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  • What to Do in Iraq

    Debates on US policy in Iraq inevitably polarize towards either the get-out-now antiwar camp or the stay-the-course-and-support-the-administration camp. To many Americans, myself included, neither of these choices are particularly attractive. The Bush administration's handling of the postwar reconstruction to date doesn't inspire confidence that it will do any better in the future. The antiwar camp does not articulate a post withdrawl strategy that will leave us more secure in the 21st century. Sadly, between these two positions lies a vast wasteland, devoid of realistic alternatives. Finding a viable strategy deserving of discussion is like finding an oasis in the desert -- extremely rare but worth sharing.

    Here is a plan forwarded by the Democratic Leadership Council.

    http://www.dlc.org/ndol_ci.cfm?kaid=131&su...ontentid=253546

    QUOTE
    Idea of the Week: What To Do Now In Iraq

    While the Bush Administration has committed a long series of mistakes in the aftermath of the removal of Saddam Hussein, America must remain committed to success in Iraq. A failed state in Iraq would destabilize the entire region, hand our jihadist enemies a major victory and result in a devastating blow to our national security credibility and interests. But the right course now is neither to give the terrorists a victory by withdrawing, nor to continue Bush's failed policies. We urge progressives to place maximum pressure on the administration to reverse its mistakes and pursue a new strategy linked to clear benchmarks for success in Iraq and in the broader war on terror.

    Here are three ways the U.S. can do exactly that:

    First, we should formally disclaim any interest in permanent U.S. military bases in Iraq; clearly shift the primary responsibility of defending the country to the Iraqi military (with embedded Coalition troops), and adopt a joint military strategy based on proven principles of counterinsurgency. The last point means abandoning Vietnam-style "search and destroy" missions against the insurgency, and instead focusing on progressively securing territory where reconstruction can proceed and normal civic life can resume.

    Second, we should launch a new political strategy aimed relentlessly at winning Sunni support for the new government, and at isolating jihadists. We still have considerable leverage among Shi'a and Kurdish leaders; we should use it to push for confidence -- building measures like the integration of communal militias into the Iraqi army and police forces; a blanket amnesty for former Baathists not implicated in atrocities; and for intensified talks with Sunnis on supplemental protocols to the proposed constitution that would ensure a viable central government and minority rights.

    Third, we should muster all our diplomatic resources to create a more supportive international environment for the new Iraqi government. It should not be that hard to establish a UN-authorized international contact group to coordinate political support and economic assistance.

    We should cash our sizable chits with Saudi Arabia and Egypt to work directly with Iraqi Sunni Arabs, using economic incentives where possible, to undermine support for insurgency and encourage political engagement. These Arab states should also push Syria (in conjunction with potential U.N. sanctions) to finally close off travel routes into Iraq for jihadists.

    We should formally push for indictment of chief terrorist Zarquawi for crimes against humanity in Iraq, drawing worldwide attention to the vicious anti-Shi'a ethnic cleansing campaign that characterizes the insurgency. All these steps are politically feasible, but there's no evidence the administration is taking them.

    In calling for this new strategy, we acknowledge that we are asking brave Americans to sacrifice still more for a crucial goal under the direction of an administration that has failed so often to pursue that goal competently or honestly. We share the anger of most progressives towards Bush's blunders, even as we urge them not to let that anger obscure the very real national stake we all have in taking every step possible to leave Iraq in a condition where it will not become a failed state and a terrorist base for global operations.

    As usual, Tony Blair best articulated those stakes, for our people and his, just this week:

    "This is a global struggle. Today it is at its fiercest in Iraq. It has allied itself there with every reactionary element in the Middle East. Strip away their fake claims of grievance and see them for what they are: terrorists who use 21st century technology to fight a pre-medieval religious war that is utterly alien to the future of humankind."

    That's a reality that all of us, whether or not we supported the original invasion of Iraq, need to keep in mind, holding our leaders most accountable not for their blunders, but for their willingness to recognize them and change course now. [/b][/quote]
    "I am for truth no matter who says it. I am for justice no matter who it is for or against."...Malcom X

  • #2
    Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?

    Comment


    • #3
      QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 5 2005, 10:27 AM) Quoted post

      Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?
      [/b][/quote]

      Yeah, this might have been useful two years ago -- or during the election cycle.

