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Conservative military analyst Bill Lind, of Paul Weyrich's Free Congress Foundation lays out his strategy for victory in Iraq. Like President Bush he casts an analogy to Vietnam. Except that Lind argues the US strategically won the Vietnam War and in a similar way the US can strategically
win the War in Iraq.

Lind, who worked as an analyst in the Defense Department under Nixon appointee James Schlesinger, believes no military victory can be won in Iraq. He opposed the 2003 invasion and believes the surge will fail.

"The starting point, despite the disastrous course of the war to date, is to realize that the only possibilities for victory lie at the strategic level, not the tactical level. In part this is because we have botched the tactical level beyond redemption. While the efforts of General Petraeus and the Marines in Anbar province to apply classic counter-insurgency doctrine and protect the population instead of brutalizing it are laudatory, they come too late."

So what can we do to win? This is where Lind points to Vietnam.

That brilliant diplomatic move of establishing a rapprochement with China in effect won the Vietnam War for the United States. The threat that drew us into a major war was not North Vietnam, a power of purely local significance. Rather, it was Mao’s doctrine of exporting wars of national liberation. (The phrase at the time was “Two, three, many Vietnams.”) The new relationship Nixon established with China ended that threat, rendering our defeat on the ground in Vietnam irrelevant.

Likewise an American strategy would substitute Tehran for Beijing.  

In the case of the war in Iraq, Iran is China, and the first component of a strategy to win in Iraq is to establish a rapprochement with Iran. That is, a general settlement of differences. The Iranians have offered us such a settlement—including a compromise on the nuclear issue—on generous terms. But the Bush administration, true to its hubris, refused to consider it, going so far as to upbraid the Swiss for daring to forward the overture to us. It seems, however, to remain on the table.

Lind argues that Rapproachment with Iran may be the only way to bring the stability to Iraq that was the stated goal of the Surge.

The reason a strategy to win in Iraq must begin with a rapprochement with Iran is that any real Iraqi state is likely to be allied to Iran. Even the quisling al-Maliki government cowering in the Green Zone is close to Iran. A legitimate Iraqi government, which is virtually certain to be dominated by Iraq’s Shi’ites, will probably be much closer.

A restored Iraqi state that is allied with Iran will quickly roll up al-Qaeda and other non-state forces in Iraq, which is the victory we most require. But the world’s perception will still be that the United States was defeated because its main regional rival, Iran, will emerge much strengthened. If Iran and America are no longer enemies, that issue becomes moot.

Lind lays out a challenge.

There is no chance the Bush administration, locked in a Totentanz with its dreams of world empire, will adopt this strategy. But the presidential debate season has already begun, and a bevy of candidates in both parties are looking around for something, anything that might get us out of the Iraqi morass without accepting defeat. If just one of them picks up on it, those yawningly dull debates might get a lot more interesting.

Could one of our Democratic party Presidential candidates take this advice from Bill Lind?

Originally posted to citydem on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 04:54 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  His conclusion about Bush's Death Dance (8+ / 0-)

    is right on.  Would he allow himself to be seen as the biggest loser ever (by letting Iran "win")for the good of this country?  Not in your wildest dreams.  He will do what looks superficially good to his supporters, but what is in reality deeply harmful to our interests, and bomb Iran.

    We don't have time for short-term thinking.

    by Compound F on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 05:00:03 PM PDT

  •  How To Win In Iraq? LEAVE! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Prairie Populist

    Develop an Exit Strategy.  Bring our troops home.

    •  "Develop an Exit Strategy" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Impeachment/s is the first step in my exit strategy now.
      bushboy/cheney will not end it , get them out of office and maybe the next person could do what needs to be done .

      l'essentiel est invisible

      by indycam on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 05:24:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Impeachment has nothing to do with an (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mas Gaviota

        exit strategy. It is crucial for the good of our government and our country, but it is not going to bring the troops home and will suck the air out of the exit strategy debate. We need the Fighting Dems, Wes Clark and Jim Webb on the Iraq War strategy and Feingold, Leahy, Conyers and others on impeachment. We need a two pronged attack, not one desperate pass at impeachment hoping it is a cure all.

