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We know that a pro-Iranian Shiite government is inevitable in central & southern Iraq, the nation will fragment into at least three semi-autonomous regions regardless of what a new constitution says, & the Sunni minority will never surrender. This moment in the history of Iraq was predestined the day the Ottoman Empire collapsed. The liberal left & the growing anti-neoconservative right need to provide ideas for a tactical withdrawal of American military forces from Iraq (let's not call it a retreat) & an alternative strategy of containment for the region based on a weak central state Iraq that will remain a deadly playground for competing Islamic ideologies. I'm not smart enough to suggest any, but I know this strategic plan will of necessity require that we trash the recently passed energy & transportation bills.

Originally posted to DJ Rix on Mon Aug 15, 2005 at 06:23 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Iraq's future (none)
    I am ALMOST as pessimistic as you.  There are two Sunni constituencies: one middle class and the other tribal.  In the new (and federal) Shia dominated Iraq I think the tribal Sunnis will be driven into submission, while the middle class will be co-opted.  Needless to say this will be accompanied by great bloodshed and Hussein-like tyranny. So my only demurrer is my assumption that the Sunnis will sooner or later go under.  For this, greater Sunni Islam will love us.
  •  Declare Victory in Iraq (none)
    We've won.  Time to bring the troops home.  End of story.

    That's the anti-Bush strategy for Iraq.  Forget about the fact that Bush lied about everything and anything related to going to war.  We've got Saddam, we've captured or killed his cronies, Iraq has already held one round of elections and is in the process of hammering out a Constitution.  Our American men and women in uniform did a wonderful job.  Time to bring them home.

    Bush is talking about the violence and chaos in Iraq as a justification for staying.  Who said that establishing a democracy and crafting a constitution as easy work?  Look at what America went through, Shay's Rebellion, Whiskey Rebellion, first the Articles of Confederation, then we finally adopted the United States Constitution.  And even after all that we still had a very bloody Civil War years later.  

    But did Britain ever say, "You guys seem to be having some problem with violence in your new nation.  We'll just stick around for a while to maintain law and order."  Hell no.  And guess what would have happened.  Jefferson Davis and Abraham Lincoln would have gotten together and have agreed to focus on fighting the British before going after each other.

    Iraqis now have to decide the future of Iraq.  It still isn't too late to give Iraqis full self-determination and allow them to decide if they wish to remain part of Iraq.  The Kurds, 25 million people without a state, deserve an independent country just as much as the 8 million Palestinians.  And we should give them that option through a democratic election to be held as soon as possible.  

    If the Shia majority in Iraq wishes to adopt Shia Islamic law for the country, the Sunni minority should have the option of establishing their own country.  Iraq's borders were drawn by European colonialists, and we have seen how much violence can be caused by randomly drawn lines in Africa.  Why make the same mistake twice?

  •  Saddam (none)
    I think one idea that should be pursued is that we try to get Saddam to join in some kind of statement which (for example) asks the UN to come in and take over during the transitional period. If the US-backed government joined Saddam in such a request, then I think that much of the wind would be taken out of the resistance fighters' sails. I think that Saddam might be willing to do this: it would be a kind of recognition that he still had some power in the Iraqi government. If Saddam, a Shiite leader such as al-Sistani, and a Kurdish leader could make some sort of joint statement vesting legitimacy in the transitional government, it would help tremendously.

    Greg Shenaut

  •  Alternatives (none)
    "The liberal left & the growing anti-neoconservative right need to provide ideas for a tactical withdrawal of American military forces"

    Fuck it. Dems should offer no alternatives. This is Bush's war. Besides Dems don't have the power to implement and alternative ideas. And we know that Bush is not interested in any Dem ideas. Hell, he doesn't think he has done anything wrong. Why should Dems propose an alternative?

    We went through this with the SS debate. All the pundits insisted that Dems provide an alternative. They claimed the public would punish Dems for not proposing alternatives. Hogwash. Silly DC Pundit mentality.

    Screw them. Propose no alternatives. Let Bush come up with a solution to clean up the mess he created. Once Dems are in power then they can propose and implement alternatives.

    •  the liberal left, not the political party (none)
      I don't think the Democrats need to offer alternatives, but I think the left intelligentsia does to prove that it is capable of generating those kinds of ideas.

      "Only poets know how many poems end up as pies."

      by DJ Rix on Tue Aug 16, 2005 at 11:57:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  3 Iraqs (none)
    They want to split? Let them. "Iraq" was a fabrication of a previous British Empire occputation, whey keep it? Sure, the grand arc of human history should bend towards greater Unity, but sometimes injustice and strive requires a time-out and break up. Witness the US breaking off from the early British Empire, we got out from under their thumb, stood on our own, and eventually regained good relations.

    So, give the Iraqis what they really want, what they really really want, and stop trying to impose some simplistic ideal solution. Offer, persuade, plead, but the decisions must be theirs.

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