drift3r

Guest
Jun 3, 2003
3,572
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Originally posted by: John P.
OK, 100 posts and no solid counter-solutions posted.

How bout we just concentrate on:

1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.

2) Let's pretend Iraq never happened. What's the best way to fight global terrorism and keep if from crossing our borders?

1.) Do you want honest answers or are you only just looking to hear opinions to validate a certain point of view?

2.) I could list more then few things but somehow it won't be popular with this administrations supporters, friends and allies.
 

John P

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,426
2
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1.) Do you want honest answers or are you only just looking to hear opinions to validate a certain point of view?

2.) I could list more then few things but somehow it won't be popular with this administrations supporters, friends and allies.

1) I would like solutions based on facts and data, similar to the Stratfor intelligence report. This really isn't possible without studying the geopilitical infrastructure of the Middle East, the different Muslim factions and what their goals are, why terrorists exist in the first place, etc...

2) Then just give some ideas without namecalling.
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
20,984
3
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Originally posted by: John P.
OK, 100 posts and no solid counter-solutions posted.

How bout we just concentrate on:

1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.

2) Let's pretend Iraq never happened. What's the best way to figh global terrorism and keep if from crossing our borders?

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The John P. advocacy seems to basically boil down to pretend Iraq never happened, withdraw, and hope the results don't impact us at home.

As much as I despise GWB&co, and wish GWB had not opened Pandora's box, I am very worried that a immediate withdrawal from Iraq could very probably ignite a both a global war and a world wide depression. We better think long and hard before trying that.

But in fairness to John P, its just one of a tremendous number of options. We must choose one and only one of those options acceptable to the President, our Congress, and the American people. And John P is also correct, neither Anand tech or our government is making any progress in reaching any agreement---and we all know that old saying---United we stand---divided we fall.

But that does not give our President---whose only legacy is failure, any standing to maintain the Unity plan must only come from the President.
 

Jhhnn

IN MEMORIAM
Nov 11, 1999
62,365
14,680
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The whole foreign terrorists in Iraq reference from the Rightwing is extremely misleading. The only way they got there was to follow us in, after we destroyed civil authority, and the only reason they can stay is because they have common cause with the Iraqis to end American occupation. Once we're gone, the Iraqis won't tolerate their presence, I suspect...

As for the secular violence, I suspect that much of it is a manifestation of the Admin's implementation of their "Salvador Option" against largely Sunni insurgents... and of the efforts of imported Sunni extremists, terrorists from neighboring countries like the KSA and gulf states...

If they have to go home, then the Bushistas' pals will have to deal with it themselves, rather than being able to support extremism by exporting it...
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,938
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Originally posted by: John P.
1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.
One possibility: Biden's Suggestion (not really his, I forget who he said he cribbed it from, but he's the most prominent pol pushing it). Not perfect, but an Iraqi Confederation may have some chance of stability, esp. if they can actually work out the oil revenue issue. Also note that Biden, unlike most Dems, suggests a redeployment that leaves a small but significant U.S. military force to help back the central Iraqi government.
2) Let's pretend Iraq never happened. What's the best way to fight global terrorism and keep if from crossing our borders?
I have to use the "D" word that the Bush apologists here (esp. you, John P.) seem to hate so much: Diplomacy. Engage the ME governments and try to show them how terrorism and instability hurt their interests as much as ours. Play the ME governments and the terrorists off against each other.
Remember, even Iran helped us after Sept 11, when we went after the real terrorist supporters in Afghanistan. This was before GWB blew off their help by including them in the infamous Axis of Evil and killing any possibility of further Iranian cooperation.
 

bluestrobe

Platinum Member
Aug 15, 2004
2,033
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Originally posted by: John P.

The main thing I gleaned from the article was the same thing brought up right after 9/11. The Al Qaeda and Muslim fundamentalists have a long term outlook on things, how many years did they plan out 9/11? They had to go to flight school for years, etc.... The average American Joe has a very short term outlook on things, our troops are being killed, that's bad, we should pull out now.......without thinking about the long term consequences of our actions. The mainstream media, of course, plays right into their hands with their daily body counts, etc... instead of actually showing the progress being made over there. I talked to a Naval Liaison type officer who returned recently from Iraq. He said that the actual situation in Iraq is nowhere near as dire as the media makes it out to be.

