Nov 26 2006
US soldiers carry an American flag as they unfurl their division's new colors during a handover ceremony from the 4th Infantry Division to the 1st Cavalry Division at a US military base in Baghdad, 15 November 2006. The US involvement in Iraq will pass another sad milestone on Sunday, when it overtakes the length of America's engagement in World War II.(AFP/File/David Furst)
(AFP/File/David Furst)
The Pentagon has done a review of iraq policy and has come up with three options: 1) Deploy more troops 2) Reduce the number of troops and stay longer 3)Pull out. The Washington post said a Pentagon official referred to the options as "Go Big, go long, and go home."

The Iraq Study Group should announce their plan before the end of the year.

   Options...
Children play at the Imam Ali Shrine in Shiite holy city of Najaf, Iraq , Saturday, Nov. 25, 2006. Najaf is home of radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr whose followers have threatened to boycott parliament and the Cabinet if Iraq's Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki goes ahead with the meeting with President Bush in Jordan next week. 
AP via Yahoo! News
(AP via Yahoo! News )
Ordinarily, I would think asking for options in the midst of a war is stupid to put it mildly. Think about it.

We learned in Vietnam, when you fight, you fight to win. If you don't, why do it? The suffering, the pain, the heartbreak?

Iraq is broken, so we have to put "heads" together and try to figure our way out of the quagmire. The Iraq war has become a tangled mess because of complicity and incompetence.

We can not fix Iraq, so my interest lies with Americans who are caught in in the "crosshairs" of this tangled mess. In Iraq, like in all of the Middle East, "tangled" is by far the best term. Nothing is as it seems. As someone has said, commitments are made, then broken, while conditions on the ground shift like the desert sands.

A story about a young Captain who commands an MP (military police) company in one of the districts of Baghdad is a good example of the difficult conditions on the ground. Her grandfather was in WW II, her dad in Vietnam, and here she is in Iraq.

The young captain came to the assignment full of enthusiasm, ready to use her training to teach the local police how to investigate crime and to do general policing work. But what has happened is that the Iraqi Police are under siege from bombings, mortar fire, gun fire, and kidnappings from armed militia. The Iraqi police need to be trained to fight and to protect, in other words, be infantrymen. But the local policemen have no supplies, not even body armor. Our young Captain does not even have a chance to do her job.

So, what does the young captain do? She does what Vietnam vets learned in Vietnam. Quickly, in the Nam, we sized up the war and realized that we were in a "no win" zone. We fought, took the high ground; and, then the next day, we left it and the enemy moved back in. How stupid was that?

We did like the young captain in Iraq is doing now. We protected our men, we dedicated ourselves to getting out of the situation alive. Forget issues of training like helping and leaving something behind better than when you found it. No way, get the hell out. It is where we are now in Iraq. Let's get the hell out.

How to do it is the issue. Deploy more troops? Reduce the number of troops and stay longer? Pull out?

My suggestion(as I have stated before) is get the conventional troops out of Iraq and leave 30-50,000 Special Ops troops including the CIA trained (think Afghanistan) . Give them all the fire power that they need to protect themselves. Make them advisers to the police and the military, reduce our physical presence, and prepare for a complete withdrawal.

What we do not have in Iraq is a possibility for a long term commitment. Based on a fanatical approach to Islam, foreign troops have to go. We are looking at somewhat of an "Iranian" Iraq, a theocracy ruled by the Shiite majority.

Will the violence be quelled? Who knows? Eventually, it will, I think. At this point, we have to admit, as my bud, Henry Kissinger says a military victory is impossible(AP) . Is this so bad? Simply, we made a bad choice.

To put the best spin on it, we can say, Iraq was a grand experiment that went to hell. Next case. KT




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