      The Dems are nothing if not a step behind.
      His mind is not for rent, to any god or government.
      Pointless debate is what we do here -- lvr

      Comment


      • #4
        If it is being tried, I'm not aware of it. (which may say more about me than about whether the effort is being made)

        Has any effort been made to charge Zarquawi with crimes against humanity?

        Aren't search and destroy missions still occurring with regularity?

        What exactly are we doing to pressure the Saudis and Egyptians to bring whatever pressure, assistance they can to bear? What are we doing to build any international consensus. My guess is that these suggestions really mean that we have to put someone in position who is actually capable of taking effective action in these areas, because Bush certainly doesn't seem capable of much diplomatic success these days.

        Like I said, all of these things may be going on and I miss it because the Bush administration doesn't publicize via cfbnews.com. However, I don't think I'm that far removed from the average American's perception of what is going on over there and this plan, if advocated strongly by Demos, is likely to be credited to them.
        June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

        Comment


        • #5
          I tried to cure cancer this morning.
          No president wants war. Everything you may have heard is that, but it's just simply not true
          President George W. Bush, March 21, 2006

          I'm a war president
          President George W. Bush, February 8, 2004

          Comment


          • #6
            QUOTE
            If it is being tried, I'm not aware of it. (which may say more about me than about whether the effort is being made)[/b][/quote]

            This reminds me of a critique someone posted about a month ago, analyzing the three then-current major articles/policies for dealing with Iraq....and for the most part dismissed them with "Thanks, but this is already being done."

            Which doesn't contradict your points at all, but I have to believe that no one is sitting in the WH today, saying, "Wow, we never thought of that!" You're probably on the right in questioning execution, rather than theory.

            Comment


            • #7
              QUOTE(mw.2 @ Oct 5 2005, 12:02 PM) Quoted post

              I tried to cure cancer this morning.
              [/b][/quote]

              Was a WaterPic involved?
              June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

              Comment


              • #8
                QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 5 2005, 11:27 AM) Quoted post

                Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?
                [/b][/quote]

                The biggest difference is the obvious shift to a more inclusive negotiation policy.

                Not sure that any of this is possible but I would like to see Bush incorporate several individuals outside the current administration and try to implement some of the ideas above.

                I think it will still be tough sledding.
                Sponsor of Alex Pieterangelo.

                ..."I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered." George Best

                Comment


                • #9
                  QUOTE(moedrabowsky @ Oct 5 2005, 11:30 AM) Quoted post

                  QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 5 2005, 10:27 AM) Quoted post

                  Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?
                  [/b][/quote]

                  Yeah, this might have been useful two years ago -- or during the election cycle.

                  The Dems are nothing if not a step behind.
                  [/b][/quote]

                  A step behind, but still ahead of this administration.
                  Be passionate about what you believe in, or why bother.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    QUOTE(hkyfan @ Oct 5 2005, 12:51 PM) Quoted post

                    QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 5 2005, 11:27 AM) Quoted post

                    Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?
                    [/b][/quote]

                    The biggest difference is the obvious shift to a more inclusive negotiation policy.

                    Not sure that any of this is possible but I would like to see Bush incorporate several individuals outside the current administration and try to implement some of the ideas above.

                    I think it will still be tough sledding.
                    [/b][/quote]

                    Here's my take, hykyfan:

                    1- Renouncing the building of large scale military bases in Iraq would go a long way towards bolstering our credibility, within Iraq, the region as a whole, and here in the US. It is hard to convince people that the US really wants to leave Iraq as soon as possible when we are building large, strategic bases far beyond the needs of the military to prosecute the war. To many, these bases look a lot like staging areas for an invasion of Iran. I would argue that any potential military value is more than offset by the negative perception of these bases.

                    2- The Sunnis are at the heart of the resistance, politically and militarily in Iraq. Enlisting Saudi Arabia to get the Sunnis publicly on board would seem to make sense. Saudi foreign aid (as opposed to more US dollars) targeted towards Sunni economic development and employment would undercut the resistance. Stability in Iraq has to be in the Saudi's self interest. A failed Iraq would threaten Saudi Arabia, not to mention the health and wealth of the ruling royal family. Is the administration doing this now? Maybe, but not in any kind of public manner. The public support of the administration for democracy has had some success. A similar effort has the potential for similar results.

