Frederick W. Kagan has an opinion column in the Washington Post today that tries to be right, but is way off base.
Essentially he’s saying that we created the Iraq we have today and we have to fix it and anyone who says differently is immoral etc. He has a point, but it’s the way he says it. Up until just very recently Iraq has been assured by the Bush administration that we are behind them 100%. The President however is living in reality. In 2008 he’s going to be gone and there are a ton of people who do not want us to support Iraq, including Iraqis.
Yes we are an “occupying force” and so we are in charge of security, but at the same time we know that in 10 years we should not be in charge of internal security. The best way to accomplish that task is to train, train, train and test the Iraqi forces while we’re still there.
Rumsfield et al are hinting at leaving because the Iraqis need to realize that 2008 is coming up quick.
It’s been coming for a long time: the idea that fixing Iraq is the Iraqis’ problem, not ours — that we’ve done all we can and now it’s up to them.
Such arguments have been latent in the Bush administration’s Iraq strategy and explicit in Democratic critiques of that strategy for some time. Now Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has declared: “It’s their country. . . . They’re going to have to govern it, they’re going to have to provide security for it, and they’re going to have to do it sooner rather than later.”
The implication of these arguments is clear: The United States should prepare to leave Iraq, after which the Iraqis will work out their own troubles — or they won’t. In any event, we can no longer help them. This notion is wrong and morally contemptible, and it endangers American security around the world.
The notion he has is over the top and is putting words in the administrations mouth. The Iraqis WANT to govern/take care of themselves. It would be great to get a base in Iraq out of this and it may well happen, but that’s not the goal.
Democratic governments exists by the people. Many of the ‘we the people’ in the US are done with Iraq. Iraq needs to realize what that can mean, morally contemptible or not. Many of the ‘we the people’ in Iraq are done with having us there. Civil war or not life in Iraq is not going to continue exactly as it is now for 10 years or even 5 years. The administration is putting that thought out there because it’s based in reality.
And look who’s working to assert their authority. Yes, it’s the Iraqi government. As with any fledgling project as one point the teacher has to back off and let the teachee take charge. These are steps in the right direction and we should applaud them.