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Declaring Victory

One of the cool things about achieving some small level of blog notoriety is that suddenly all sorts of people start sending you stuff. I met former New York mayor Ed Koch at the Republican National Convention this past August, and he's been sending me his commentary pieces ever since.

This weeks commentary is particularly interesting as a conversation starter on the way ahead in Iraq. Koch, a strong supporter of the re-election effort for President Bush even though he's best known a Democrat, argues that it's time for a bold move in Iraq. His commentary is reprinted below (with permission) in the extended section of this article.

I'm curious what Wizbang readers think of his idea...

Ed Koch Commentary January 17, 2005

The time has come for the United States to declare victory in Iraq and bring our troops home.

The war against Iraq was initiated because our security forces, particularly the CIA, advised President Bush that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that Iraq posed an imminent threat to the countries in its region and a foreseeable threat to the U.S. Almost every major government in the world, including those of allies Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia, had also been advised by their security agencies that Iraq had WMD. Whether those agencies and our CIA were correct in that assessment or were duped by Saddam Hussein remains a mystery.

After a thorough search by U.S. ground forces, those weapons have not been found. In all probability, we will never know whether they were destroyed, transported out of the country, or are still hidden somewhere in Iraq. We do know, however, that Iraq is no longer able to wage war with WMD or conventional weapons and is no longer an imminent or foreseeable threat to anyone except its own citizens.

During the actual war itself from March 13 to May 1, 2003, the U.S. suffered a relatively small number of casualties: 139 dead and 542 wounded. In the ensuing occupation that continues today, however, we have suffered an additional 1,226 deaths and 9,830 casualties.

Germany, France and most of the NATO nations did not stand with us and never participated in the war or the occupation. Some of those who joined us, albeit with a minuscule number of troops, e.g., Spain, Poland and the Ukraine, have since left or have announced their intention to depart.

Great Britain has been our only true friend on Iraq. It has devoted substantial troops to the war effort, and stands shoulder to shoulder with us in the occupation effort, despite suffering significant military casualties and deaths. Prime Minister Tony Blair has been pilloried for his extraordinary leadership and savagely attacked by members of his own party. If his Labor Party colleagues did not think he was absolutely necessary to assure their victories in upcoming elections, they would have jettisoned him by now, and they still may do so after he leads them to victory in those elections. Blair has extraordinary oratorical skills, and he has often brilliantly stated why it was right to undertake the war in Iraq and why it is right to stay in Iraq until a democratic government is assured.

To his enormous credit, President Bush has stood strong on this issue. During the last election, he convinced the American public that we were right to take the action he ordered as President, and he was reelected, increasing his support in almost every sector of our society. I was and continue to be proud of my support for his decision to go to war and of my participation as a volunteer in his campaign for reelection.

Regrettably, the country remains divided on the issue. In my opinion, what underlies America's great concern over the war is the fact that the U.S. and Great Britain alone are suffering the military casualties and deaths. Our traditional allies, France, Germany and Canada, continue to criticize us while benefiting from the heroic sacrifices made by the U.S. and Great Britain.

We expected the people of Iraq, particularly the Shia in the south who have been terrorized for years by Saddam Hussein, and the swamp Arabs whose living area was deliberately destroyed by Hussein, to welcome our armies as liberators. But they did not. To the contrary, the Shia, albeit to a lesser extent than the Sunnis, have sought to kill our troops. In addition, vast numbers of Iraqis continue to suffer near daily, brutal attacks by Hussein loyalists, most of whom are Sunnis. They continue to support him even while he awaits trial in prison for the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens, including ethnic minorities such as the Kurds and the Shia majority.

The Iraqi terrorists have been more successful than anyone expected in sowing terror in an effort to prevent the election scheduled for January 30. Nevertheless, that election will take place, notwithstanding the successes the terrorists have had in inflicting severe casualties, and despite the lack of aid from the regional powers such as Turkey, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia, which have the most to gain by a democratically governed Iraq. In light of the current conditions in Iraq, I suggest the following:

President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair should inform the present interim Iraqi government that within 60 days after the January 30 election, we will begin the removal of our combined forces and the withdrawal will be completed within 90 days thereafter. The Iraqi army, now about 150,000 strong, will have to control the country and its porous borders.

