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Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Iraq & Capacity For Violence

Reuel Marc Gerecht (in WSJ $$):
"As will soon be apparent, the Iraq Survey Group, of which Mr. Gates is a member and to which I'm an adviser, has not discovered any way for the U.S. to exit Iraq -- except under catastrophic conditions. Its recommendations will probably be the least helpful of all the blue-ribbon commissions in Washington since World War II because it cannot escape from an unavoidable reality: We either declare defeat and withdraw completely tout de suite, or we surge troops into Baghdad and fight. The ISG will surely try to find some middle ground between these positions, which, of course, doesn't exist.

If one works through the different scenarios, they all return quickly to a Rumsfeldian position that the U.S. needs to do more in Iraq with less -- a position that has been proven flatly wrong since the spring of 2003. This is why Washington has not been able to draw down even though the president, his defense secretary and his generals have dearly wanted to do so. Any meaningful reduction of U.S. forces is very likely to collapse the Iraqi Army into Shiite and Sunni militias and bring on massive carnage, the likes of which the Middle East has not seen since the Iran-Iraq War. If Mr. Gates signs off on the ISG's recommendations, which will probably be completed before he assumes office, he will be party to a doomed strategy . . . ."
Isn't this what the logic of power implies? Either we withdraw our military, and confirm what the enemy suspects about our willingness to use our technical capacity for violence, or we change course in the direction of increasing our capacity for violence until we make it clear we have a greater capacity for violence than do the enemies of the Iraqi government. Any middle ground, which we seem to have been treading of late, doesn't embody sufficient capacity for violence to win, and only serves to delay the decision to either leave or bring sufficient violence to bear against the enemies of Iraq's government.

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