This is about the same as my viewpoint. A firned of mine who returned from over there actually hates the media now and told me a few things he learned what the media was doing over there. They would only ask soldiers about the negative things and when someone asked why they didn't ask anything positive "because america doesn't want to hear anything positive from over here."
 

OrByte

Diamond Member
Jul 21, 2000
9,302
144
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Originally posted by: John P.
OK, 100 posts and no solid counter-solutions posted.

How bout we just concentrate on:

1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.

2) Let's pretend Iraq never happened. What's the best way to figh global terrorism and keep if from crossing our borders?

hehehe if someone here could offer a "solid counter-solution" he or she deserves a Nobel.

And I doubt you will find many Nobel candidates in P&N.

But keep trying to win your argument.
 

tomywishbone

Golden Member
Oct 24, 2006
1,401
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Q: "1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic. "

A: Kill george bush?


 

BoomerD

No Lifer
Feb 26, 2006
62,449
10,779
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Originally posted by: John P.
OK, 100 posts and no solid counter-solutions posted.

How bout we just concentrate on:

1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.

How about drafting the kids and grandkids (over 18) of ALL the congressmen & women, Bush's twins, Cheney's daughters, etc. who voted for this war, and send them to Iraq in combat roles...Once they actually have something PERSONAL at stake, I wonder how long it would take them to figure out a solution?
 

Drift3r

Guest
Jun 3, 2003
3,572
0
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Originally posted by: John P.
1.) Do you want honest answers or are you only just looking to hear opinions to validate a certain point of view?

2.) I could list more then few things but somehow it won't be popular with this administrations supporters, friends and allies.

1) I would like solutions based on facts and data, similar to the Stratfor intelligence report. This really isn't possible without studying the geopilitical infrastructure of the Middle East, the different Muslim factions and what their goals are, why terrorists exist in the first place, etc...

2) Then just give some ideas without namecalling.

I have to ask this again in a more detailed way because it sounds like you are begging the question here.

There are no fairy tale "and they lived happily ever after." solutions to make things right in Iraq. People need to realize this first before they can even work on extracting any sort of legitimate solution.
If you think that there will be a solution that will tie up all the lose ends and clean up all the dingle berries hanging around in Iraq you are sorely mistaken. You can't "Shock and Awe" or "Troop Surge" in a democracy if the conditions on the ground and the people do not want it. Especially if the people are not united on a basic cultural, religious and political level.

Not only is there no solution that will be clean and easy but any solution that is even feasible will require our current and future administrations to work hand and hand with countries we have already scoffed at like Iran and Syria. Without seeding some power in the region to Iran and Syria and legitimizing their regimes in such a manner that it behests them to see that Iraq succeeds in order to further promote their needs you will not have a stable Iraq. Sorry it's just the nature of the beast that this Bush administration has unleashed and we have to deal with when we removed Saddam's regime and allowed him to be hanged.

So again the question is are you really truely ready to accept alternate solutions other then status quo of "Stay the course.", "Shock and Awe", "Troop Surge", "Freedom Fries", etc? Solutions that while not perfect will work toward nudging Iraq from it's current path of self destruction but at the same time might shift the balance of power in the region away from us, our Saudi "friends" and other regimes and groups we have been propping up for the past 50+ years? If we really want Iraqis and other Middle Eastern nations in the region to take on more responsibility with creating a true lasting peace in the region then we must in turn give up and allow these nations to become more empowered even if it is at our own expense. You really can't push for one without having to give up the other if you are truely honest in asking for "real solutions" IMHO.



PS - The same goes for the "global war on terrorism" which in itself is an extremely misleading term if I've ever heard one. We are at war with a group of Islamic terrorists and their supporters who adhere to the principals of a terror organization known as Al Qiada who attacked us on 9/11. We are not at war with some Burmese ethnic rebel forces or pro-democracy rebel forces in Morocco.



 

John P

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,426
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I never said I hated diplomacy. I don't want our troops in harms way any more than the next guy.

tomywishbone - nice way to get yourself involved. And thanks for helping me prove my point once again.
 

bluestrobe

Platinum Member
Aug 15, 2004
2,033
1
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Originally posted by: tomywishbone
Q: "1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic. "

A: Kill george bush?