Iraq's neighbors may lament and complain bitterly that the vacuum created by the absence of our troops will lead to civil war. To prevent that from happening, neighboring countries might conclude that it is necessary to commit their troops to prevent such a war. Other Muslim countries, either Sunni or Shia in tradition, might similarly conclude that they too should commit troops to protect their coreligionists. NATO countries for either humanitarian reasons or as a result of dependency on Iraqi oil or for other economic concerns, might feel compelled to get involved and be willing to shed the blood of their young men and women to defend the peace.

I suspect that if George Bush and Tony Blair advanced this proposal, we would be implored to remain in Iraq by the Sunni, Shia, NATO allies, the countries in the region, and by Muslim states around the world. For the first time in a long while, we would be in the catbird seat directing those nations as to what their share of boots on the ground would be and what their reimbursement and fair share would be of the 200 billion or more that we have spent to date. It would then be our option to stay or leave.

In the event we leave, the Kurds should be given the arms they need to protect themselves and a commitment that the U.S. and Great Britain will continue to enforce the no-fly zone over Iraq which our NATO allies of France and Germany had never supported.

I concur with the recent advice of Brent Scowcroft, former national security adviser to President George W. Bush, but go even further. According to The New York Times on January 10, 2005:

Mr. Scowcroft said the situation in Iraq raised the fundamental question of 'whether we get out now.' He urged Mr. Bush to tell the Europeans on a trip to Europe next month: 'I can't keep the American people doing this alone. And what do you think would happen if we pulled American troops out right now?' In short, he was suggesting that Mr. Bush raise the specter that Iraq could collapse without a major foreign presence - exactly the rationale the administration has used for its current policy.
I would go even further. I would tell the Europeans that the U.S. will not consider remaining in Iraq unless the Europeans commit their troops and join us. They should know that the days of America and Britain bearing the deaths and casualties alone are over.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Declaring Victory:

» The Blue State Conservatives linked with Do We Stay or Do We Go?

» Bad Example linked with PULL OUT? WE JUST *GOT* THERE!

Comments (31)

The way things are going, i... (Below threshold)

The way things are going, it seems highly unlikely that anyone, including the Iraqis themselves, will take responsibility for the security of Iraq until they are forced to. Personally, I think it's too soon for such an ultimatum. The new Iraqi government needs at least 6 months to get on its feet before there is any withdrawal of troops.

Also, I don't believe in bluffing. The worst case scenario, should Bush and Blair take this route, would be if no one stepped up and we ended up staying, unwilling to allow Iraq to sink into civil war. We can't take this step unless and until we are willing to carry through.

"Iraq's neighbors may lamen... (Below threshold)

"Iraq's neighbors may lament and complain bitterly that the vacuum created by the absence of our troops will lead to civil war. To prevent that from happening, neighboring countries might conclude that it is necessary to commit their troops to prevent such a war."

That's exactly what I'm afraid would happen. Look how well it worked out in Lebanon.

This is in general pretty w... (Below threshold)

This is in general pretty well reasoned, and honest to boot vis-a-vis the actual situation we found in Iraq. The only problem I have with it is the ease with which he dismisses the vacuum problem. He's most certainly correct that other countries might decide to come in to fill the vacuum -- but that's one of the chief worries we have. What if Iran or Syria decide to commit more ostensible support in order to gain greater leverage in the region? What if those who fill the gap are, from a political standpoint, against the Iraqis or our interest?

While I think the idea of pulling our troops from Iraq is one that would receive broad support from all sides of the aisle (i.e. the US Public, the Europeans, the Iraqis, and the Terrorists), I'd be afraid to see how much greater the blame will be if in leaving we help engender a situation worse than existed previously (_IF_ that is possible).

