The Iraq Study Group, Where it went wrong, what do we do now..

From the New York Times 

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 — The bipartisan Iraq Study Group reached a consensus on Wednesday on a final report that will call for a gradual pullback of the 15 American combat brigades now in Iraq but stop short of setting a firm timetable for their withdrawal, according to people familiar with the panel’s deliberations.

The report, unanimously approved by the 10-member panel, led by James A. Baker III and Lee H. Hamilton, is to be delivered to President Bush next week. It is a compromise between distinct paths that the group has debated since March, avoiding a specific timetable, which has been opposed by Mr. Bush, but making it clear that the American troop commitment should not be open-ended. The recommendations of the group, formed at the request of members of Congress, are nonbinding.

The ISG is a disappointment to everyone. For those who want the US forces out of Iraq the ISG did not recommend Cut-N-Run, more like Cut-N-Stroll.  For those of us who see anything other than success in Iraq as a defeat, the ISG provided little insight in what we need to do to win. The reason for this is relatively simple. The ISG Focus seemed to be on how to get the US out of Iraq, not on how to win in Iraq.

Here are a few of my own thought on what we need to do to move towards victory in Iraq.

  1. Disarm & Disband the Militias both Sunni & Shia. Especially the Medhi Army.
  2. Refocus our reconstruction efforts to the Kurdish northern Iraq, until the other regions are more secure.  
  3. Increase Security Presence on the Iraq/Iran border and on the Iraq/Syria border. Stop or at least curtail the influx of weapons, money and insurgents from outside Iraq.  
  4. Remove the bases and installations inside Iran and Syria that support the insurgents in Iraq. A growing number of the weapons that we have captured in Iraq were manufactured in Iran in 2006. Those weapons do not come directly from the factory into the hands of insurgents, either the Iranians and Syrians do something to prevent weapons of their manufacture from getting into the hands of terrorists or we must. If that means bombing supply centers and distribution depots fine, if it means bombing the hell out of that particular factory then so be it, if it means sending the President of Iran a message… Well lets just say it should not be deliverd by the US Postal Service.
  5. Take and hold Insurgent strongholds like Fallujah. Going in kicking a little terrorist ass and then leaving and allowing the terrorists to return and set up shop again is not getting us any where. It is sort of like paying for the same real estate over and over again.

Notice nothing here suggests talking with the terrorist states of Iran or Syria. It is blatantly obvious that Iran and Syria are supporting the insurgencies in Iraq.  Lets be clear here Iran and Syria are Funding, Arming, and Training the very people responsible for the increasing number of Iraqi and coalition forces casualties. Sitting down and talking with them would be like Churchill holding peace talks with Hitler. 

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  1. I would be in favor of your suggestions (#1 and #5 specifically) but unfortunately after the war our gov’t was in a rush to hold Iraqi elections before we established security and order. The result is that we now must respond to the wishes of a corrupt government in Iraq that in fact enables the Mehdi Army and other militias and supports them holding territory, etc. In other words, the current Iraqi gov’t would not allow us taking these actions. Because of our hurry to get a government in place (for reasons of political capital here) we are now rather at their mercy and no longer the ones to make decisions about how to establish order. Which leaves either 1) take over, again and try to do it right this time, which will be a complete shitstorm, or 2) just leave Iraq to its fate of being an Iranian puppet state. I think we have consistently failed to understand who we were dealing with this whole time and now no decision will be a good one. That’s just the view from where I sit…your mileage may vary.




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