That bandwagon is getting pretty full. :roll:
 

First

Lifer
Jun 3, 2002
10,518
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Originally posted by: palehorse74
Originally posted by: Evan Lieb
By far the biggest bunch of nonsense you'll ever read on the Internet. What's sad is that you actually believe terrorist networks have the ability to unite under one ideal and form a government in Iraq and elsewhere when they were completely unable to do so when Saddam was in power, yet they're somehow now going to be able to do it now with a much stronger Iraq than the one Saddam ruled?

Idiocy at it's finest.
Sadly enough, Saddam stood between the terrorists and a possible foothold in Iraq. Now that he is gone, if we were to leave prematurely, portions of Iraq would become a terrorist-training playground.

I don't know where you get the idea that there would be a "much stronger Iraq than the one Saddam ruled" if the US left. The complete opposite is true.

Without a US presence, the entire country of Iraq will collapse into several years of even more violent chaos than you see today. We are the only entity standing between the terrorists and their dream come true - fact.

Are you even paying attention? With all this talk about "idiocy," I think you need to grab a mirror.

It's a well known fact Saddam-led Iraq post-2000 (or hell, post-91) was a shell of its former self and, especially by the turn of the millieium, had no such ability to effectively thwart the insurgencies you're seeing now in Iraq. If you think otherwise you're just not very well informed, because it has been known for many years now that Saddam-led Iraq was nearly completely decapitated economically, politically, and militarily post-91 and especially the years leading up to his capture. Iraq was done as a military power (as you can see, no weapons labs, no WMDs, and therefore no ability to fight off invasion).

Any notion that terrorists will "take over" Iraq once the U.S. leaves, when they never came close against a Saddam-led Iraq (the current state of Iraq is far more militarily capable than Saddam-led Iraq was just before the war), is utter nonsense made up by a pretend GI Joe.
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,938
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Originally posted by: John P.
I never said I hated diplomacy. I don't want our troops in harms way any more than the next guy.
It has been proven that diplomacy does not work, there was plenty of that during the Clinton administration. To me that is basically pretending we don't have a threat, which is dangerous.
While you do not say you "hate diplomacy", you dismiss it as useless. How can we know it won't work in this situation if Bush & Company refuse even to try to engage the Middle Eastern opposition?

I also note you do not comment on what I will call the Confederation Option as presented by Senator Biden. Do you not want to acknowledge a possible workable solution if it comes from a Democrat?
 

Lemon law

Lifer
Nov 6, 2005
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A big bingo for CallMeJoe when he points out---While you do not say you "hate diplomacy", you dismiss it as useless. How can we know it won't work in this situation if Bush & Company refuse even to try to engage the Middle Eastern opposition?

If nothing else---after trying the military option for four years in Iraq---we now know pretty well that the military solution does not work. But even that statement fails to gain traction with some as they prefer to think the current new new new GWB military plan will suddenly work---after the GWB military planed failed, the new GWB military plan failed , and the new new GWB military plan failed also.

We all have to remember that GWB said bring it on----and those opposed to George's delusional vision for Iraq---which is now nearly everyone in the entire world---took him up on his offer and brought it on in universal rejection of the GWB military plan.
 

John P

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,426
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While you do not say you "hate diplomacy", you dismiss it as useless. How can we know it won't work in this situation if Bush & Company refuse even to try to engage the Middle Eastern opposition?

I also note you do not comment on what I will call the Confederation Option as presented by Senator Biden. Do you not want to acknowledge a possible workable solution if it comes from a Democrat?

A big bingo for CallMeJoe when he points out---While you do not say you "hate diplomacy", you dismiss it as useless. How can we know it won't work in this situation if Bush & Company refuse even to try to engage the Middle Eastern opposition?

If nothing else---after trying the military option for four years in Iraq---we now know pretty well that the military solution does not work. But even that statement fails to gain traction with some as they prefer to think the current new new new GWB military plan will suddenly work---after the GWB military planed failed, the new GWB military plan failed , and the new new GWB military plan failed also.

We all have to remember that GWB said bring it on----and those opposed to George's delusional vision for Iraq---which is now nearly everyone in the entire world---took him up on his offer and brought it on in universal rejection of the GWB military plan.

I never dismissed diplomacy as useless. I said that whatever diplomacy occurred during the Clinton administration was useless in my opinion. And the fact is that diplomacy will flat out not work with the type or person willing to sacrafice small children in the back seat of their car bombs.