                    3- Getting the International Court to declare Zarqawi a criminal against humanity is the stick that goes with the carrot in step 2. A public campaign denouncing Zarqawi would focus the conflict. It has been said that the Global War on Terrorism is really a civil war within Islam between moderate, tolerant Muslims on one side and violent Jihadists on the other. This strategy is intended to challenge Muslims directly to pick a side.

                    For the DNC, it has the political benefit of staking out a proactive, anti-jihadist platform independent of the administration. Whether or not the Bush administration implements these ideas, the DNC would benefit from actively campaigning for them. The DNC would be favorabley perceived as forwarding responsible alternatives to the GOP. The DNC would bolster its sagging image on issues of national security. Not that politics is ever a consideration, of course. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img]
                    "I am for truth no matter who says it. I am for justice no matter who it is for or against."...Malcom X

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I thought the goal was to keep a very large US military base in Iraq. That would allow us to get them away from Mecca and other holy lands in Saudi Arabia. But, those wacky Muslems have holy lands in Iraq too, don't they?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        QUOTE(Jaws @ Oct 5 2005, 01:02 PM) Quoted post

                        QUOTE(hkyfan @ Oct 5 2005, 12:51 PM) Quoted post

                        QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 5 2005, 11:27 AM) Quoted post

                        Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?
                        [/b][/quote]

                        The biggest difference is the obvious shift to a more inclusive negotiation policy.

                        Not sure that any of this is possible but I would like to see Bush incorporate several individuals outside the current administration and try to implement some of the ideas above.

                        I think it will still be tough sledding.
                        [/b][/quote]

                        Here's my take, hykyfan:

                        1- Renouncing the building of large scale military bases in Iraq would go a long way towards bolstering our credibility, within Iraq, the region as a whole, and here in the US. It is hard to convince people that the US really wants to leave Iraq as soon as possible when we are building large, strategic bases far beyond the needs of the military to prosecute the war. To many, these bases look a lot like staging areas for an invasion of Iran. I would argue that any potential military value is more than offset by the negative perception of these bases.

                        2- The Sunnis are at the heart of the resistance, politically and militarily in Iraq. Enlisting Saudi Arabia to get the Sunnis publicly on board would seem to make sense. Saudi foreign aid (as opposed to more US dollars) targeted towards Sunni economic development and employment would undercut the resistance. Stability in Iraq has to be in the Saudi's self interest. A failed Iraq would threaten Saudi Arabia, not to mention the health and wealth of the ruling royal family. Is the administration doing this now? Maybe, but not in any kind of public manner. The public support of the administration for democracy has had some success. A similar effort has the potential for similar results.

                        3- Getting the International Court to declare Zarqawi a criminal against humanity is the stick that goes with the carrot in step 2. A public campaign denouncing Zarqawi would focus the conflict. It has been said that the Global War on Terrorism is really a civil war within Islam between moderate, tolerant Muslims on one side and violent Jihadists on the other. This strategy is intended to challenge Muslims directly to pick a side.

                        For the DNC, it has the political benefit of staking out a proactive, anti-jihadist platform independent of the administration. Whether or not the Bush administration implements these ideas, the DNC would benefit from actively campaigning for them. The DNC would be favorabley perceived as forwarding responsible alternatives to the GOP. The DNC would bolster its sagging image on issues of national security. Not that politics is ever a consideration, of course. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img]
                        [/b][/quote]


                        Jaws:

                        1) Those bases and that access to Iran was a large factor in the risk assumed in this action. We need not convince anyone that we really want out. Many at this time don't want us out. As luck would have it, or maybe not [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img] , we are the only security available. If Iran is indeed the threat*, those forward bases are strategically critical. Certainly with the reduction in force and presence in other key European and Middle Eastern nations.

