Monday, November 20, 2006

Plan plan everywhere a plan, so why won't they work?

Plans to solve the situation in Iraq are flying about fast and furious. In every plan politically acceptable to the Bush administration I notice a glaring lack of a vital component for success. These plans all reach solutions based upon what we would like to happen in Iraq, not on what the Iraqi's want to have happen to themselves.

The only "plan" that has any other type of outcome is redeployment, and letting the Iraqi's sort it out amongst themselves, which the President is determined to not allow.

The Pentagon has the latest entry into the plan game with three seperate plans. Termed "go long, go big or go home", only one of these can be considered politcally acceptable to the Bush administration. The acceptable plan must be go long (draw down troop levels but leave an occupation force in Iraq to train security forces for decades to come). Go big (slam about 100,000 more troops into Iraq and put down the insurgency via force of arms) and "go home" (self explanatory and the option which is the closest to what we ought to do in Iraq) can not be accepted by this President for the following reasons.

On "go big", to accept this option is to admit a mistake by accepting Rumsfeldian war plans calling for current troop levels since the end of the invasion. The prospect of Bush admitting such a mistake is not concievable. Sorry to John McCain, but this plan will have to sit on the back burner til 2009, when he is sworn in... or not!

On "go home", this plan comes the nearest to what must be done in our best interests in the region. Short of taking Bush through a time machine to try to talk some sense into his own thick headed noggin back in 2002 that is. The trouble with all other plans is that we set out with a predetermined notion of how Iraq looks like at the end of the day. Only the go home plan lets the issue be settled by Iraqi's for Iraqi's.

When it comes to go home, I believe there are ways to try to accomplish this without a growing regional war. We need to immediately begin the steps to bring this to conclusion on terms favorable to Iraqi's of all sides. To do this doesn't mean that we sit in our western think tanks drumming up proposals to do this or that with Iraq. It means talking to people who are leading the fight against you.

There is only one group in Iraq which I believe ought to have no part in the dialouge which needs to happen. I have no trouble freezing Al Qaeda out of the discussion. I beleive if given the chance at peace on their terms, the insurgency would be happy to toss Al Qaeda from Iraq. Iraq didn't have an Al Qaeda issue until we invaded. They are taking advantage of a strategic blunder by this administration and doing so masterfully.

Any other group currently a part of the insurgency ought to be included as far as is possible in trying to reach a solution. And I do not mean included as in granted amnesty if they play along with Maliki and our vision for Iraq. We need to bring them into a dialogue, and once we have them all sitting together we tell them to work it out because we are moving along. Then we pull across the Turkish and Kuwaiti border and leave a rapid response force right there in case terror camps start popping up in the Sunni triangle.

The Iranians and Syrians are setting up a regional confab, and the Iraqi's have agreed to come along. I would suggest Malaki, Ahmeedajadude, and Assad invite Al Sadr, a representative of the Sunni insurgency, a Kurd, a Turk, Jordan, Saud, Kuwait, and General Abizaid to the table as well. We need a plan based upon the best interests of those involved if we expect them to accept it, not based upon what we think everyone over there ought to accept. Indeed we are doomed to fail if we think that an Iraq of our creation is going to be the outcome because we decree it to be so.

Indeed, I believe we are doomed to another two years of failure at least. If President Bush comes around on Iraq I'll happily admit the error of my ways, but I won't hold my breath waiting for him to start making sense.

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