Friday, January 12, 2007

Iraq Surge Focused on Wrong Goal

So, President Bush wants to send more troops into Iraq. The American people don’t agree. Of course, unless the Democrats cut off funding, Bush’s title of Commander in Chief gives him authority to do pretty much as he pleases. Public opinion is a sideshow. The surge is happening.

But it won’t work. The wound of war has festered and Iraq’s gone septic. 20,000 more troops is just a topical treatment and will do little to cure the disease. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m just a naïve observer who lacks the military experience or political understanding to see the genius of this plan. It’s certainly possible.

I do actually agree with the President on one point: leaving now almost certainly sets us up for a bigger disaster later. Those who think we can get out and suffer nothing more than bruised pride are deluding themselves. If we don’t stay militarily involved, Iraq likely becomes the new Afghanistan – with huge oil reserves.

Where I differ with Bush is in the definition of victory. The President is still seeking a Democracy in Iraq when the real goal should simply be keeping Iraq from becoming an immediate threat to our security. Our presence in Baghdad is only slowing the inevitable collapse into civil war (those who consider the current level of violence a civil war have left themselves with no words to define the real civil war if and when it erupts).

The President may now recognize that mistakes have been made, but he’s yet to wrench himself free of the overly optimistic theories that convinced him of the need for war in the first place. It’s time to stop working towards a Democracy we can’t create. We must focus on our own, more immediate interests. It’s not the outcome we wanted. It’s not an outcome that's particularly noble. But it’s what we have left.

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