        Please don't lump every political issue together, it's overly simplistic.

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          with you , they are connected . bushboy/cheney have not shown any bending toward even thinking about a withdraw . If the decider will not withdraw , exit the decider .
          Its not "one desperate pass" .
          Its a means to an end .

          If you are counting on webb , mr I love ronald reagan ,
          I think you will be disappointed .

          l'essentiel est invisible

          by indycam on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:55:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Impeachment isn't going to happen without (0+ / 0-)

            17 Republican Senators. 17 Republican Senators wouldn't even pass a No Confidence vote against Abu Gonzales. Feingold's censure vote went nowhere.

            I want to see impeachment too, but it's not realistic at this point and our troops and innocent Iraqis are still dying. Impeachment isn't going to bring about an exit plan, so while it's a goal in and of itself, it has nothing to do with Iraq.

            •  It has everything to do with iraq . (0+ / 0-)

              How can you impose an exit plan on bushboy/cheney if you can't even do a no con or a censure . Seams to me that if you can't do those things , you will fall flat on your face when it comes to getting bushboy/cheney to do the exact opposite of what they have said they will do .

              l'essentiel est invisible

              by indycam on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 07:09:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Because you can force the Republicans to (0+ / 0-)

                pressure Bush on Iraq easier than you can force them to dump him. The Republicans and the MSM are way behind us on Iraq, but they do come around eventually. We need our Democratic leaders to come up with an Iraq War withdrawal plan for us to coalesce around. Wes Clark and Jim Webb have the framework, the Dem leadership needs to allow them to have the lead and write the legislation.

                With an actual plan, we outflank the Republicans and the media who don't have a clue on Iraq and are relying on their old talking points of the Dems not having any answers. We can get the 70% who don't believe in the war to back the Dems. And the Republicans who are worried about reelection will have no choice but to side with the Dems.

                Once the GOP block folds, there's no telling how things will end up. But at the very least, we can get an exit strategy.

            •  Read this ? (0+ / 0-)

              l'essentiel est invisible

              by indycam on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 07:42:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  They're going to be in Iraq anyway. (0+ / 0-)

                We need to get real about withdrawal. It's a matter of many months, possibly years regardless of whether Bush is in power or not. Impeachment doesn't change that.

                There are three sets of issues in getting out: the logistical, the local Iraqi political security, and the strategic.  Let's look at each one.

                On the logistical side, there are 162,000 troops.  If you just loaded them on airplanes, minus ALL their equipment, you could fly that many people out of Baghdad in - let's just approximate some numbers - 300 troops per aircraft average, a takeoff every 20 minutes, so 900 per hour, times 24 hours, so roughly,20,000 per day, or maybe a week and a half to fly everyone home.  Of course, that's with nothing but their clothes on their back....if you start adding in what they should bring home, it adds up to several million tons of stuff that has to be moved, staged, and transported.  If everything else just stopped, and we did nothing but backhaul, then maybe you could get out in six-eight months, plus a few more months for the clean-up of the sites.  But everything won't just stop....

                You have to imagine the psychological and political impact as we first, there's a dimuntion of violence and back rooms and garages, and underground bunkers, the factions are planning and preparing, working to exploit the security and power vacuum that we will leave...They're asking themselves, how is the most effective and safest way to make their power known, and what do we have, as we're leaving *( and weaker on the ground) that they want?   So as the drawdown progresses, the risks increase, until, by the end, we're left with a few thousand troops supported by airpower battling their way to Kuwait with their equipment, or clustered around the airport.  Politically, what's left of the Iraqi government is unlikely to survive such an exit.

                And so, this means that there will have to be polotical arrangements worked inside Iraq, and within the region, that can "cover" the withdrawal of the American forces. Maybe a series of understandings between neighboring states; maybe brokered agreements between factions, witnessed by neighboring states.  Maybe there's a role for the Arab League, OIC, or UN.

                But all of this has to be worked.  And none of it has begun yet. Getting Out Now - Wes Clark

  •  Uh-huh. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pluto, Mas Gaviota

    Be nice to Iran.  
    Just like we're nice to the Saudis.

