Iraq: The Reality Kobayashi Muru
In keeping with tradition, the news out of Iraq has not been great with several American generals as well as the outgoing British ambassador all sharing a rather pessimistic outlook on the situation. There seems to be an emerging consensus that Iraq is entering into a critical phase one in which the possibilities of a full blown Civil War seems to be near the top of likely scenarios. Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, told the Senate Armed Services Committee "Iraq could move toward civil war" if the violence is not contained,and that "I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I have seen it". The US has also come under attack from members of the Iraqi government who think that a big part of the problem is that the US "won't let them get the job done" i.e. a counter insurgency mounted Saddam style and that we are just holding them back from all the torture and brutality needed to "get things done right", which once again makes me proud to be an American where we only dabble in torture.
What to do, what to do. It does all feel alot like the Kobayashi Meru no win scenario from Star Trek II(am I making a Star Trek reference because I am geek, no way, rather I am doing it because I am pretty sure much of the Iraqi insurgency is unfamiliar with the Wraith of Khan and I don't want them to be "in the know"),
If we leave Iraq in chaos, all of this would have been for nothing, sure Saddam was removed, but big deal, removing a dictator is only a victory if what replaces him is an improvement and in the long term that remains to be seen, I certainly hope the moderates and proponents of Democracy in Iraq prevail, but at this point I wouldn't put my 401k in it.
If we stay in Iraq, we serve as a rallying point for the radicals and are highly visible targets. Perhaps we are simply wood for the fire.
I guess the best we can hope for is that we provide enough short term security until the Iraqis are able to formulate their own vision of the future, one with any luck inspired by atleast some of the values we tried to cut and paste on to them. God knows the insurgency doesn't really offer up a real alternative, so what we need is a Iraqi uniter with a clear and resonating message that transcends sectarian lines. I hope that person is out there and I hope they are not alone.