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Prudent Policy Options
Published on May 13, 2005 By Bahu Virupaksha In Politics
The much talked about elections have happened, a new Iraqi Government in in place and the car bombs are going off at the rater of 300 a month. The American media, with its gaggle of embedded journalists have avoided commenting on one major development:the insurgency in Iraq, rather than winding down, as antticipaated has begun to carreen out of control. It is showing more maturity, seleting potentially vital targets and is also succeding in keeping the American troops at the forefront. The Iraqis are hardly in a position to secure their own country. Every American convoy is accompanied by a small detachment of Iraqi personnel who remein at best by standers in the whole operation. The new government set up by the Occupying forces lacks legitimacy and hence the insurgency is going from bad to worse. In the past week or so neARLY 257 PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED IN CAR BOMB EXPLOSIONS IN bAGDAD ALONE. With a record like this it would be impossible for the present Administration to continue in Iraq. An exit policy is called for, before the war becomes an issue in domestic politics, as in the case of the Vietnam War.

The USA has at its disposal only three options at the operational and strategic leve. First, continue with the present policy and hope that the Iraqis would eventually be in a position to secure American interests there. Second, abandon the task of so called nation building and deploy its troops where it matters most, the oil wells and as lonng as the weels keep pumping there is no need to worry about the security in the rest of the country. Third, disengage from Iraq in the most prudent and honorable manner without the trauma of helicopter exits, as in the case of Saigon, to sour the plans. Let us examine each of these options. There is no fourty way as far as Iraq is concerned.

The first option is not working because the Irai security forces are not ready for the task and the insurgents have mounted a massive attack on Iraqis attempting to sign up in the New Iraqi Army. The US troops would have to contiue the burden and the present rate of military casalities cannot be sustained for long. Already uncomfortable questions are coming up and much of the resentment against the war in domestic political circles is not organised and still scattered. The second option of securing the oil wells and letting go of the rest of the country is a viable proposition, but it would result in damaging US credibility beyond repair. It would only confirm what we have always suspected that the WMD was only a smokescreen to divert attention. It is however the only worthwhile option for the USA as it cannot fight a desert war. Unlike Rommel and Montgomery, the US commanders rely more on fire power than strategy.

The last option is disengagement with honour. The neo conservative thinker, Edward Luttwak is advocating just that. No one who is familiar with Luttwak's earkier work such as the Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire and other important books on military strategy can ac use him of being a bleeding heart liberal. He is a hard nosed realist and deserves to be taken seriously. In an article published in the January/Febuary issue of Foreign Affairs, Luttwak has clearly demonstrated that American oppupation of Iraq is now counter productive I quote Dr Luttwak: Given the bitter Muslim hostility to the presence of U S troops--labelled Christian Crusaders--by the preachers, their continued deployment in large numbers can only undermine the legitimacy of any US sponsored Iraqi government.

It is the wisdom of a neo conservative strategist that will lead to peace in Iraq.

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