Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Iraq: Win or Leave?

Conservative pundits have objected to the Iraq Study Group report as not showing a path to victory. They argue that victory is possible and that the policy of the government should be to achieve that victory. I think they are half right.

They are right (that is, I agree with them) in saying that victory is possible. Of course it's possible. All that is needed is an army large enough and equipped to outnumber and overpower the militias that are now carrying on a somewhat disorganized civil war. I'm not a military expert, but my guess is that it would take an army of at least half a million men. We now have 140,000 men in Iraq, with sufficient trained reserves waiting to replace them and give them time to rest, recuperate, and retrain.

What I don't agree with is that the United States has at present the ability, let alone the determination, to do what is necessary to win. To raise the army that I believe is needed, the government would have to reintroduce the draft. Taxes would have to be raised to pay for the cost of the extra men and equipment needed. The American Public is not ready to accept a draft. The Bush Administration is not ready to admit that additional taxes are necessary to pay for the effort of winning.

Almost everyone else knows that the Iraq Study Group report is intended to give our petulant and stubborn President a means of getting us out of the Iraq quagmire without losing face. He has known the Bush family well for many years and led the group to prepare a unanimous report to give George W. Bush cover for changing his policy and his stated goals for Iraq. If Mr. Bush has any common sense, he will embrace the report and follow its recommendations. He can do what Richard Nixon did with Viet Nam thirty years ago: declare victory and leave.
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