So what DO we do in Iraq?

Zaphod

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Serious question.

Do we stay the course, and let the chips fall?

Do we cut and run?

Do we nuke the place from orbit, just to be sure?

This is not a discussion of why we are there. That can be another thread. We're there, and we need to win. So..... how do we do it, if it's different than what we're doing now.

Just for the record: I don't believe things are nearly as bad as described in the media. I think the media is guilty of negligent malpractice. Still, it's not going as easily as many had hoped. So what can be done to fix it?

I will not accept cut and run. That is cowardice and would make the whole thing worthless. Not an option in my book.

I don't feel like fighting. I'm sick of that. I ask this question simply because I was trained as one who fights wars, not a diplomat, so I acknowledge that my options are less than creative.

Have at it.
 

USNA69

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Iraq is a set of artificial boundaries declared by the British at the end of WWI. They brought together three sultanates that have hated each other since the beginning of time. Since Iraq was formed, it has required heavy-handed dictatorships to keep it together, along with an occassional British reinvasion. My contention ever since the day we invaded has been that the only way that we would ever get out would be to redivide it back into the three original countries.
 

Zaphod

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You're not the first one I've heard suggest that. I must admit that my historical background on the area is woefully inadequate, but the suggestion makes sense.

To be honest, if breaking it into three or more separate countries could settle the issue, I'd be all for it. I couldn't care less if they spend the next hundred years fighting across their borders so long as they don't do anything to us or our interests.

I'd almost be willing to try the old, "Okay, you want us to leave? Fine, but you so much as look at us funny, and we'll cauterize you from the face of the earth in less than an hour." trick.
 

USNA69

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You don't remember Lawrence of Arabia? His book, The Seven Pilars of Wisdom is probably the best book ever written if you want to understand the Arab mindset. Well over a thousand pages and sometimes hard to keep up with and maybe a little dry in places, it is an outstanding portrayal of the British involvement in the founding of Iraq.

The Turks would have a huge problem with a soverign Kurdish community on their southern border and I don't know if all the oil revenues could be divided up proportionally but it makes sense to me. I have heard that Baker's commision has even considered it.
 
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Zaphod

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I regret that I don't read nearly as much as I used to. :frown:
 

nosmileysforme

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USNA69 said:
You don't remember Lawrence of Arabia? His book, The Seven Pilars of Wisdom is probably the best book ever written if you want to understand the Arab mindset.

It's probably also one of the best books written on guerrilla warfare and it would appear the Iraq insurgents have studied it carefully. I wonder if our commanders have. It's required reading at my house.
 

nosmileysforme

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Zap; I think it's probably worse in Baghdad than the news media is able to report.

I like the suggestion (I think it was made by one of the Army Commanders) of securing the airport, oilfields, and borders and letting the Iraqis sort things out for themselves for a while.
 

USNA69

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nosmileysforme said:
I like the suggestion (I think it was made by one of the Army Commanders) of securing the airport, oilfields, and borders and letting the Iraqis sort things out for themselves for a while.

The vast majority are not insurgents. We got them in this mess. We have a moral obligation to get them out of it.
 

Zaphod

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nosmileysforme said:
Zap; I think it's probably worse in Baghdad than the news media is able to report.

"Able" to report?

Are we talking about the same media that can splatter page after page of Abu Grahaib photos with impunity and air videos of our troops being hit by snipers? THAT media?

Please. :rolleyes:

Besides, this is the same media that simply makes stuff up when it suits them, remember?

So what does Lawrence have to say about defeating a guerrilla movement?
 

nosmileysforme

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Lawrence doesn't have anything to say about defeating a guerrilla movement; he was the leader of a guerrilla movement. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom is his first hand account of a very successful Arab insurgency led by him and others against the Turks during the First World War.
 

Zaphod

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Ah! Thanks. :thumb:

I thought maybe he'd provide some insight in reverse. Sounds like an interesting read. I may have to pick it up someday.

Yeah. Right after I lose some weight. :rolleyes:
 

nosmileysforme

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Essentially what Lawrence did was plant explosives along the Turks supply and communication lines. They'd plant their bombs, blow up the train or convoy as it passed, and attack if they had the advantage in firepower; if not they'd repeat the exercise a day or so later. They picked away at the Turks a little at a time and avoided direct confrontations where their advantages might be diluted. They came, ambushed, and disappeared time after time for years on end.

