Sunday, April 15, 2007

Needed: Middle East Strategic Plan

Retired General Anthony Zinni was on Meet the Press this morning. He said something that while not new, made me think about the future of the Iraq War.

He disagreed with the current approach and he also disagreed with proposals by the Democrats for time tables for withdrawal. What he pointed out was that neither incorporated a strategic plan for the Middle East. The way he presented this made a lot of sense.

I think his idea is close to the call for a Regional Security Summit, but not just as some part of a withdrawal. He is suggesting that we look beyond how we extricate ourselves from Iraq to what is our plan for the Middle East?

One of the reasons given for going into Iraq was that a democratic Iraq would awaken a desire for democracy in the region. While rather simplistic and naive, it was at least the start of a strategy. What is our strategy now?

No matter what they call it, Republicans cling to the "stay the course" policy. Democrats, in response to public pressure and the stupendous incompetency and lack of planning by the administration, have adopted an equally short sighted approach, withdraw. Neither talks a lot about what happens next. How does your plan for Iraq fit into the larger goal to stabilize the Middle East and counter terrorism?

This is a complicated problem and we need better answers from both parties.

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