His commentary seems initia... (Below threshold)
Jim Gordon:

His commentary seems initially to advocate an abandonment, and is followed up with a stronger global commitment. Interesting idea, but I don't believe that Iraq's neighbors see a democratically governed Iraq as a "gain," or see open civil war as a loss for the region. These govenments supported the Hussein regime with full knowledge of the circumstances, and never raised a voice in opposition, much less consider action to abate the suppression of the Shia majority. A democratic Iraq is a threat to the main forms of government in the region - theocracy in Iran (with questionable popular support) and monarchies (engaged in various degrees of supression themselves)

With regard ot our "traditional allies" other than Great Britain and Australia, we don't have any. The US has been a traditional ally of most of Europe at various times, but none has ever shed blood or wealth in support of our interests. It can be argued that they should not, which is also a valid point, but regardless, we should not feel guilty when we act in our own interests. Democratic governments are required to act in the interst of their people, and that Europe did nothing in this case is evidence that it is not in their intrest to do so, then or now.

I suspect that if George... (Below threshold)

I suspect that if George Bush and Tony Blair advanced this proposal, we would be implored to remain in Iraq by the Sunni, Shia, NATO allies, the countries in the region, and by Muslim states around the world. For the first time in a long while, we would be in the catbird seat directing those nations as to what their share of boots on the ground would be and what their reimbursement and fair share would be of the 200 billion or more that we have spent to date. It would then be our option to stay or leave.

Sooooooo he wants us to try and bluff the world community. Nice.

Note to Ed Koch:

This ain't the World Poker Tour, and you ain't Gus Hansen.

Please see Powerline's post... (Below threshold)

Please see Powerline's post today entitled "Ballots And Bullets." They extract and comment on a post at Right Wing News that discusses the significance of the upcoming election in Iraq. I would be interested in reading comments on Koch's proposal in light of the description of Algeria's elections in 1995, eerily-nearily identical to Iraq's current experience:

A good topic. Given our ne... (Below threshold)

A good topic. Given our new-found impatience, born during the Vietnam era and cultivated by the media, I think we'll have little choice but to define a pull-out date after the elections. Is it wise? I don't think so: the power vacuum effect is very real, and I'll make a bet with anyone we'll find ourselves back there on some sort of future peace-keeping mission. It's important to realize, however, if the new Iraqi government asks us to leave, then we need to honor their sovereignty and leave (on a well thought-out and realistic timetable).

Ed Koch is being realistic. If we know we'll have to pull out, then let's use it for our political advantage. I don't condone an immediate exit, however, simply because we've commited our country to the principles of democracy. A "cut-and-run" strategy after elections would be disastrous.

Can't you just see it now? We leave immediately after elections, the mother of all civil wars erupts, and the Kerry crowd will be screaming that we didn't honor our commitments. Mark my words, I swear something like this will happen.

"I suspect that if George B... (Below threshold)

"I suspect that if George Bush and Tony Blair advanced this proposal, we would be implored to remain in Iraq by the Sunni, Shia, NATO allies, the countries in the region, and by Muslim states around the world."

Yes, I'm sure it's possible that the people who are blowing up our soldiers, the people paying and supplying them, those bribed by Hussein to stop us frmo going in, and those just too apathetic to do anything much more than complain would ask us to stay in Iraq if we said we were leaving.

It's also possible that we're going to catch Osama bin Laden in line at Quiznos buying a Ham and Cheese Sub, too.

But neither one's going to happen in this universe.

Not a bad idea, if just a b... (Below threshold)

Not a bad idea, if just a bit optimistic. I would embrace both his suggestions for exiting except enlarge the dates by 6-12 months and leave sufficient reserves to quell immediate terrorist uprises.

"To prevent that from happe... (Below threshold)

"To prevent that from happening, neighboring countries might conclude that it is necessary to commit their troops to prevent such a war."

Huh...looks like Iran and Syria have been committing some of their folks for over a year to make sure that a war happened.

