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    10 November 2006

    Stay or Leave? Are there any options that will work in Iraq?

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    According an AEI scholar, no. At least none will come from the Iraq Study Group, of which Robert Gates (Sec. of Def. hopeful) is a member of.
    As will soon be apparent, the Iraq Survey Group [???], of which Mr. Gates is a member and to which I'm an adviser, has not discovered any way for the U.S. to exit Iraq -- except under catastrophic conditions. Its recommendations will probably be the least helpful of all the blue-ribbon commissions in Washington since World War II because it cannot escape from an unavoidable reality: We either declare defeat and withdraw completely tout de suite, or we surge troops into Baghdad and fight. The ISG will surely try to find some middle ground between these positions, which, of course, doesn't exist.

    If one works through the different scenarios, they all return quickly to a Rumsfeldian position that the U.S. needs to do more in Iraq with less -- a position that has been proven flatly wrong since the spring of 2003. This is why Washington has not been able to draw down even though the president, his defense secretary and his generals have dearly wanted to do so. Any meaningful reduction of U.S. forces is very likely to collapse the Iraqi Army into Shiite and Sunni militias and bring on massive carnage, the likes of which the Middle East has not seen since the Iran-Iraq War. If Mr. Gates signs off on the ISG's recommendations, which will probably be completed before he assumes office, he will be party to a doomed strategy -- and everyone in Washington and abroad will recognize it as a failure as soon as they start to work through it -- before he even sets foot in the Pentagon. It may not be easy for Mr. Gates to recover from this initial flop.

    However, when the ISG bombs, the Bush administration may finally get serious about correcting its mistakes in Iraq. It's a decent bet that when this happens, America's military officers may start to miss Donald Rumsfeld. He was the best cover any failing general could ever have.

    Again with the blaming of the generals... sigh.

    Of course this guy may be faking his scholar status. No I'm not attacking AEI and neoconism; that's too easy. He says he's an adviser to the "Iraq Survey Group". That group was last heard from in 2004 when it concluded that the WMD stuff we were fed about Iraq and Saddam was either hype or BS and that it wasn't simply moved to Syria.

    Note to Reuel Marc Gerecht, your on the Iraq Study Group. They've been wondering where you are, and David Kay and Charles Duelfer would like you to quit calling.

    Posted by Geoff

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