Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Hate and war, the only things we have today:
Cue up David Ignatius. He's come around to the position that "America's security interests are not served by remaining indefinitely as an occupying power in Iraq." OK, so what now?
A radical approach to Iraq is to try to visualize an American presence that would be sustainable whether things went well or badly. What would it look like? For starters, we would treat Iraq more like a normal country. Americans would be in a fortified embassy compound rather than the Republican Palace. U.S. troops would be redeployed so that they could assist allies and punish enemies, rather than remaining hunkered down in the midst of a civil war, providing easy targets to both sides. The United States would pull back enough to have some freedom of maneuver. But it would remain engaged enough that it could intervene quickly to prevent a bloodbath. It would set red lines rather than try to dictate events.
What's radical about this at all? Ignatius's plan is... Zalmay Khalilzad's. Earlier this year, I thought it was as good a diplomatic approach as was available. But it didn't work. Faced with that, it won't do to say Americans would be garrisoned in Iraq to do... God-knows-what. How do we enforce "red lines"? The Iraqi government is killing Sunnis right now; and Bush is throwing his weight behind that very government. All else has failed. The only, only, only option is withdrawal. But you see now why I'll never have a Washington Post column.
--Spencer Ackerman
This is teplukhin's domain from over at TNR, but since he always brings it up, this seems like a safer forum to ask: does withdrawal include leaving the Kurdish areas? He always suggests we shouldn't. While advocating withdrawal in general, I'm more tepid on whether to leave these areas, since they seem to be safer, but then again I don't see why we need to stay.

Basically, am I correct in assuming that a.) withdrawal plans typically include withdrawing from the Kurdsh regions and b.) that the peshmerga are already the predominant security force there anyway?

Based on icasualties data, it seems like the US troops are safest everywhere in the Kurdish areas outside of Mosul and Kirkuk, but at this point, do the Kurds have a strong preference if we stay or go? Would it make a huge difference to them?
Blogger jfaberuiuc | 12:22 PM