Thursday, January 13, 2005
Juan Cole today argues for the continued American occupation of Iraq so as to prevent a new Ba'athist coup. Fine, so let's assume that something terrible would happen if the U.S. were to leave. It has also become apparent that present force levels are insufficient to defeat the insurgency militarily. So do we fight a holding action until either the Iraqi government has a military strong enough to fight on its own or an Iraqi government gains enough political support among the most disaffected populations that the insurgency dies? We're still years away from either outcome. Maybe it is the best we can hope for, but what Cole seems to be saying is that the U.S. military needs to spend the next several years trying to preserve a stalemate, one in which the military balance has been steadily tilting against it. As usual, though, I don't want to declare that all is lost, and am interested in suggestions.