May 10, 2007


Plan B For Iraq: Winning Dirty (Mort Kondracke, 5/10/07, Real Clear Politics)

The 80 percent alternative involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious.

No one has publicly advocated this Plan B, and I know of only one Member of Congress who backs it - and he wants to stay anonymous. But he argues persuasively that it's the best alternative available if Bush's surge fails. Winning will be dirty because it will allow the Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and some Shiite militias to decimate the Sunni insurgency. There likely will be ethnic cleansing, atrocities against civilians and massive refugee flows.
On the other hand, as Bush's critics point out, bloody civil war is the reality in Iraq right now. U.S. troops are standing in the middle of it and so far cannot stop either Shiites from killing Sunnis or Sunnis from killing Shiites.

Winning dirty would involve taking sides in the civil war - backing the Shiite-dominated elected government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and ensuring that he and his allies prevail over both the Sunni insurgency and his Shiite adversary Muqtada al-Sadr, who's now Iran's candidate to rule Iraq.

At some point you have to stop opposing the best interests of your allies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 10, 2007 1:24 PM

We're not going to do this. Rather, we're going to give the Iraqis "benchmarks" that we know that they won't agree to (such as re-Baathification) and when they reject them, we're going to leave. Probably at first we'll leave some troops in Kurdistan, and leave the Sunnis & moderate Shiites elsewhere to be slaughtered, but after a few attacks there we'll leave the Kurds to their fate as well.

Posted by: b at May 10, 2007 2:32 PM

b's plan is basically my "well thoughtout stragegy". Leave.

Oh and yeah ...the benchmarks etc would be a nice touch.

Posted by: h-man at May 10, 2007 3:34 PM

At one point, we would have been willing to leave as soon as the Shia and Kurds were able to defend themselves against a Sunni coup attempt. The Sunni were too stupid and vicious to settle for that eminently reasonable outcome. So we raised the bar: we would leave when the Shia and Kurds, acting in concert, were able to annihilate the Sunni. Who remained appallingly stupid and vicious.

Now the implicit standard is that we leave when the Shia, without active Kurd support, are able to annihilate the Sunni. Que sera.

Posted by: ghostcat at May 10, 2007 3:40 PM

Good grief, that wasn't my "plan"--that was simply a prediction about what's going to happen. In retrospect, my plan for security would have been to withdraw from Iraq via Syria in mid-2003, along with saturation bombings in Iran to devastate their military and nuke capabilities, but I have no serious objections with the choices that were made based on the information & consensus that was then available.

Given the situation today, it's going to take another massive terror attack to reinvigorate the popular will to do anything, so my "plan" would be not to get killed when it comes.

Posted by: b at May 10, 2007 3:57 PM

"Good grief"

Well, Excuuuussse me.

Actually it's my "A" plan. I don't have a "B" plan.

Posted by: h-man at May 10, 2007 4:06 PM

Victory is achieving our objectives. Which have never included conquering Iraq.

Posted by: ghostcat at May 10, 2007 4:17 PM

It remains obvious that something like the above "plan B" had been inevitable. The history of the region makes this plain, and the sickness of the dying jailhose makes it immediate. If Shrub hadn't seen this coming, he was a stupid as the Democrat say, and his policy as much of a "failure" as the MSM makes out.

But if this result has been achieved by calculation, while maintaining plausible deniablity, then we are living through an historic brilliancy.

When the plan B variant has been executed, we shall have not only taken down the major regional power at trivial cost, but shall also have convicted the spiritual jailhouse of its contradictions and hastened its reformation.

Posted by: Lou Gots at May 10, 2007 5:40 PM

A brilliant result is a brilliant result. The omelet could not exist but for broken eggs.

Posted by: ghostcat at May 10, 2007 6:37 PM

b, And the abandonment of the Kurds (not that likely to happen, but I'll play along) will not happen until at least a year after Hillary is elected.

Otherwise, that is the "endgame," and I expect Bush will have a Presidency-defining speech to give right around Sep. 11 to describe said endgame.

Pat yourself on the back again, OJ.

Posted by: Brad S at May 10, 2007 6:39 PM

Inevitability, eh? - I have often wondered about the destruction of the Golden Dome (the seeming trigger to the sectarian "violence". Did the Shi'a protect it enough? Had it been publicly threatened by AQ or any other Sunni? Who controlled the access? Why haven't 'the media' done any research into the story? They (particularly the AP) certainly put enough effort into trying to identify Capt. Hussein, their source for all of Baghdad and parts beyond.

Democracy is a fine objective, but one of its features is that when a minority violently refuses to accept the parameters, an ugly correction follows.

I can't speak to Bush's long-term plan - I doubt if he wanted to unleash a civil war - but it is much better for Iraq to be "broken" than to be a killing machine, pointed outwards.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 10, 2007 10:20 PM

Why haven't the media covered the golden story more? Maybe it has something to do with the rate that journalists in Iraq are murdered by the US military.
It is more than a minority opposing our interests in Iraq, and it is not democracy that we are trying to give them. And the word "correction" is just a little bit euphemistic
Iraq never was going to become a killing machine pointed outwards; haven't we gone through this already?
I hope I'm not the first person to break the news to you, but some of those things Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld/Rice said before the war weren't exactly true.

Posted by: gupta at May 10, 2007 10:53 PM

Ooooh - an Eason Jordan man! He quit because he had no proof - where's yours?

What, exactly, are our "interests" in Iraq?

1 million Iranians would take issue with your historical error. As would 300,000 to 400,000 Iraqis.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 10, 2007 11:05 PM

Very few of them were true. But you have to give the crowd red meat even when all you're about is liberation. No Pearl Harbor, nor regime change in Germany.

Posted by: oj at May 11, 2007 5:22 AM

Gup, our military isn't doing a very good job murdering journalists because there are still so gal-darned many of them extant.

Posted by: erp at May 11, 2007 3:56 PM