Iraq Rx: What Would Bummer Do?
Update: The leaked Rumsfeld memo (don't get me started as to why that is somehow "OK") seems to be compatible with Bummer's Rx. Oops, gotta run, the red "Langley" phone is ringing....)
1. As pointed out here at S&C, since invasion time, a post-war unified Iraq was a "Nice if you can get it" item, but it was not central to the Wolfowitz Plan.
2. The existence of a viable, democratic zone in and about the Iraq theatre, protected by the US military for the long haul, is central to the Wolfowitz Plan.
3. Bummer's Rx: The US should pick several areas in Iraq for the establishment of large US-protected zones. Preferably, these zone(s) would have the following features:
a. Remote from centers of sectarian war. That is, not Baghdad.
b. Suitable for long-term demographic growth.
c. Tactically situated for military and civilian flight operations.
d. Specifically selected for total control of the ingress/egress. That is, behind the walls, sits all that the West has to offer. Safety, prosperity, life/liberty/pursuit, etc. No spoilers or suicide bombers are allowed through the gates.
e. Let these towns grow over the next few decades. They become the cairn - the lighthouse - for a region in chaos. Like Western Europe as the beacon to those behind the Iron Curtain, the lighthouse refutes (over a generation or two) the Big Lie(s) propagated by despotic regimes.
4. Perhaps one in Kurdland (they'd like it), several in the western desert and southern deserts- i.e., at H3 - and, the most tricky, one or two in the south (at the Gulf) and east (bordering Iran).
5. Keep the troops deployed in Iraq for another year or so (or less, if appropriate), until these stronghold bases are established. Then, withdraw into the bases. Iraq will further slip into chaos. So be it:
There are two strategically satisfactory outcomes in Iraq that are so politically incorrect that they cannot even be hinted at in public, but they may get fleshed now as pragmatism seeps into the debate. The first non-PC yet satisfactory outcome centers around the reality that, A Unified Iraq Is Not a Primary Goal:
"So if we’re going to get all practical, let’s be practical. A unified Iraq is a four-run homer, accelerating the Mideast peace process by years. But a one-run homer is all we need, and perhaps all we can afford. To wit: A balkanized Iraq with two working democratic zones, territories or countries (Kurdistan; Shia’stan) satisfies the basic strategic objectives of the [Wolfowitz] Plan."
The second non-PC yet satisfactory outcome recognizes this: Regional Mideast civil wars, involving democracy movements, are an improvement over the status quo and a likely step in the generational struggle that awaits the Mideast. (Hey, the US, European, Central and South American democracy movements were all marked by generations of rebellion and civil war; why should we somehow expect the Mideast be exempt?)
Of course, Bush didn't detail the ugly realities of war in his casus belli - no Western leader ever does. Roosevelt didn't; Lincoln didn't; Churchill didn't.