    Because the Saudis have helped us so much against Islamic extremists . . .

    Because the Saudis have helped us so much in Iraq . . .

    . . . um . . .

    "Just for the record: you were right, I'm an idiot, and God bless you." -- Xander, BTVS

    by prodigal on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 05:05:54 PM PDT

  •  Ugh (3+ / 0-)

    That brilliant diplomatic move of establishing a rapprochement with China in effect won the Vietnam War for the United States.

    Say what you will about this guy, but it's hard to spin the Vietnam War as a victory in any sense.

    "If you've read me...then you know what to expect. If not, it's really simple: I say what I mean and mean what I say."

    RIP, Steve Gilliard

    by PsiFighter37 on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 05:10:50 PM PDT

    •  On the other hand (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Viet Nam was certainly not a "victory" as traditionally defined, but there were no further dominos. I think that is what Lind was saying. China's motivations changed because of the new relationship with the US.

      This argument could be picked apart ad infinitum, at the detail level. For example, was NVN really a client state of China, or an independent actor that allied with the USSR in order to hold China at bay?

      In the larger frame, however, I think there is at least food for thought here. We don't get much real geo-political discussion here on DK.

  •  Tell Bush it was his idea (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maxomai, Pluto, ormondotvos, blueintheface

    to secretly arrange an agreement with Iran, and in doing so, he cut everyone out of the loop and did this single handedly.  Praise Bush, our great leader!
    It wasn't about our troops winning, it was about Bush winning after all.

  •  the nugget of truth in here is worth remembering (4+ / 0-)

    we did win the cold war despite the bumbling in 'nam.  so in the
    broad view, Vietnam was a mistake within a successful strategy.

    It's also surely true that two issues won't go away after we are done with Iraq:

    1. We have to have some kind of program w.r.t. Iran.
    1. We need  some constructive role with the billion plus muslims in the world, not withstanding all the problems we have had, and not withstanding the lunacy of any government they might have.

    I don't understand why we cannot just all get along.

    by Blue State 68 on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 05:20:56 PM PDT

  •  Hopefully no Dem will follow this advice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cecrops Tangaroa, Mas Gaviota

    A restored Iraqi state that is allied with Iran will quickly roll up al-Qaeda and other non-state forces in Iraq, which is the victory we most require.

    ...and will also "roll up" any and all of the Sunnis who are bound to go even more ape-shit as a result of this sort of scenario.  This is why it's often dangerous to draw historical analogies.  Iran isn't seeking to export a shiite revolution wherever it can.  Iran didn't ask for the current catastrophe thrown at its doorstep.

    This "solution" won't do anything to resolve the problems posed by intense sectarian hatreds in Iraq.

  •  How to Win (0+ / 0-)

    in Iraq a train wreck ?
    You don't win , you , if your lucky , survive .

    l'essentiel est invisible

    by indycam on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 05:30:20 PM PDT

  •  Yea! we won the Vietnam war (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dadanation, blueintheface

    This Lind fellow fancies himself an expert, however he is simply another think tank bloviator with no grasp of recent history let alone current events.

    That brilliant diplomatic move of establishing a rapprochement with China in effect won the Vietnam War for the United States.

    Please, the major supporter of the North Vietnam government was the Soviet Union who had broken with China in the early sixties. (although it took the "experts" years to find out)  What Nixon accomplished was to scare the Soviets into pressuring the North to cut a deal with the US so we could have "peace with honor."  Shortly after that deal was cut the NVA launched its final campaign against the South.  Without American support the South fell.  Meanwhile China was supporting Pol Pot and the genocide in Cambodia.  Finally in 1979 China launched an attack on Vietnam which resulted in the almost total destruction of the invading army.  No Mr. Lind we did not win the Vietnam War no matter what bullshit institute you work for.  The People of Vietnam won the war despite Nixon's "brilliant diplomatic move"  by raw will defeating our best efforts as well as China's.  The result of Nixon's gamesmanship?  A genocide in Cambodia, tens of thousands of extra casualties for the US and Vietnam and a serious ass kicking for China.  Lind you and your other big thinkers should stay in you tank and stop giving advice.

