There Is No Plan

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Iraq – Status Of Forces. Dangerous.

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time to go home

time to go home

So the United States will be out of Iraq by the end of 2011.

With the December 31 deadline on the UN Resolution allowing US forces to operate in Iraq only a few weeks away, Maliki simply ran out the clock forcing the US hand on a number of key issues, which in years past would have been unacceptable to US Forces operating overseas.

There is sure to be a phased reduction in combat operations. But the Bush plan for permanent bases in Iraq seems doomed. There was a lot of rending of hair about bases a couple of years back, but from a national security standpoint, they have a net benefit. While starting the Iraq war was clearly a strategic mistake in many ways, keeping bases on Iraqi soil would minimize the possibility of blow-back.

Now it’s a distinct possibility.

With bases no longer on the table, we’re going to be out of there, with no insurance that the Sadrists and Sunni Insurgents won’t begin their assault on the Iraqi government once more, especially once the bankroll for the Sunni Awakening dries up. Indeed, a recent uptick in violence suggests more on the way. Clearly, the Iraqi Army would crumble without US ground and air support, and US training resources. We talked highly of the South Vietnamese Army decades ago, but without us they were a disaster. The same may happen again.

Add in massive corruption, weak infrastructure, non-existent private sector, intolerable sectarianism, dysfunctional government, pent-up calls for revenge, a looming refugee problem, huge joblessness, Kurdish ambitions, powerful religious incitement, poverty, disease, and Iraq’s history of violent political solutions, and we’re not talking an optimum landscape for withdrawal of US forces. Finally, without US forces to act as a buffer, Iran will be able to exert massive influence in many ways, none potentially good for US interests in the region. Every Middle Eastern country relies on two pillars to retain power. Repression and Stability. Iraq has neither.

I’m not sure what O’Hanlon’s been smoking recently, but an awful lot of things have to go right for Obama’s dream of a ‘responsible’ withdrawal to become a reality in sixteen months. Our best hope is to bring about a rapprochement with Iran.

Of course, things could go right, but after a trillion dollars invested in this thing, it seems absurd that we’re relying on hope. Despite what Obama says about hope, it doesn’t usually get you very far in the Middle East.

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Written by coolrebel

November 21, 2008 at 2:22 am

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