So who else in the immediate area has an army capable of quelling an Iraqi Civil War, and isn't actively trying to get one started. Turkey? Oh sure, letting Turkey settle its hash with the Kurds would be just a wonderful feather in our cap, wouldn't it? Who else? Anyone? Saudi Arabia? The nation that was so afraid of Hussein's armies they practically begged us to stay after the Gulf War.

That pretty much leaves Israel. Anyone want to take bets on just how unpopular it would be for the Jews to forcibly settle a Civil War in a Muslim country?

Bluffing as part of diploma... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

Bluffing as part of diplomacy wasn't what it was about when I was a boy. Back then we had an honest war, and you knew your enemy by the flag they flew. These days everything is in backrooms and shadows.

I fear we must stay the course and do what is right to bring freedom to these people. Without help. Yes it wil lcost us lots more in taxes, but in the end it will be worth it. I myself have already shown I beeleive it can be done by investing there.

I seem to remember that offers from jordan fro troops were already rejected by the iraqis, ,so we must go it alone thanks to old europe.

If we leave, the Shia will ... (Below threshold)

If we leave, the Shia will take care of the "Sunni problem" in a few very bloody months (which is how long the civil war will last) with one strongly possible outcome of Iraq breaking up into three autonomous regions. Deployable French and German troops are like Santa Claus or the Fairy Godmother - tales to placate children (aka old line internationalists and NATO-believers). At this point it should be crystal clear that our "old allies" - Germany, France, Canada are no longer so. Indeed, in many real and concrete ways France is an enemy. Scowcroft is trying to bluff an opponent who has nothing to bet with. I am fully in agreemen that we should announce our departure immediately following the election - but I have no hope that anybody else will step in to take our place. As for the $200 billion we have spent thus far, one way to recoup it is through a "liberation reimbursement" (over 30 years) on Iraq oil exports. The human cost of course can never be reimbursed, but one way to start would be "Soldier Aid" - we had that "Tsunami Aid" concert (dreadful though it mostly was). Why not the same for the families of soldiers? If we found $300million plus to give to a region that got hit by a natural disaster, then surely we can figure out a way to give some real money to the families of people who have sacrificed so much for America, the middle east, and the ideals of freedom and democracy.

I see this as a bad idea.</... (Below threshold)

I see this as a bad idea.

The kicker comes in the scenario where we threaten to pull out unless other countries step up to the plate and nobody steps up... at first.

Our bluff called, we pack up and leave Iraq and the predictable civil war erupts, with a heavy clandestine push from Iran and Syria.

Then Iran invades and annexes Iraq. Will Saudi Arabia commit troops to kick Iran out of Iraq? Will Yemen? Europe? Are you kidding me?

The trouble with leaving a power vacuum like Iraq is that we may find that it has been filled with people who we will have to go kick out of Iraq anyway, for the same reasons that we went into Iraq the 2nd time.

In addition, pulling out of Iraq does nothing to advance the war on terror. Bluffing to get other nations involved in Iraq does nothing to advance the war on terror. Killing insurgents benefits the war on terror, and what better place to do that than Iraq?

The time between announcing... (Below threshold)

The time between announcing we are going to leave and actually leaving could be long enough to transition security over to the free Iraqi forces. Nothing says that if you announce on February 1st you have to start pulling out in April.

What everyone else said.. ... (Below threshold)

What everyone else said.. plus:

It's been reported that the people who tried to overthrow Saddam after the 1991 war were bitterly dissappointed in us because we didn't support them. Subsequently they were destroyed, and it is said that now the Iraqis are skeptical that we will follow through. They don't want to commit to a risky position that is dependent on us, then see us take off again.

If we were to do what is suggested here, and have it play out that we leave, would any populace ever again trust the US for protection? What would be the worth of our word? Our diplomacy would have no credibility.

Couple that with (my belief) that success is a realistic outcome in the current situation, and my conclusion is that we must maintain our efforts and go for the W.

Great Britain has been o... (Below threshold)

Great Britain has been our only true friend on Iraq.

Why is Australia always overlooked? They have always stood by our side in every major conflict of the modern age.