    "If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." B. Franklin

    by Mas Gaviota on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:04:27 PM PDT

    •  Those Lousy Think Tanks! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      like Damn them.

      The Republican Party: Your Bridge to the 11th Century.

      by Ex Con on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:13:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh excuse me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I should have been clear, most think tanks, Or better yet the big thinkers in the tanks that are quoted 99% of the time in the media.  Thank you ex con (is that ex conservative or ex convict)?

        "If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." B. Franklin

        by Mas Gaviota on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:22:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Read His Articles (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mas Gaviota

          He is not the fly-weight you think and he is no fan of Bush or the general military approach to this war.

          Ex Con(servative)

          The Republican Party: Your Bridge to the 11th Century.

          by Ex Con on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:53:20 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            for the reasonable response.   Lind  is certainly is no fan of Bush, but I get very tired of the constant rehabilitation of Nixon.  He was a coward in his approach to Vietnam and hardly a  great statesman by talking to China.  The US did not win the Vietnam in any sense.  Peace with honor was a smokescreen for surrender and many American and Vietnamese soldiers paid dearly for Dick's figleaf.  I was following the events of those days as they happened and it is an insult for some self proclaimed expert to come along thirty years later and tell me what "really happened".  Then to add injury to insult he has the stones to create an exit plan for Iraq from his flawed analysis of the past.

            "If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." B. Franklin

            by Mas Gaviota on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 07:12:20 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Lind (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Mas Gaviota

              I wrote this diary, not Lind. He is a Repub. and proud of it. I am a Democrat and disagree with Lind on almost everything except Iraq and what I fear is the upcoming disastrous US attack on Iran. Lind sees the Neo Cons as demented. He offers a right wing anti war viewpoint that challenges the perverted fake patriotism of Bill Kristol, Wolfowitz, Cheney et al. Democrats should ponder Lind's views. When Gary Hart was in the Senate he employed Lind as a defense advisor. Look at it this way- Lind never worked for Lieberman. Let's think about his ideas, after all the Repubs are dissing their anti war faction, so let's listen, respect them and learn. PEACE

  •  We need to leave Iraq (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have been advocating on DailyKos for Dennis Kucinich.  

    Dennis understands that Iran is important to bringing peace to Iraq.  I quote from Dennis's 12 point plan for peace.  Here is part of point 4.

    1. Convene a regional conference for the purpose of developing a security and stabilization force for Iraq. The focus should be on a process which solves the problems of Iraq. The US has told the international community, "This is our policy and we want you to come and help us implement it." The international community may have an interest in helping Iraq, but has no interest in participating in the implementation of failed US policy............It is well known that while some nations may see the instability in Iraq as an opportunity, there is also an even-present danger that the civil war in Iraq threatens the stability of nations throughout the region. The impending end of the occupation will provide a breakthrough for the cooperation between the US and the UN and the UN and countries of the region. The regional conference must include Iran, Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

    Strength Through Peace

    by penguinsong on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:16:30 PM PDT

    •  Part of my problem with the Kucinich plan is that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mas Gaviota

      he's laid out the steps in the wrong order. That should be step 1 right there.

      But Kucinich is putting the pieces together and so far, besides Biden and his divided Iraq plan, no one else is. He's got the dialogue started, but unfortunately, as evidenced by the 16 comments in this thread, it's not a dialogue that many Dems want to have. And that's a shame because it's the most important foreign policy dialogue we will have in a generation.

  •  Any plan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to solve the Iraq question will have to be a multilateral agreement between Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and possibly Kuwait with the US acting as an interested observer committed to ending the occupation as soon as possible.  Making a unilateral deal with Iran,  will only sow the seeds of a greater regional conflict.  It is high time the US gives up the failed geopolitical ideas of Kissinger and his illegitimate neo-con brood.

    "If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." B. Franklin

    by Mas Gaviota on Thu Aug 23, 2007 at 06:41:21 PM PDT

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