                        2) I am not sure you are correct about who is at the heart of violent insurgency. To me, it seems that the ruling class Shiites and the Baathists are more involved and influential than the Sunni or Shiite majority.
                        Unfortunately or fortunately the Saudi's are in bed with us. A stable Iraq controlled by Iran is no less a threat to the oil fields of the Royal Family than Saddam was. Also at stake is water and port rights. Let alone the threat immediacy to Israel.
                        Un-Official Sponsor of Randy Choate and Kevin Siegrist

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          QUOTE
                          lazydaze' date='Oct 5

                          Those bases and that access to Iran was a large factor in the risk assumed in this action.... Many at this time don't want us out.[/b][/quote]

                          Many Iraqis? Source?
                          Norman Chad, syndicated columnist: “Sports radio, reflecting our sinking culture, spends entire days advising managers and coaches, berating managers and coaches, firing managers and coaches and searching the countryside for better middle relievers. If they just redirected their energy toward, say, crosswalk-signal maintenance, America would be 2 percent more livable.”

                          "The best argument against democracy," someone (Churchill?) said, "is a five minute conversation with the average voter."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            One person thinks its time for the Iraqi gov't. to declare martial law in Sunni towns:


                            From: Bing West

                            Subject: It's Time To Declare Martial Law in the Sunni Cities

                            Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2005, at 9:31 AM PT

                            CAMP RAMADI, Iraq—There are a dozen Sunni cities like Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar province. For 30 months since Baghdad fell, our soldiers have been fighting an insurgency based inside the Sunni Triangle, where the vast majority of the population is complicit with the insurgents or intimidated by them. The insurgency is a loose conglomeration of foreign fighters, radical jihadists, former regime elements, and those who resent the American occupation. These diverse elements cooperate and survive by mixing among the Sunni residents in the cities and villages.

                            In January 2004, Coalition Provisional Authority officials routinely drove into Ramadi in unarmored SUVs, with only a few side arms for protection. Today, such an SUV would be lucky to make it 10 blocks before being shot at or blown up. In April 2004, the insurgents massed in the hundreds and challenged the nearby Marine battalion to an open fight for control of the city. For four days, the battle swirled up and down the main streets and alleyways. At one point, 10 separate major firefights were raging at the same time at the government center, in a cemetery, at the soccer stadium, along the Euphrates River, in the market, and along the main street through town.

                            Since then, the insurgents have avoided pitched battles, settling into a "shoot and scoot" mode of operation combined with daily detonations of improvised explosive devices. Fatalities from IEDs occur almost weekly. The Marines, spread thin throughout a province the size of North Carolina and conducting spoiling operations along the Syrian border 100 miles to the west, don't have the manpower to place barbed wire around Ramadi, or to limit entrance and demand ID of all military-age males. Nor is the Iraqi army, while improving, yet up to that task. The police are either intimidated or in league with the insurgents. Whether due to fear, complicity, or both, the police are absent when the insurgents walk through the marketplaces showing off their new rocket-propelled grenades.

                            Efforts to persuade the sheiks and city elders to stand up to the insurgents have been fruitless. Offering economic development as the path to a brighter future has been thwarted. In the last year, 47 contractors began projects inside the city. Five were killed, and 30 others quit and fled the city.

                            One contractor bid $70,000 to fill a few potholes. Maj. Benjamin Busch of College Park, Md., working with the Civil Affairs Group in Ramadi, estimated that the work should cost $5,000. The contractor protested that he had to buy his own cement trucks because no one was willing to rent to him if it meant entering Ramadi. He then had to hire guards who insisted on driving their own vehicles. He paid local officials for "licenses," he paid the sheik in charge of the local tribe where he was to work. He then had to persuade the insurgents on each street where he was working to accept a payment in exchange for leaving him alone. And his work crew and guards insisted on driving back and forth from Baghdad each day, resulting in about three hours of actual work per day. Busch told him to forget it, but he agreed that such a maze of payoffs and arrangements was typical. It was almost impossible for an outside contractor to work in the city, and local contractors spent more time negotiating with the complex power structure than doing actual work. Hence, $70,000 for a $5,000 job.

                            Determined to complete at least one job on the streets, Busch brought in two tanks to guard a work detail. Insurgents (without guns) walked around the tanks, gathered the workers together, and told them they had one hour to get out of town. The workers left.

                            "The local contractors have to be able to manipulate the local politicians, criminals, and insurgents. That requires deft and bold negotiations. Make a wrong step and you're dead," Busch said. "Insurgents, terrorists, tribal leaders, the fiefdoms run by local officials, and the vast, uninhibited criminal element key onto any contract work as a funded endeavor deserving to be fleeced."