I think Mayor Koch is voici... (Below threshold)

I think Mayor Koch is voicing some of the frustration that is begining to build in the American people. I doubt however that the President is even contemplating leaving Iraq under such conditions that amount to abandoment. Such an act would say "you know, our vital national interest are not at stake here." Not only would that be political suicide for the Republican Party I beleive President Bush is convinced that our vital national interests are at stake. If President Bush is the man of character and honor I beleive he is he will not simply walk away.
It is obvious these people very badly need to fight a civil war to settle things out. Mayor Koch is right in that intervening when we did to remove Hussein we are in the unhappy position of being guardian for these people. I think he is voicing what many of us feel in that the continuing casualties are about to put a limit on our patience. Many of us on the right look at our soldiers being tried and receivng prison sentences that will keep them in jail longer that these murdering terrorist. the jihadist will return to their home honored as jihadist. Our soldiers are not only in jail they are in virtual perpetual disgrace.
What Mayor Koch is voicing is frustration. He is not alone.

It's a great commentary by ... (Below threshold)

It's a great commentary by Koch but I agree that it's not realistic -- I now think that the mindset by nearly all of Europe is that, when and if things are really, really bad for them, they can always immigrate...to...NorthAmerica!

The general insurgency in Iraq (not understating the problem, however) has now spilled over into cultures throughout Europe but being the Europeans that they are, it appears that they'll continue to ignore the problem in lieu of promoting pretty things and avoiding discussing certain other things.

No one wants to come right out and say 'this is that and that is this' and instead the negative focus is on the United States as scapegoat for many European concerns. Europe needs a democracy in Iraq but I don't get the impression (could be wrong, I realize) that Iraq is able to withstand European pressures to go-the-backsliding-way, just because it's what Europe promoted and is still by deflection of dealing with any forthright means about the problems there, before the U.S., thanks to President Bush, took initiative with the U.K.'s help and other countries (Japan, Australia and others, thank you).

A too-sudden U.S. withdrawal from Iraq would result in, I fear, a too-easily retrograded Iraq. That, and probably fuel more ridiculous statements in the U.S. Senate by Biden, Boxer and Kerry and bad movies by Oliver Stone.

my first response to the id... (Below threshold)
tee bee:

my first response to the idea of pulling out quickly was, "gee that's a bad idea." they won't have gathered strength, organized themselves and prepared for the inevitable ongoing fight against internal factions and external support of those factions.

but if those are the stakes, how does a liberator help a country get on its feet? surely not by holding them up too long. this requires the right amount of support and weaning, and should be done relatively quickly - with full disclosure so those in charge of Iraq do what they need to in order to protect their freedom and peace, and can soberly prepare for the severe fight they face in the years to come.

removal of 60 to 80% of our forces in six months, after a substantial period of training and hand-off of responsibility, then three months to remove the remaining troops. the White House will probably keep some sort of presence, but it should be minimal.

I think the key to success is shifting attention to Syria and Iran. they've been the seive leaking "insurgents" into Iraq, and have the strongest ties to Iraq's warring factions. let Iraq take care of itself while we move on to the sources of its ongoing problems, thereby relieving pressure within Iraq. it is probable that Iran and Syria would respond to our intentions/diplomacy if they knew that our forces in Iraq were leaving, and prepared to head their way.

Koch is a levelheaded and i... (Below threshold)

Koch is a levelheaded and intelligent man, but this is an impractical fantasy. Syria and Iran have already decided to commit troops to ensure the stability of the region. Unfortunately it's their own stability they're worried about, not Iraq's, and they think that stability is best ensured by crushing Iraq's democratic future and leaving it a failed country in a perpetual state of civil war.

This is our job, hard as it might be, and it's not done yet. Fortunately I think Bush knows that, and he and Rumsfeld show know signs of wavering. Now they should start making it clear that we're probably talking about staying 6-12 years, not 6-12 months.

