Friday, October 06, 2006

American Iraqi policy is “drifting sideways”

The Maliki government, which looked so promising last spring, has proven to be a real disappointment. In the meantime, American diplomatic policy has ignored the obvious complexities of the multiple conflicts (not to mention the apolitical but just as deadly rampant crime) going on throughout Iraq but especially in the Sunni region. American military policy is to muddle along and paint a rosy picture while having failed and continue to fail to provide security for the country.

Senator John Warner, a supporter of the war effort, has just returned from Iraq and paints a gloomy picture. According to this morning’s New York Times,

The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee warned
Thursday that the situation in Iraq was “drifting sideways” and said that the
United States should consider a “change of course” if violence did not diminish

The chairman, Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, expressed particular
concern that Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki had not moved decisively
against sectarian militias.

“In two or three months if this thing hasn’t come to fruition and this
level of violence is not under control, I think it’s a responsibility of our
government to determine: Is there a change of course we should take?” Senator
Warner said.

He did not specify what shift might be necessary in Iraq, but he said that
the American military had done what it could to stabilize Iraq and that no
policy options should be taken “off the table.” He was speaking at a Capitol
Hill news conference after returning from a Middle East trip that included a
one-day visit to Baghdad.

The window of opportunity to get things done right and with minimum bloodshed is years behind us. The quick victory was quickly squandered by incompetence.

The only serious alternative policy being discussed at this time (proposed by former ambassador Peter Galbraith and Senator Joseph Biden) is partition of Iraq into three smaller countries – one Kurdish, one Sunni and one Shiite. Critics have been quick to point out the very real problems with partition but have not put another alternative plan on the table.

One thing is clear. Nothing will change under the current leadership from the Pentagon that is responsible for this lack of planning and strategy. President Bush needs to make a decision as to what is more important: the American troops putting their lives on the line and the Iraqi people who are suffering a Hell on earth or the career of Donald Rumsfeld. Nothing will begin to change until President Bush finds the backbone to look Rumsfeld in the eye and say the magic words, “You’re fired.”

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