As far as the Biden confederation thing, I never commented on it because nobody ever brought it up. I would consider it a viable option if nothing else works, but not quite yet.

Lemon Law again proves the point of the Stratfor article. We can't say the military option hasn't worked yet, it's still way too soon. I recall somebody (Kissinger?) stating that it took 7-8 years to stabilize Nazi Germany after WW2. And we have a much more complex situation and a lot less help from allies in Iraq. So, I think we need to have a much more longer outlook on Iraq than the current 4 years.
 

CallMeJoe

Diamond Member
Jul 30, 2004
6,938
5
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Originally posted by: John P.
I never dismissed diplomacy as useless. I said that whatever diplomacy occurred during the Clinton administration was useless in my opinion. And the fact is that diplomacy will flat out not work with the type or person willing to sacrifice small children in the back seat of their car bombs.
Originally posted by: John P.
It has been proven that diplomacy does not work, there was plenty of that during the Clinton administration. To me that is basically pretending we don't have a threat, which is dangerous.
A very fine hair to split. Also, you do not negotiate directly with the terrorists; you negotiate with the powers in the region who have the ability to impede the terrorists, and to help stabilize the region. You negotiate with your enemies, as you cooperate with your friends.

As far as the Biden confederation thing, I never commented on it because nobody ever brought it up. I would consider it a viable option if nothing else works, but not quite yet.
Nobody ever brought it up except in the same post you responded to:
I never said I hated diplomacy. I don't want our troops in harms way any more than the next guy.
You continue to give it short shrift; would you care to comment further on why you think it too early?
Originally posted by: John P.
Lemon Law again proves the point of the Stratfor article. We can't say the military option hasn't worked yet, it's still way too soon. I recall somebody (Kissinger?) stating that it took 7-8 years to stabilize Nazi Germany after WW2. And we have a much more complex situation and a lot less help from allies in Iraq. So, I think we need to have a much more longer outlook on Iraq than the current 4 years.
We have a lot less help from allies because GWB & Co. alienated most of our potential allies at the beginning of this war, and showed nothing but contempt for anyone who did not unquestioning support a rushed and badly misguided invasion.

This administration continues to look for a primarily military solution for what is really a political and economic problem. The Iraqis who support insurgents do so because they view our military as an occupying force rather than a stabilizing influence. They view the Maliki government as an American puppet regime, not a legitimate Iraqi institution. Those who support the militias do so because they identify more with their ethnicity than with their questionable nationality. "Sunni" and "Shi'a" is what they are; "Iraqi" is what the western powers who invented Iraq and the dictators who ran that invented nation told them they were. The confederation option gives them that ethnic identity within a larger union that has some hope of stability, however faint.
Insurgents find it easy to recruit because most Iraqis have no jobs and no meaningful options for improving their lives. The United States and Britain made the economic recovery of western Europe the top priority at the end of WWII, rebuilding a Germany far more devastated than we found Iraq after Saddam's removal. Every part of the reconstruction has been bungled. Iraq has more unemployment, less electricity, less oil and petrol, less clean water than before the invasion, despite the waste of tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts. There is still no "Marshall Plan" for Iraq, just more troops.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
83,101
46,630
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The nazi germany stabilizing thing is not accurate, nor is it a good relation to Iraq. After Germany fell there was no organized insurgency (or really any insurgency whatsoever). And please... nobody try to bring up the whole "werewolf" thing. They were not a factor.
 

John P

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,426
2
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You continue to give it short shrift; would you care to comment further on why you think it too early?

I don't give it short shrift and I don't think it's too early. I'd be more than happy to see diplomacy work if the end result was a stable Iraq not prone to takeover by Muslim extremists and our troops could come home. The problem is all the key players are loving seeing us struggle, it takes the heat off all the problems Russia is having, takes the heat off the Iranian nuclear situation, Syria is more interested in keeping their foot in Lebanon, etc... I can dig up a few very interesting Stratfor reports on that subject (see post below).

It's one thing to say we should try diplomacy - it's an entirely different thing to tell me who you want to talk to and what your goals are.

Every part of the reconstruction has been bungled. Iraq has more unemployment, less electricity, less oil and petrol, less clean water than before the invasion, despite the waste of tens of billions of dollars in reconstruction contracts.

What are your sources for this information? Is this just in Baghdad or the entire countrly? Seems like the Kurds up North are doing ok.

