One Veteran's Voice

30 November 2005

National Strategy for Staying the Course in Iraq

Read the President's National Strategy for Victory in Iraq

Well America, we've finally got a strategy for victory in Iraq. It's long, repetitive, at times rambling, a blend of fact and fantasy, and it has eight pillars. Islamic religious thought is only worthy of five pillars, so I already know we've got these bastards beat.

All sarcasm aside, the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq is more of the same from President Bush and his administration. The questions Americans have about the war in Iraq are deeper than George Bush is willing to address. President Bush has a credibility problem that he can't shake, and rightly so. Every few days he gets up in front of a captive military audience and makes the same tired speech about staying the course. The NSFVIA expounds and clarifies Bush's National Strategy for Staying the Course. It offers no new insights or ideas. A sea change in national policy on Iraq is needed to fix this problem. A quote from the NSFVIA

The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida. These three groups share a common opposition to the elected Iraqi government and to the presence of Coalition forces, but otherwise have separate and to some extent incompatible goals.

Rejectionists are the largest group. They are largely Sunni Arabs who have not embraced the shift from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to a democratically governed state. Not all Sunni Arabs fall into this category. But those that do are against a new Iraq in which they are no longer the privileged elite. Most of these rejectionists opposed the new constitution, but many in their ranks are recognizing that opting out of the democratic process has hurt their interests.
We judge that over time many in this group will increasingly support a democratic Iraq provided that the federal government protects minority rights and the legitimate interests of all communities.

Saddamists and former regime loyalists harbor dreams of reestablishing a Ba'athist dictatorship and have played a lead role in fomenting wider sentiment against the Iraqi government and the Coalition.
We judge that few from this group can be won over to support a democratic Iraq, but that this group can be marginalized to the point where it can and will be defeated by Iraqi forces.

Terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida make up the smallest enemy group but are the most lethal and pose the most immediate threat because (1) they are responsible for the most dramatic atrocities, which kill the most people and function as a recruiting tool for further terrorism and (2) they espouse the extreme goals of Osama Bin Laden -- chaos in Iraq which will allow them to establish a base for toppling Iraq's neighbors and launching attacks outside the region and against the U.S. homeland.
The terrorists have identified Iraq as central to their global aspirations. For that reason, terrorists and extremists from all parts of the Middle East and North Africa have found their way to Iraq and made common cause with indigenous religious extremists and former members of Saddam's regime. This group cannot be won over and must be defeated -- killed or captured -- through sustained counterterrorism operations.

There are other elements that threaten the democratic process in Iraq, including criminals and Shi'a religious extremists, but we judge that such elements can be handled by Iraqi forces alone and/or assimilated into the political process in the short term.

WTF is a rejectionist? Arab-nationalist would be a more descriptive term. Neo-Baathist has a nice ring to it. What about anti-occupationist? The NSFVIA is correct in assessing that the largest groups of the insurgency, the so called rejectionists, are beginning to join the political process. Check out this article which details how talk of a military withdrawal is finally accomplishing what elections and military action have not been able to-- getting the Sunni leaders who implicitly support the rejectionists to the negotiating table with U.S. forces and the Iraqi government.

According to Bush's NSFVIA, the 1st strategic pillar is to "Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgency." We cannot neutralize the insurgency through military means. I agree that the religious fanatics of Al Qaida will never negotiate, and they must be rooted out wherever they are found through the use of good intelligence and commando units. Preferably Arab commando units. But from what I've seen, read, experienced, and believe as a rational human being-- the widespread and continued presence of American military forces in Iraq is inflaming the insurgency, legitimizing Al Qaida, hurting the political process, as well as the economic reconstruction of Iraq. The Iraqi government has already tacitly endorsed the insurgency. A super-majority of Iraqi citizens want us gone. Iraq is already in a low grade civil war-- and I really don't believe that things will get too much worse if we pull out. In fact, I believe that by withdrawing the bulk of our forces from Iraq and reducing our meddling involvement in the new Iraqi government, both Americans and Iraqis will benefit. With no occupation to fight, the bulk of the insurgents will stop fighting. The foreign and religious extremists who kill fellow muslims (a problem, by the way, that Iraq did not have before the occupation) will not be tolerated in a post-occupation Iraq. Moderate Iraqi and American voices must win the day, or we are all in trouble.

1 Other Voices:

Elmo said...

That's a great read Brian.

With no occupation to fight, the bulk of the insurgents will stop fighting.

How sad it is more people don't realize this.

12/01/2005 08:27:25 PM  

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