Thursday, November 09, 2006


Dr. Cook, how does one answer your question? Forgive me for delving into the underbelly of your question, but I suppose it depends on what "resolving Iraq" means. What are your goals? What would you like to achieve?

It seems to me that most people would define "resolving this Iraq business" as bringing American troops home. In this sense, "resolving Iraq" seems like an easy task - you simply suck it up, bring the troops home, admit defeat, and tell the American people that all those boys died for nothing. Yeah, the larger problems weren't solved, but it turns out this front in fact wasn't all that important in the larger war anyway. Hey, it worked in 'Nam, didn't it?

Call me crazy, but I believe when the duly elected leader of the world's foremost military power invades another country on the flimsiest of evidence, flips that country upside down and releases a spell of violence over that country, which ironically, the world's foremost military power itself cannot even contain, then the world's foremost military power has a moral responsibility to do whatever it takes to acheive stabilization. Here, when the goal is a safe, stable Iraq, the resolution is a bit less clear. In fact, it may take the opposite of what most Americans want. To increase spending and troop levels until the country is in a position where it can take care of itself. I'm sure the cost of this option is high, both in monetary terms and in human lives.

I realize that I haven't offered any real suggestions on how to "resolve Iraq." There's a very good reason for this. I don't have any. The half-baked plan to invade Iraq was, well, just that, and the administration has botched every step since then. Is it too late? It just might be. On that note, I can say that there is one plan currently being thrown about in some circles. There has been some talk about the partition of Iraq into three states based on population concentrations. Some have hailed this as a plan that could divert Iraq from its current course towards civil war. While I am no expert on Irawi civil society, I have to say that this is a surefire recipe for disaster. When has partition ever resulted in something other than more bloodshed? Yugoslavia in the '90s? Ten years of sectarian civil wars, not to mention the G-word. India in the '40s? Five Indo-Pakistani wars in Kashmir, as well as a continued nuclear standoff. Palestine? Don't get me started, we'll save that one for later. Partition will end in nothing but more death and destruction.

Sorry that this wasn't a very productive answer to your question, but to quote the New York Times from earlier this week, there are no good options in Iraq, only bad and worse ones.


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