The nazi germany stabilizing thing is not accurate, nor is it a good relation to Iraq. After Germany fell there was no organized insurgency (or really any insurgency whatsoever). And please... nobody try to bring up the whole "werewolf" thing. They were not a factor.

Yeah, I know, but I still like to use the 7-8 years until a stable government was established as a guideline. We still left lots of troops in Europe, but that was to thwart the threat from the Soviet Union. Here's an article actually supporting your statement:

Sowell echoed Bush administration's comparison between Iraq, postwar Germany
 

John P

Platinum Member
Oct 9, 1999
2,426
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Here's a Stratfor Report on talks with Syria and Iran:



Two Busted Flushes: The U.S. and Iranian Negotiations
By George Friedman

U.S., Iranian and Syrian diplomats met in Baghdad on March 10 to discuss the future of Iraq. Shortly afterward, everyone went out of their way to emphasize that the meetings either did not mean anything or that they were not formally one-on-one, which meant that other parties were present. Such protestations are inevitable: All of the governments involved have substantial domestic constituencies that do not want to see these talks take place, and they must be placated by emphasizing the triviality. Plus, all bargainers want to make it appear that such talks mean little to them. No one buys a used car by emphasizing how important the purchase is. He who needs it least wins.

These protestations are, however, total nonsense. That U.S., Iranian and Syrian diplomats would meet at this time and in that place is of enormous importance. It is certainly not routine: It means the shadowy conversations that have been going on between the United States and Iran in particular are now moving into the public sphere. It means not only that negotiations concerning Iraq are under way, but also that all parties find it important to make these negotiations official. That means progress is being made. The question now goes not to whether negotiations are happening, but to what is being discussed, what an agreement might look like and how likely it is to occur.

Let's begin by considering the framework in which each side is operating.

The United States: Geopolitical Compulsion

Washington needs a settlement in Iraq. Geopolitically, Iraq has soaked up a huge proportion of U.S. fighting power. Though casualties remain low (when compared to those in the Vietnam War), the war-fighting bandwidth committed to Iraq is enormous relative to forces. Should another crisis occur in the world, the U.S. Army would not be in a position to respond. As a result, events elsewhere could suddenly spin out of control.

For example, we have seen substantial changes in Russian behavior of late. Actions that would have been deemed too risky for the Russians two years ago appear to be risk-free now. Moscow is pressuring Europe, using energy supplies for leverage and issuing threatening statements concerning U.S. ballistic missile defense plans in Central Europe -- in apparent hopes that the governments in this region and the former Soviet Union, where governments have been inclined to be friendly to the United States, will reappraise their positions.

But the greatest challenge from the Russians comes in the Middle East. The traditional role of Russia (in its Soviet guise) was to create alliances in the region -- using arms transfers as a mechanism for securing the power of Arab regimes internally and for resisting U.S. power in the region. The Soviets armed Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and so on, creating powerful networks of client states during much of the Cold War.

The Russians are doing this again. There is a clear pattern of intensifying arms sales to Syria and Iran -- a pattern designed to increase the difficulty of U.S. and Israeli airstrikes against either state and to increase the internal security of both regimes. The United States has few levers with which to deter Russian behavior, and Washington's ongoing threats against Iran and Syria increase the desire of these states to have Russian supplies and patronage.

The fact is that the United States has few viable military options here. Except for the use of airstrikes -- which, when applied without other military measures, historically have failed either to bring about regime change or to deter powers from pursuing their national interests -- the United States has few military options in the region. Air power might work when an army is standing by to take advantage of the weaknesses created by those strikes, but absent a credible ground threat, airstrikes are merely painful, not decisive.

And, to be frank, the United States simply lacks capability in the Army. In many ways, the U.S. Army is in revolt against the Bush administration. Army officers at all levels (less so the Marines) are using the term "broken" to refer to the condition of the force and are in revolt against the administration -- not because of its goals, but because of its failure to provide needed resources nearly six years after 9/11. This revolt is breaking very much into the public domain, and that will further cripple the credibility of the Bush administration.

