Monday, November 28, 2005

The coming bad news.

Sooner or later the US will be getting out of Iraq. Everybody today wants to debate whether we should stay as long as possible or leave as quickly as we can. This is all a lot of naive foolishness.

Our option, singular, is to treat our withdrawal as a military operation. Mobilization needs to be prepared for as soon as possible, since right now everybody's unpacked and sitting on their butts in camp barracks. The sooner everybody starts getting ready to leave, the more practice and preparation (always needed before any major US military operation) they can get. Also, it is going to be necessary to develop a plan for maintaining a force presence throughout the withdrawal, because make no mistake about it, this is far more a retreat than a withdrawal.

If, as politics in Washington would have it today, we treat this as a political maneuver, then we are going to see a drastic spike in casualties during the withdrawal maneuvers. As far as that goes, the better option for the lives of the troops is that we don't leave until after 2008 since we all know that Cheney and Rummy are completely indifferent if not hostile to military officers running the military. As far as the U.S. and the Dems are concerned, though, it would be better if it happens before 2008, since even if a new (hopefully Dem) administration does a relatively good job, we all know the VCM (Very Conservative Media) will slag the shit out of them.

Or, of course, if we got a new Repuglican administration in 08, maybe we would hear a great chorus of cheering for whatever they did, good or not.

Domestic politics aside, however, just remember that this is not about what Iraq looks like after we leave. In fact I suspect the situation in Iraq post-occupation will turn out to have very little with how we conducted the end of our operations there, and far more to do with what is done by al Sistani, the Kurds and others, who doubtless know that nothing they do will be for keeeps until after we leave.

But don't take my word for it, read what Juan Cole has to say and draw your own conclusions. Even though his thoughts aren't precisely along the same lines, he certainly gives a flavor for context that can't be denied.

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