Whether we stay or go shoul... (Below threshold)
Brad Ervin:

Whether we stay or go should be based on national interests but to just pull out satisfies a short term interest at the expence of our long term interests. The pullout from Vietnam was the same situation and we are still paying the diplomatic and relational costs. Do we really want to re-inforce our "cut and run" reputation?

Also, I think a lot of the angst felt by the public is a direct result of MSM biased reporting and not a rational response to actual facts. Most on-line reports from Iraq are worlds more optimistic than daily news reports.

Do we really want to hand the terrorists such an easy victory and decades of talking points?

As long as we're going to p... (Below threshold)

As long as we're going to play those kind of games, why not suggest that we are prepared to recognize the part of the country that is totally at peace as a sovereign nation if the rest of Iraq doesn't get its act together. Iran would have to decide if it has a bigger stake in promoting terrorism or stopping a free Republic of Kurdistan, the Sunni hotheads would have to decide if they want their country splintered and, with Koch's suggestion of continuing the no-fly zone, we'd have the democratic presence in the region that we want. (And since the Kurds are not monolithically Moslem, religious tolerance in the region to boot.)

I agree with most folks her... (Below threshold)

I agree with most folks here that creating a civil war is a bad idea and the bluff won't work. In particular, Iran will gladly step in to help the Sunni take a big piece of Iraq. And inviting other countries to help prevent the civil war just won't work. Most EUnuchistan countries are useless, weak-willed, and interested in failure in Iraq so that they can say, "We told you." [Consider Kosovo, where the EU couldn't seem to do anything until the US got involved. They aren't getting very far with Iran on nuclear weapons, either.] Egypt, Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia will gladly step into Iraq to make matters worse and send Americans home. They want a power vacuum.

Plan A in Iraq is still the best: Iraq becomes a model country for a newer Middle East where muslims can use their vast oil income to create an environment that has great opportunities for its people and radical, fundamentalist Islam is thoroughly discreditted. That requires vision, faith in people, and strength. That kind of help is in short supply.

If that doesn't work, there is always Plan B: arm the Kurds and bomb every Iranian military and government installation we can find to prevent them from invading Iraq, to prevent them from building WMD, and because we remember that they probably did help 9/11 terrorists. The Kurds and the Shia will exterminate the Sunni. Of course, they are mostly the ones causing the problem because they want to restore the old order where they (20% of the population) controlled the country. Since they aren't interested in a modern society where the rights of minorities are protected, then they can be the ones that get ethnically cleansed.

What about the "You broke it; you fix it rule?" Sorry, we tried. It just didn't work. Too bad. I propose this rule: "We expect a minimum standard of behavior. If you don't live by those rules, then we wreck your country." (Oh, by the way, in case you forgot: we have really good WMD.)

I'd say this conclusively d... (Below threshold)

I'd say this conclusively demonstrates that Ed Koch has no gift for foreign policy. The few states with enough meaningful power to affect the situation (that's Iran & Turkey--China and Russia can't project power and neither Syria nor Israel has enough capability they could make available on a "second front") would be quite willing to have us follow through on the threat.

The world would call our bluff. The other members of the "Big 5" would get a big bonus hit on their existing schadenfreude over our situation (along with much of Europe and most of the Middle East, Asia, and the Americas), the Turks would have carte blanche to resolve their "Kurdish problem", the Iranians would either set up a client state or annex outright most of southeastern Iraq (nearly to Baghdad), and our good friends in Al Qaeda would have much freer rein in Western Iraq to establish training camps.

I had a lot more respect for Scowcroft a few years back...either he's getting misquoted a lot or he's pining for a world system that hasn't existed since the fall of the Berlin Wall. There is no meaningful counterweight in the world system to the US--unless the lion lays down with the lamb all over the world (i.e., China with Russia, both with Japan, all three with the states of Europe, including what used to be the Warsaw Pact, India with Pakistan and China, etc.). Meaningful activity is (and will be for the near future) confined to that which the US is willing to support, since no one else has the power to do anything substantial about "rogue" states (outside tinpot despotism) or to coordinate the world's efforts against malignant non-state actors. Unless, of course, you count Monty Pythonesque "I pass wind in your general direction" as meaningful international action.