The "surge" strategy announced late last year was Bush's last gamble. It demonstrated that the administration has the power and will to defy public opinion -- or international perceptions of it -- and increase, rather than decrease, forces in Iraq. The Democrats have also provided Bush with a window of opportunity: Their inability to formulate a coherent policy on Iraq has dissipated the sense that they will force imminent changes in U.S. strategy. Bush's gamble has created a psychological window of opportunity, but if this window is not used, it will close -- and, as administration officials have publicly conceded, there is no Plan B. The situation on the ground is as good as it is going to get.

Leaving the question of his own legacy completely aside, Bush knows three things. First, he is not going to impose a military solution on Iraq that suppresses both the Sunni insurgents and the Shiite militias. Second, he has successfully created a fleeting sense of unpredictability, as far as U.S. behavior is concerned. And third, if he does not use this psychological window of opportunity to achieve a political settlement within the context of limited military progress, the moment not only will be lost, but Russia might also emerge as a major factor in the Middle East -- eroding a generation of progress toward making the United States the sole major power in that region. Thus, the United States is under geopolitical compulsion to reach a settlement.

Iran: Psychological and Regional Compulsions

The Iranians are also under pressure. They have miscalculated on what Bush would do: They expected military drawdown, and instead they got the surge. This has conjured up memories of the miscalculation on what the 1979 hostage crisis would bring: The revolutionaries had bet on a U.S. capitulation, but in the long run they got an Iraqi invasion and Ronald Reagan.

Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani already has warned the Iranians not to underestimate the United States, saying it is a "wounded tiger" and therefore much more dangerous than otherwise. In addition, the Iranians know some important things.

The first is that, while the Americans conceivably might forget about Iraq, Iran never can. Uncontrolled chaos next door could spill over into Iran in numerous ways -- separatist sentiments among the Kurds, the potential return of a Sunni government if the Shia are too fractured to govern, and so forth. A certain level of security in Iraq is fundamental to Iran's national interests.

Related to this, there are concerns that Iraq's Shia are so fractious that they might not be serviceable as a coherent vehicle for Iranian power. A civil war among the Shia of Iraq is not inconceivable, and if that were to happen, Iran's ability to project power in Iraq would crumble.

Finally, Iran's ability to threaten terror strikes against U.S. interests depends to a great extent on Hezbollah in Lebanon. And it knows that Hezbollah is far more interested in the power and wealth to be found in Lebanon than in some global -- and potentially catastrophic -- war against the United States. The Iranian leadership has seen al Qaeda's leaders being hunted and hiding in Pakistan, and they have little stomach for that. In short, Iranian leaders might not have all the options they would like to pretend they have, and their own weakness could become quite public very quickly.

Still, like the Americans, the Iranians have done well in generating perceptions of their own resolute strength. First, they have used their influence in Iraq to block U.S. ambitions there. Second, they have supported Hezbollah in its war against Israel, creating the impression that Hezbollah is both powerful and pliant to Tehran. In other words, they have signaled a powerful covert capability. Third, they have used their nuclear program to imply capabilities substantially beyond what has actually been achieved, which gives them a powerful bargaining chip. Finally, they have entered into relations with the Russians -- implying a strategic evolution that would be disastrous for the United States.

The truth, however, is somewhat different. Iran has sufficient power to block a settlement on Iraq, but it lacks the ability to impose one of its own making. Second, Hezbollah is far from willing to play the role of global suicide bomber to support Iranian ambitions. Third, an Iranian nuclear bomb is far from being a reality. Finally, Iran has, in the long run, much to fear from the Russians: Moscow is far more likely than Washington to reduce Iran to a vassal state, should Tehran grow too incautious in the flirtation. Iran is holding a very good hand. But in the end, its flush is as busted as the Americans'.

Moreover, the Iranians still remember the mistake of 1979. Rather than negotiating a settlement to the hostage crisis with a weak and indecisive President Jimmy Carter, who had been backed into a corner, they opted to sink his chances for re-election and release the hostages after the next president, Reagan, took office. They expected gratitude. But in a breathtaking display of ingratitude, Reagan followed a policy designed to devastate Iran in its war with Iraq. In retrospect, the Iranians should have negotiated with the weak president rather than destroy him and wait for the strong one.

Rafsanjani essentially has reminded the Iranian leadership of this painful fact. Based on that, it is clear that he wants negotiations with Bush, whose strength is crippled, rather than with his successor. Not only has Bush already signaled a willingness to talk, but U.S. intelligence also has publicly downgraded the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons -- saying that, in fact, Iran's program has not progressed as far as it might have. The Iranians have demanded a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, but they have been careful not to specify what that timetable should look like. Each side is signaling a re-evaluation of the other and a degree of flexibility in outcomes.

