Here we are. Four more will put us at 2011 and the only way the US won't be there is if it's kicked out by the Iraqis. You see, you can talk about withdrawal all you want, but without the political will to make it happen it just remains talk. The only political will that Congress shows is lining their pockets and getting reelected.
I read this really off the wall post
at Juan Cole's Informed Comment
Saturday night and it's been bugging me ever since. Juan, who says about Kahl's arguments, "I thought them clear, concise and cogent" leaves Professor Colin Kahl of the Political Science Department at the University of Minnesota pretty much on his own then to bless us with his expertise on counter-insurgency.
If you're interested in the Professor Kahl's views in detail read the post. I'll sum it up here , he thinks in Iraq we've passed through the phases of:
1. Denial [Iraqis love us, right?]
2. Learning curve [Funny way to love us.]
3. Getting it [Iraqis don't love us at all.]
4. Doing it - [We'll make you love us, dead or alive, on going, baby, from 1/1/2007]
His analysis of phases 1 - 3 is pretty unremarkable, he loves to throw around the jargon like a real army man, but then he gets down and gets funky with phase 4, doing it:
. . This shift makes sense from the perspective of COIN best practices and the new COIN field manual. There are other successful approaches to COIN, including what the briefing calls "the Roman Strategy" ("make a desert and call it peace"), which was basically the approach Saddam used to prevent sustained insurgency in Iraq. But, as the briefing properly notes, adopting this approach (or even somewhat softer, but still highly coercive COIN practices, such as those used by the Americans effectively in the Philippines between 1899-1902), is incompatible with norms against targeting civilians embraced by the U.S. military and political leadership. So, with the Roman strategy off the table, that leaves the "clear, hold, and build" option. However, as the briefing makes clear, this strategic shift may simply be too little, too late. What the briefing doesn't say is that it is also unclear whether employing COIN best practices will work in the context of not only a raging insurgency (in Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala), but also a sectarian civil war (in Baghdad, Diyala, and increasingly Kirkuk), diffuse criminal anarchy and militia rivalry (in the South), and endemic separatist tendencies (in Kurdistan). . .
Now to me, the Roman Strategy means genocide
. Can you read it differently? Can Professor Cole read it differently? Is that the essence of what makes it "clear, concise and cogent"? And why do we need to go back to ancient history for our options? I recall that in the last century there was a great example of 'leaving a desert' practiced by the Wehrmacht.
Well, you don't use the Germans as an example because it sounds bad, but not because they did anything differently than the Romans. We don't do things like that because it "is incompatible with norms against targeting civilians embraced by the U.S. military and political leadership".
Illegal is not mentioned. War crime is not mentioned. It seems that according to Prof. Kahl these thing are no longer important in a discussion of war, just what US military and political leadership 'embrace'. If they decide to embrace genocide and mass destruction in Iraq that is something Prof. Kahl will discuss in his political science world coolly and calmly, probably under the heading 'Doing it righteously'.