Friday, June 08, 2007

Wrestling in Iraq

I saw former Senator Bob Kerrey on TV the other night. He believes neither the Democrats or the Republicans have it right on Iraq when, in general, Republicans believe in the status quo and Democrats want to pull all the troops ASAP or ASARP.

He suggested that we should immediately pull the troops from Baghdad, get out of the middle of a civil war and move the troops to the borders to stop outsiders from entering the country. We should then ask the Iraqis what we can do to help them. We would then do what we reasonably could to honor their requests, but the guiding principle would be to do what is in our best interests. And one of our primary interests is to stay in the region and get al Qaeda.

This is not a particularly new idea. I can't understand why there isn't wider support.

When we leave Baghdad, there may be a blood bath, but the sad truth is either the factions must be separated (the Biden plan), they must compromise and share power, or one side has to be beaten into submission. We can't tell them how to solve their problems, only they can do that.

I think many people, including many Iraqis, see our role as like a referee in a boxing match. While the fighters are trying to beat each other to a pulp, we stay neutral and make sure no one gets hurt too badly. But this is not a boxing match. There are no rules and there is no bell after the 10th round to stop the fight. As long as we are there, in the middle of the ring, with all our resources and power, the best political strategy for them is to use us as a shield or a target.

But this isn't a boxing match. It is closer to professional wrestling and there is no referee and no rules. There are many wrestlers who come and go and join the fight when it fits their needs. And yes, al Qaeda is in the ring also, taking shots at everyone. Their goal is to make sure there is no winner. While all we really want to do is fight al Qaeda, we are just another fighter in the middle of a melee.

We need to get out of the center of the ring, let everyone else fight on if they want and then whack al Qaeda every chance we get.

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