As for Syria, which also shares a border with Iraq and was represented at Saturday's meetings in Baghdad, it is important but not decisive. The Syrians have little interest in Iraq but great interest in Lebanon. The regime in Damascus wants to be freed from the threat of investigation in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, and it wants to have its interests in Lebanon guaranteed. The Israelis, for their part, have no interest in bringing down the al Assad regime: They are far more fearful of what the follow-on Sunni regime might bring than they are of a minority Alawite regime that is more interested in money than in Allah. The latter they can deal with; the former is the threat.

In other words, Syria does not affect fundamental U.S. interests, and the Israelis do not want to see the current regime replaced. The Syrians, therefore, are not the decisive factor when it comes to Iraq. This is about the United States and Iran.

Essential Points

If the current crisis continues, each side might show itself much weaker than it wants to appear. The United States could find itself in a geopolitical spasm, coupled with a domestic political crisis. Iran could find itself something of a toothless tiger -- making threats that are known to have little substance behind them. The issue is what sort of settlement there could be.

We see the following points as essential to the two main players:

1. The creation of an Iraqi government that is dominated by Shia, neutral to Iran, hostile to jihadists but accommodating to some Sunni groups.
2. Guarantees for Iran's commercial interests in southern Iraqi oil fields, with some transfers to the Sunnis (who have no oil in their own territory) from fields in both the northern (Kurdish) and southern (Shiite) regions.
3. Guarantees for U.S. commercial interests in the Kurdish regions.
4. An Iraqi military without offensive capabilities, but substantial domestic power. This means limited armor and air power, but substantial light infantry.
5. An Iraqi army operated on a "confessional" basis -- each militia and insurgent group retained as units and controlling its own regions.
6. Guarantee of a multiyear U.S. presence, without security responsibility for Iraq, at about 40,000 troops.
7. A U.S.-Iranian "commission" to manage political conflict in Iraq.
8. U.S. commercial relations with Iran.
9. The definition of the Russian role, without its exclusion.
10. A meaningless but symbolic commitment to a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Such an agreement would not be expected to last very long. It might last, but the primary purpose would be to allow each side to quietly fold its busted flushes in the game for Iraq.
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HardWarrior

Diamond Member
Jan 26, 2004
4,400
22
81
Originally posted by: John P.
OK, 100 posts and no solid counter-solutions posted.

How bout we just concentrate on:

1) What's the best way to get out of the Iraq situation now? Try to be realistic.

2) Let's pretend Iraq never happened. What's the best way to figh global terrorism and keep if from crossing our borders?

We aren't tasked with coming up with viable solutions to this "problem", so harping about no one playing your game is a total waste of time. We pay billions of dollars for smart people to see us out of sticky situations, and they fail miserably on a regular basis.

And this:

The steps he outlined were:
1) Expel the Americans from Iraq.
2) Establish an Islamic authority or emirate in Iraq.
3) Extend the jihad wave to secular countries neighboring Iraq.
4) Initiate a clash with Israel.

No mention here at all of Bin Laden's bright idea to bankrupt us. Nor is there any indication that the US government seems to relish both making enemies and interferring in the affairs of other nations. To even the most diehard of laptop foreign policy experts this US penchant for screwing with people should be seen as a recipe for increasing resistance, and endless conflict.

How does the US get out of Iraq? In planes, trains, cars, trucks, boats, and with as much haste as possible. As soon as Al Qaeda expertise in killing American soldiers is no longer needed the Iraqi's will slaughter those who won't leave, fight it out among themselves, and form the type of governmnet that works for them. If this isn't "realistic" for some people, they're making the same mistake that gets us into shite like this, over and over.

How do we fight "global terror?" That's an easy one too, leave other countries the hell alone. Simple huh? At least it should be. How many Americans would tolerate the constant interference we ourselves foist on others? Zero. We'd be clamoring to nuke any country that decided to overtly manipulate our political system and/or social contructs with the barrel of a gun or economic bullying.

If we'd simply remember the Golden Rule, the US would be hated far less. Then we wouldn't have to come up with one grandiose, self-serving and useless solution after another, to address problems that the government itself creates.