                            Iraqi officials in Ramadi wield their scant power cautiously. In the last year, the province has had four governors. The first, to secure the release of his two kidnapped sons, tearfully apologized on television for working with the infidels. As soon as his sons were returned, he left for Jordan. The second governor suddenly became ill and resigned. The third was seized and executed. The fourth had his son kidnapped.

                            Neither economic carrots nor the stick of local governance has worked in Ramadi. At a high cost, American soldiers are keeping a lid on the extent of the violence. But the insurgents control the streets.

                            Too many supposed Sunni leaders are refractory in their shortsightedness, standing silent and supposedly neutral as the terrorists and insurgents battle the infidels: the Shiites and the Kurds. Sunni leaders act as if they assume that when both sides are exhausted, they can claim greater privileges for the Sunnis—under their leadership. Why they think the terrorists and the jihadists would cede a crumb to them is unclear.

                            In May 2004, the Marines gave control of Fallujah to former Sunni generals who were confident they could wean the local insurgents away from the leadership of the jihadists and the radicalized imams. Within three months, Fallujah descended into hell. The Sunni generals were driven from the city in disgrace and ridicule.

                            In Fallujah, Ramadi, and elsewhere, the leadership of the Iraqi insurgency has passed into the hands of the global jihadists implacable in their hatred. They are not agrarian reformers. Their goal is a fundamentalist, fascist caliphate extending across dozens of countries, achieved by murdering all who oppose them, regardless of borders. This is a global war. Pull precipitously out of Iraq and the savagery of the terror bombings elsewhere will increase.

                            The Sunnis dominated the Shiites for centuries, and in war the moral is to the physical as four is to one. We can criticize the intelligence projections and policy choices that led our senior leaders to believe that a sudden blitzkrieg of Baghdad would change centuries of tribal and religious dynamics. But we are where we are. Without the American presence, the Sunni-based insurgency would quickly establish a Taliban-type regime in many cities, as it did last summer in Fallujah. The Iraqi army—predominantly Shiite—is beginning to occupy Sunni cities. Currently, each new Iraqi battalion is partnered with an American battalion. The Iraqi soldiers are steadily improving in on-the-ground operations, because they gain confidence as much as techniques by working side by side with American soldiers. Left on their own at this point, though, their tentative morale would collapse. Supporting the Iraqi army with communications, logistics, maintenance, heavy armor, and quick reaction forces will be necessary for years.

                            While the Iraqi soldiers are improving, the police in the Sunni cities are not keeping pace. Too many of those recruited locally fear for their own lives and those of their families—or sympathize with the insurgents. Those police trucked in from other areas operate like Iraqi soldiers, patrolling in large numbers. Neither the local police nor those from outside the area are performing the hard detective work of aggressively identifying and apprehending the insurgents who brazenly walk through the marketplaces.

                            In mid-October, there will be an election to accept or reject a constitution. Regardless of whether or how they vote in October, the Sunnis will not have a political epiphany and identify the insurgents hiding in their midst. "Winning Sunni hearts and minds"—persuading them to accept minority status in a democracy—will occur only after the insurgent and terrorist leaders have been killed and their legions of uneducated foot soldiers have been worn down by the tough military restrictions placed upon them.

                            The Iraqi government should declare martial law in many Sunni cities, place the police under the army, and insist on ID cards for every military-aged male. These steps will hasten the withdrawal of American forces under militarily prudent circumstances.
                            June 9, 1973 - The day athletic perfection was defined.

                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k-Kva...eature=related

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              QUOTE(lazydaze @ Oct 5 2005, 03:27 PM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(Jaws @ Oct 5 2005, 01:02 PM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(hkyfan @ Oct 5 2005, 12:51 PM) Quoted post

                              QUOTE(Reggie Cleveland @ Oct 5 2005, 11:27 AM) Quoted post

                              Doesn't this (at least most of it) fall into the typical category of stuff that's already being tried?
                              [/b][/quote]

                              The biggest difference is the obvious shift to a more inclusive negotiation policy.

                              Not sure that any of this is possible but I would like to see Bush incorporate several individuals outside the current administration and try to implement some of the ideas above.

