diet coke for breakfast


Sunday, November 09, 2003

Posted by Jake
Exit Strategy or Victory Strategy?

The second, more current and more dangerous illusion is that Iraqi forces can substitute for American forces during the dangerous and critical months ahead. Under the guise of transferring sovereignty to the Iraqi people, a necessary goal in political terms, the Pentagon is looking to reduce significantly the military burden on the United States and shift it onto the Iraqis, and the sooner the better. 'It's their country,' Rumsfeld says, as if the United States had only fleeting responsibilities in Iraq after invading it. But of course the reason Rumsfeld wants to pass the responsibility to Iraqis has nothing to do with whether they are ready or able to take on that responsibility. It is simply that he wants to bring the level of U.S. forces down.

There are obvious political reasons why the Bush administration wants to be seen beginning to pull out. We are entering an election and it would certainly help.

But I am concerned that this strategy will backfire. If we start the change over to Iraqis and things continue to deteriorate, it would clearly highlight that the administrations post-war strategy is not working as well as they had hoped. If we wait to bump up troop levels next year, it would be a disaster for the election. Better to increase levels now, take your criticisms, and have a coherent strategy going into next year.


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