Monday, January 21, 2008

Must-read article about Iraq and the 2008 election

Michael Gordon is the author of the excellent Cobra II and one of the best mainstream media journalists of this war. In the New York Times, he writes this worrisome article that accurately describes both the counter-insurgency we're doing, and need to continue to do, in Iraq and the very alarming disconnect in the rhetoric from all our 2008 presidential candidates: War, Meet the 2008 Campaign.


The generals and diplomats are taught to stay clear of American politics. Right now, they have their hands full trying to devise a way to thin out the American troop deployments and shift more of the burden to the Iraqis without forfeiting hard-won gains. Their hope, one American civilian official said, is to make enough political and military headway this year that the next president will have time to reassess developments in Iraq and perhaps opt for a course correction rather than wholesale change. *

In the meantime, some senior officers seem utterly puzzled by the debate at home. “The one thing that befuddles is I have not heard any candidate describe what their short and long term goals are for Iraq, how it fits into their regional goals for the Middle East and transnational terrorism,” said the American officer. “Is their goal just to withdraw troops as fast as possible?”

* My assessment is that we would need to draw down and re-orient our forces in Iraq by 2010 whoever is President, whether the Petraeus-led counterinsurgency is successful or not. That doesn't necessarily mean a radical withdrawal of our mission from Iraq but there is a practical logistical limit to the current mission. Therefore, "course correction rather than wholesale change" is the reasonable goal. I mean, what did our forces and military mission look like in Germany and Japan in 1948, or in Korea in 1957? Certainly not what they looked like in 1941 or 1950, which looked far different again in 1955 or 1964. The hope is that, in the time and space opened by the present COIN until 2010, the coming course correction evolves to build upon success, a charlie-mike (continue mission), rather than an end-ex (end exercise) that abandons our commitment to Iraq and the Iraqi people.




Post a Comment

Links to this post:

<< Home

<< Newer
Older >>

Powered by Blogger