I’m a little confused about the situation in Iraq. The top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, offers, what I think, are contradictory assessments, or dates for assessments. Of course, though, we can’t call them “timelines” or, gasp, even “benchmarks.”Supposedly in September, just over two months from now, the general will issue a report assessing the progress, or lack of, on the troop increase, a.k.a. “the surge.” But, the general has also said it will take years (yes years, not two months) to resolve insurgency problems in Iraq.
So my question is, what is this September deadline for? Is it really a deadline for anything? Or will the general and the president keep on doing what they’ve been doing all along and continue the war? Will they send more troops and say they need a few more months? Or will we somehow be roped into a war with Iran?
I’ve struggled for a long time, now, with the Iraq war. Nevermind why we went or if we should have went. We’re there now, and that’s the reality. No sense dreaming about what-ifs in this situation. That helps nobody.
On one hand, I understand the necessity for remaining there. If we pulled out tomorrow, the region would likely collapse into a bigger mud hole than it already is. Civil wars on a mass scale seem likely. But on the other hand, what good are we really doing there? The Iraqi government seems reluctant, if willing at all, to stand up for themselves; we appear to be breeding more terrorists day-by-day (whether they’re al Qaeda or not, because some nut case with an IED is still a terrorist); electricity in the country is scarce after how many years; oil production and revenues are as prolific as sharks in a backyard swimming pool; etc. etc. etc.
What would happen if we pulled out? Chaos, probably. And that isn’t something we can afford seeming as that region is of extreme importance to us since we can’t seem to find alternative fuels. So, perhaps the entire Mideast oil supply gets cut off. Then we have to rely on reserves, which won’t last long, and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, not exactly someone begging on our doorstep to be invited to dinner. Now, then, the crisis is at home. Not because some terrorists “followed us home,” but because we, the American people and government, have no foresight. If we don’t need the oil, we don’t need to be there.
If we continue there, prospects aren’t really any better. Things will simply keep on keeping on. What about the prospect of splitting Iraq into three countries, or at least three highly autonomous regions (which would likely split apart anyway)? I don’t know much about that, other than letting the Iraqi Kurd population up north have their own country could embolden the Kurds in Turkey to revolt for their own country too. A mess all around.
So, really, there is no solution. No solution, at least, that will make everyone happy. We are left with choosing from the less-worse of choices, but which one is that?
What I find interesting, though, on Monday a top Republican senator hammered away at the president’s fortifications. Indiana senator Richard Lugar:
Our course in Iraq has lost contact with our vital national security interests in the Middle East and beyond…. In my judgment, the costs and risks of continuing down the current path outweigh the potential benefits that might be achieved.
Someone, somewhere needs to have a plan. A plan that will work for all parties involved. It would be great if, say, someone in Congress or the White House stopped with all the silly, inconsequential non-binding resolutions and posturing and actually do what we all sent them there to do: solve the hard problems. If they can’t, then let’s get someone in charge who can.