Monday, March 24, 2008

The Problem is not that we're pulling troops out...

...too fast or not fast enough. The real problem here is that regardless of what we've been doing, we've had no real control over the situation in Iraq, which right now seems to be worsening.

Last year, we benefited from the cooperation of the Sunnis, and the cooperation of the al-Sadr in reaching a ceasefire. The way things are arranged, though, even with the numbers of soldiers we had at the height of the surge, it's not enough to smackdown the insurgents if they want to get rowdy. Meanwhile, we stand in the way of the Iraqis and their government coming to a modus vivendi, which they'd pretty much have to reach if they didn't want things to utterly fall apart.

Withdrawal was the best of bad options in 2006. Now it's the best of genuinely terrible options now, and things have become quite a bit more complicated now that we've been arming sides. The best we may have done is allowed certain groups to consolidate at the expense of others, making them stronger in comparison to the weak central government. I know some might say, but isn't that the best government? But looking at a failed state, I say, no, not really. You need a government that people actually listen to. It doesn't help the Iraqis that they're living in this kind of system of de facto tribal feudalism, unmanaged, unchecked by a strong modern government.

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