We Are in a State of Flux
Which way for Bush & Blair's un-provoked, unnecessary, largely unilateral invasion and unplanned occupation of Iraq (UULUIUOI)?
There is plenty on the post-Thanksgiving policy menu for our nations' leaders.
- Stay the course, with tactical adjustments, says President Bush, with an echo from top U.S. military leaders.
The administration's current approach is to continue efforts to suppress violence while pressuring the Iraqi government to reach political agreements, control the militias and strengthen security forces.
In the latest tactical shift, military leaders are planning to sharply increase the number of U.S. advisors working with Iraqi security forces. They hope American forces can be drawn down as Iraqi units take control of all regions of the country, which they say can happen within 18 months.
- Temporary increase in U.S. troop level say Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni and some neoconservatives.
The Pentagon could temporarily boost the current troop level by substantial numbers — in the tens of thousands — to try to suppress violence in key areas, such as Baghdad and Sunni-dominated Al Anbar province.
- Gradual withdrawal say many Democratic leaders.
The Bush administration could begin a gradual drawdown of troops over several years, possibly coupled with a redeployment that would move U.S. forces into a support position. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, says the administration should begin a drawdown in four to six months. He argues that U.S. forces should shift to more limited missions, such as training Iraqi forces and fighting foreign insurgents. Iraqis say they want a withdrawal over several years, but each major group wants a pullout structured to protect its interests.
- Partition or decentralization say some Kurds, former U.S. diplomat Peter Galbraith and Sen. Joseph R. Biden.
This option has a variety of applications: Iraq could be formally divided into Shiite, Kurdish and Sunni states, or the three regions could be given wide autonomy around a weak central government that would retain some responsibilities for foreign policy, defense and trade. The Iraqi Constitution provides the foundation for greater regional autonomy.
- An immediate withdrawal is not on the table as far as elected political leaders are concerned. Not yet . . .