Of course none of this would have worked without the support of the local population which they worked hard to secure and maintain. To the extent possible for a westerner Lawrence became an Arab; immersing himself in their language and dialects, their culture, their dress, everything. He was frequently criticized for his supposed adoration of the Arabs, but there’s no arguing with his effectiveness.

By the way, the move, which is great as entertainment, has just about everything backwards with regard to Lawrence’s personality, actions, and motivations. It’s still a great movie.

His book is well worth reading and you’ll never regret you’ve spent your time unwisely.
 

nosmileysforme

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USNA69 said:
The vast majority are not insurgents. We got them in this mess. We have a moral obligation to get them out of it.

True, true, and true. The question is what is the best way for us and for them.

Now of course I'm oversimplifying here, and perhaps it’s nothing but a pipe dream, but let’s assume for a moment that we do what the Army Commander suggested and protect the borders, the airport, and the oil fields. Those non-combatants with half a lick of sense will leave for places safer for themselves and their families. The combatants will combat amongst themselves in their struggle for power and someone or some group will eventually prevail. Chances are it will be a faction of the ****e majority; it sure won’t be the foreign fighters who with the American Forces out of the picture will no longer have a role other than to support the Sunni minority and who will likely be unpopular with them as well. After the dust has settled we can then read the riot act to the winners and they can toe the line or not. If they care to go it alone, so much the better.
 

USNA69

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nosmileysforme said:
Those non-combatants with half a lick of sense will leave for places safer for themselves and their families.

We have a moral obligation to protect these non-combatants throughout this entire process. I don't see it happening if we let them fight it out. Also, the vast majority live in poverty and don't have the wherewithall to relocate. At best they would end up in disease ridden famine-prevalent refugee camps, exposed to even more abuse. The dichotomy is protecting the masses and letting them fight it out among themselves.
 

USNA69

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Divide Iraq into three separate countries. It was on the table prior to the invasion. The CIA supports it. Several in Congress are pushing it. The Kurds to the north have been doing a relatively good job governing themselves over the last several years. We would probably have to maintain a border presence in order to appease the Turks and to ensure an uninterrupted flow of oil from that region. This presence would also help us for any future hostiliites against Iran or other countries in the Middle East. Let central Iraq go to the Sunnis. No oil but they probably don't deserve it. They would probably eventually align with Jordan. The south and its oil fields would go to the Shiites and would probably align with Kuwait. Israel would definitely support a diminished unified Iraqi threat which would probably, in turn, bring universal Arabic condemnation.
 

Cougar_62

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Splitting Iraq into 3 countries does sound pretty good, until the majority in each area starts killing the minority. Yugoslavia was a bad ideal, but when it fell apart it was even worse. Cyprus is still a mess.

I don't have a better alternative, but it would be interesting to see if the population as a whole would be interested in breaking apart.
 

AFDAD2010

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There was a heated family discussion this weekend -- we are sorely divided over Iraq and the Bush administration.

But an interesting set of questions were posed: Why have so many terrorists found their way to Iraq? How important is Iraq to terrorist organizations? Why is it more important for them to fight there than on our own soil? What would the consequences be of Iraq becoming a democracy of some kind? Are THEY worried about that outcome? If you were running Al Queda, how much of your resources would you devote to Iraq? If the US pulled out, how would you redeploy your resources?

Sounds obvious to me, but I keep hearing from the liberal side of my family that I need to understnad these groups more. So, now I'm asking these questions from THEIR point of view!
 

USNA69

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Cougar_62 said:
Splitting Iraq into 3 countries does sound pretty good, until the majority in each area starts killing the minority. Yugoslavia was a bad ideal, but when it fell apart it was even worse. Cyprus is still a mess.

I don't have a better alternative, but it would be interesting to see if the population as a whole would be interested in breaking apart.

Sorry, I missed this when you posted it. You have definitely recognized the challenge. There would have to be massive US assisted relocations. Also, the problem of inter-sect marriages. It could be a mess but I really don't see anothe truly viable alternative. We also, in addition to ethnic Cyprus and Yugoslavia have to look at the communist-inspired China, Korea, and Vietnam.

The only other true alternative seems to be to let the civil war run it's course and then the defeated sect will be forced, in surrender, to accept the terms of the victorious sect. The true question here would be what the US role would be in such a bloodbath. The previous suggestion to seal the borders and let them have at it seems to be our only course of action.

I truly think a divided country with a police action and relocation assistance would prove less headaches and more stability into the distant future.
 
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