Monday, November 13, 2006

Robert Kagan & William Kristol : Bush's Iraq Legacy - Weekly Standard

David Seaton's News Links
If you were looking for a new definition of the word "chutzpah", this article in the neocon bible by two of the foremost intellectual authors of the tragic fiasco in Iraq would give dozens of fine, ripe examples. DS

Abstract: President Bush has a little over two years left in office. The central question facing him is this: What kind of Iraq will he bequeath to his successor? Will it be an Iraq in a state of collapse, a horrible and metastasizing mess dumped on the doorstep of the next president? Or an Iraq on a path toward stability and success--with increasing security for Iraqi citizens, an increasingly viable political system, and a developing economy? The answer will determine how this president should be remembered by future generations.(...) The current trajectory is downward toward failure. Indeed, this has been the trajectory for over three years, ever since Pentagon officials, civilian and military, decided to put far too few troops in Iraq:(...) At every stage in the ensuing downward spiral, senior Pentagon officials, with the approval not just of the secretary of defense but of two national security advisers and the president himself, have refused to increase American forces in Iraq to the levels necessary for success. On the contrary, they have always had one foot out the door. Pentagon military and civilian officials have been trying to exit Iraq ever since the military entered it.(...) Many are looking to the Iraq Study Group, the commission headed by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, to provide a face-saving, bipartisan way for the United States to withdraw from Iraq as quickly as possible, with a clear conscience(...) The great irony, of course, is that while the Baker commission's anticipated report has been hailed as offering a long-overdue change of course, it seems unlikely to do so. The commission's supporters trumpet the idea that there can be no military solution in Iraq, only a political solution, as if Pentagon officials have not been making the same point for three years.(...) Instead of looking for a graceful and face-saving way to lose in Iraq, the president could finally demand of his civilian and military advisers a strategy to succeed. Such a strategy would do what previous strategies have not done: provide the number of American forces necessary to achieve even minimal political objectives in Iraq. Such an effort would begin by increasing American force levels in Iraq by at least 50,000.(...) The president has two years to turn things around and leave a viable Iraq to the next president. It should be obvious that "staying the course" is a recipe for failure. So are politically driven exit strategies. The president is left with the choice: quit, or do what is necessary to succeed. We trust the president understands that the task before him in Iraq is to find a strategy for success. READ ALL

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