Monday, December 26, 2005

Thoughts on Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)

The US is already planning on drawing down forces in Iraq from 150,000 before the election to 92,000 - 100,000. I dubbed this tactic "trim-and-mosey" instead of "cut-and-run." This should come as no surprise to people who have been listening to the DoD and White House. It should also not come as a surprise that the Coalition in Iraq dropped from 69 nations to 26, and there will be less by the end of this year

How could the US redeploy from Iraq faster than the present timetable?

It could be done if we turned to Arab and Muslim states to act as peacekeepers. If we had 20,000 - 40,000, US forces could draw down. There would be less incentive to attack US forces if it was seen we were leaving the country, and the Muslim nation coalition would have their "skin in the game" to keep the place in peace.

Here's the Hypothetical Scenario: "Cut-and-Run."

You'll note that the plan actually carries out to 2007, so it's not precisely "cut-and-run." However, it has an aggressive draw-down plan -- taking US forces in Iraq down to 40,000 in 3 months -- and requires a ramp-up plan similar to the UN missions in other nations. Tens of thousands of troops deployed in three months.

Everyone sees that we cannot leave Iraq in the lurch at this point. I took what I think is a unique view to involve and incent all of Iraq's regional neighbors to participate in peacekeeping, and to keep them from turning Iraq into a chessboard for prosecution of clandestine warfare and terrorism against different factions.

How do we get Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Syria, and even Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan all pulling for the unity of Iraq? So long as this is seen as a US puppet government, there will be disgruntlement.

Alas, I have a feeling it's not going to happen this way. People want this to be an ugly mess, and so it'll likely to continue with the death of 2-3 US casualties a day, and about 10-20 wounded per day.

A lot of our strategy should depend on what we call victory, and what we call failure. Dean said that the US already lost in Iraq. In a way, he is right, and in a way, those who say we are winning the war in Iraq are correct. It all depends on how "winning" is defined, and thusly, I decided to come up with a rather detailed definition of our "wins" and "losses." I will also state that some of these "wins" and "losses" are only as concrete as the last headline. So there can still be massive shifts.

Have we fully considered What's at Stake? Our budget is heading to a national debt of $10 trillion by 2010. Certainly there was a lot of global goodwill lost.

Since writing these articles, I have noted that the White House is announcing more troop deployments to Iraq cancelled, and also the recall of units from Iraq. We'll see how far and how fast this progresses.

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