                              I think it will still be tough sledding.
                              [/b][/quote]

                              Here's my take, hykyfan:

                              1- Renouncing the building of large scale military bases in Iraq would go a long way towards bolstering our credibility, within Iraq, the region as a whole, and here in the US. It is hard to convince people that the US really wants to leave Iraq as soon as possible when we are building large, strategic bases far beyond the needs of the military to prosecute the war. To many, these bases look a lot like staging areas for an invasion of Iran. I would argue that any potential military value is more than offset by the negative perception of these bases.

                              2- The Sunnis are at the heart of the resistance, politically and militarily in Iraq. Enlisting Saudi Arabia to get the Sunnis publicly on board would seem to make sense. Saudi foreign aid (as opposed to more US dollars) targeted towards Sunni economic development and employment would undercut the resistance. Stability in Iraq has to be in the Saudi's self interest. A failed Iraq would threaten Saudi Arabia, not to mention the health and wealth of the ruling royal family. Is the administration doing this now? Maybe, but not in any kind of public manner. The public support of the administration for democracy has had some success. A similar effort has the potential for similar results.

                              3- Getting the International Court to declare Zarqawi a criminal against humanity is the stick that goes with the carrot in step 2. A public campaign denouncing Zarqawi would focus the conflict. It has been said that the Global War on Terrorism is really a civil war within Islam between moderate, tolerant Muslims on one side and violent Jihadists on the other. This strategy is intended to challenge Muslims directly to pick a side.

                              For the DNC, it has the political benefit of staking out a proactive, anti-jihadist platform independent of the administration. Whether or not the Bush administration implements these ideas, the DNC would benefit from actively campaigning for them. The DNC would be favorabley perceived as forwarding responsible alternatives to the GOP. The DNC would bolster its sagging image on issues of national security. Not that politics is ever a consideration, of course. [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img]
                              [/b][/quote]


                              Jaws:

                              1) Those bases and that access to Iran was a large factor in the risk assumed in this action. We need not convince anyone that we really want out. Many at this time don't want us out. As luck would have it, or maybe not [img]style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif[/img] , we are the only security available. If Iran is indeed the threat*, those forward bases are strategically critical. Certainly with the reduction in force and presence in other key European and Middle Eastern nations.

                              2) I am not sure you are correct about who is at the heart of violent insurgency. To me, it seems that the ruling class Shiites and the Baathists are more involved and influential than the Sunni or Shiite majority.
                              Unfortunately or fortunately the Saudi's are in bed with us. A stable Iraq controlled by Iran is no less a threat to the oil fields of the Royal Family than Saddam was. Also at stake is water and port rights. Let alone the threat immediacy to Israel.
                              [/b][/quote]

                              lazy, the decision to build the bases was made in the euphoria that followed the better-than-expected invasion. Since then, the problem has been the guerilla style tactics and acts of wanton terror of the resistance. The value of the bases in a hypothetical invasion of Iran is problematic until Iraq stabilizes. A pre-emptive attack on Iran is not a realistic option. Therefore, a public renounceation (sic) of those bases would help reduce passions. Keep in mind this does not preclude their use in the future. For decades the Saudis maintained bases in the deserts of Saudi Arabia that the US would use in case of an emergency. A similar don't-ask-don't-tell policy could be used for these bases.

                              I am pretty confident that the Sunnis are the heart of the "contrarians" in Iraq. The Sunnis boycotted the political process from the provisional government through the January elections. The realization of the Sunnis that they missed the boat at that time is one of the more hopeful developments in Iraq. Zarqawi has made it clear he considers the Shia low life apostates to be exterminated at the first opportunity. He is openly calling on a civil war between loyal Sunnis and the scum Shia. The Shia have shown remarkable restraint considering they bear the brunt of terrorist attacks. The spiritual leader of the Shia, Sistani, has been a strong voice of restraint on the Shia. He has little love for the US but understands that the sooner Iraq is stable the sooner the Americans will be gone. The one segment of the Shia that has been a problem was Sadr. He had his jets cooled the last year and has agreed to join the political process. The Kurds could have been the real joker in the deck. They suffered the most under Saddam. Many of the early predictions of civil war singled out the Kurds, also Sunni, as the likely instigator. Unless they perceive a national Iraq as a total lost cause they appear to be on board for the long haul. They constitute the most loyal soldiers, the most active political players, and the least tolerant to the jihadists.
                              "I am for truth no matter who says it. I am for justice no matter who it is for or against."...Malcom X

                              Comment

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