The Democrats would ... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:

The Democrats would portray this as Bush breaking his promise to be steadfast until the job is done, and for once they wouldn't be lying.

Hoch seems to want Iran to take over the Middle East. Insane.

Ed Koch paints a bleak pict... (Below threshold)

Ed Koch paints a bleak picture of the current situation in Iraq and a misestimation of Iraq's neighbors' intents. Where are his links? Evidence please.

Here is a more informed report and astute analysis of political and warfare strategy, putting today's Iraq in historical perspective by LTC Tim Ryan: Media's Coverage Has Distorted World's View of Iraqi Reality.

Excerpt: (in reference to the hotel-bound journalists in Iraq and the talking heads at home)

" So what are the credentials of these self proclaimed "experts"? The fact is that most of those on whom we rely for complete and factual accounts have little or no experience or education in counter-insurgency operations or in nation-building to support their assessments. How would they really know if things are going well or not? War is an ugly thing with many unexpected twists and turns. Who among them is qualified to say if this one is worse than any other at this point? What would they have said in early 1942 about our chances of winning World War II? Was it a lost cause too? How much have these "experts" studied warfare and counter-insurgencies in particular? Have they ever read Roger Trinquier's treatise Modern Warfare: A French View on Counter-insurgency (1956)? He is one of the few French military guys who got it right. The Algerian insurgency of the 1950s and the Iraq insurgency have many similarities. What about Napoleon's campaigns in Sardinia in 1805-07? Again, there are a lot of similarities to this campaign. Have they studied that and contrasted the strategies? Or, have they even read Mao Zedung's theories on insurgencies, or Nygen Giap's, or maybe Che' Gueverra's? Have they seen any of Sun Tzu's work lately? …."

"… Also bothersome are references by "experts" on how "long" this war is taking. I've read that in the world of manufacturing, you can have only two of the following three qualities when developing a product — cheap, fast or good. You can produce something cheap and fast, but it won't be good; good and fast, but it won't be cheap; good and cheap, but it won't be fast. In this case, we want the result to be good and we want it at the lowest cost in human lives. Given this set of conditions, one can expect this war is to take a while, and rightfully so. Creating a democracy in Iraq not only will require a change in the political system, but the economic system as well. Study of examples of similar socio-economic changes that took place in countries like Chile, Bulgaria, Serbia, Russia and other countries with oppressive Socialist dictatorships shows that it took seven to ten years to move those countries to where they are now. There are many lessons to be learned from these transformations, the most important of which is that change doesn't come easily, even without an insurgency going on. Maybe the experts should take a look at all of the work that has gone into stabilizing Bosnia-Herzegovina over the last 10 years. We are just at the 20-month mark in Iraq, a place far more oppressive than Bosnia ever was. If previous examples are any comparison, there will be no quick solutions here, but that should be no surprise to an analyst who has done his or her homework."


Koch thinks that the impera... (Below threshold)

Koch thinks that the imperative of self-preservation will prompt Europe to step up to the plate, but all the evidence so far is that Europe is suicidal. It is dominated by greens who think that mankind is killing the Earth and that humanity needs to be taken down several notches, especially in "the rich countries." That causes Europe to hate America more than it loves itself. Any reliance on these psychopaths is strictly untenable.

Don't get me wrong, I like ... (Below threshold)

Don't get me wrong, I like Ed. But more and more his "commentary" seems like notes written by the dotty aunt up in the attic serving tea to Walter Cronkite.

Several of the Iraqi blogge... (Below threshold)

Several of the Iraqi bloggers say the surrounding countries are actively supporting the insurgency because they do not want a democratic Iraq in their midst. It might force the surrounding dictatorships to begin loosenng their holds on their own people.

It would be a HUGE mistake to pull out before the country is stable.

Zuke,Who gives a c... (Below threshold)


Who gives a crap what the Kerry folks scream. THEY LOST!!

AMERICA ARE JEALOUS OF IRAQ... (Below threshold)







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