There are two big problems in Iraq: no security and no economy. We don't have the troops to supply security in the short run and Iraqi troops won't do the job. That's why people join and support militias.

We should sponsor strictly local defensive militias. Let locals lead them but we would pay them. If they leave their area of attack other groups (or us) we stop their pay and smash them.

Every Iraqi who wants to work should have a local job, in his own neighborhood, protected by his neighbors in his neighborhood militia. Making Iraq a giant welfare state, or rather putting all the Iraqis on our payroll, might be the only way to save it. The direction and purpose of the work should be purely local and purely for Iraq - fixing streets and sewers, etc. That might help take the sting our of getting paid by the Americans.

Yet another idea that could have worked once. Could it still?


  1. Anonymous9:49 PM

    Bush#2 is not going to change his way. It's his way or the highway. This is burn in rocks embedded in his body. His is a born-again on God's mission to convert the Middle East. Under no circumstances is he going to let Bush#1 seniors overturn his entire foreign and military policies, which is what the ISG in effect is recommending. Negotiating with his Axis of Evil without them kneeling before him is worse than going to hell. So if the Iraqi prefer to have a civil war instead of taking his offer of salvation (under the cover of democracy), well that's their problem. As for the terrorists, it war to the bitter end. If Iran and Syria interfere too much, its war with them too. In his mind, this is total holy war.
    It is not hard to notice that all the hoopla about the Iraq mission 'not succeeding' is somebody else talk as far as Bush#2 is concern. 100,000 Iraqi deaths? Not his problem. 4000 US deaths? It's worth dying for. The holy mission must succeed at all costs, in his mind that is. The is no point proposing rational strategies. No point suggesting diplomatic campaign. Bush#2 has never conducted diplomacy and he not going to start now.
    Would a Napoleon save himself when stuck in Moscow? Would Hitler recognize his strategy at Leningrad failing and withdraw to save 100,000 lives? Would a LBJ withdraw from Vietnam because suddenly he sees reality? Of course not. It takes somebody else to reverse course. Bush#2 will stay with his mission his way for the next two years.

  2. I am afraid with the current situation in Iraq and the mood in US and EU, the only realistic option is to
    i) withdraw from Iraq slowly and hand it over to Iran and Syria.
    ii) allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons
    iii) withdraw NATO from Afghanistan while it is possible (and let the Taliban back as slowly as possible)
    iv) acknowledge that we are Gen-X and not The Greatest Generation
    v) blame it all on Israel

  3. Wolfgang (whose blogs seem to wink in and out of existence, perhaps like Kaluza-Klein modes),

    Do I sense a bit of sarcasm in your reply?

    Despite having myself been a draftee into one fool's errand war, and having had friends and and classmates killed and crippled in it, I have never had any delusions about being a member of a "great" generation. We were, if anything, a generation sacrificed to stupidity. I deeply resent that the same thing is happening to my children's generation.

    I don't see any point in withdrawing slowly from Iraq, or to withdrawing from Afghanistan at all.

    As to blame, let's not try to muddy the waters. The troubles in the Middle East have a long history and many sources in it, but the blame for the Iraqi fiasco belongs purely to George Bush. All the other villians and fools in this play were his minions or appointees.

    Finally, I expect that Iran may eventually get the bomb, one way or the other. If not Iran, then Egypt, or Saudi Arabia, or Sudan. The technology to make an atomic bomb is now 60 years old. It's simply no longer that difficult. Moreover, any attempt by the US to deny everybody that technology by force would be opposed by those with the most to lose - especially China, Russia, and Pakistan, all of whom have their own nukes.

    What little hope their is of preventing it is not in establishing a new colonial empire throughout the Middle East. It is in convincing those nations that they can be safer without nuclear weapons than with them.

  4. Anonymous7:17 PM

    First, my apology for all the typos in my first comment. And Leningrad should be Stalingrad. Typed too fast.

    If you get the impression I'm against going into Iraq, I am not, even though I was convinced that WMD was a thinly disguised cover.

    But I expect the approach could be much more like Bush#1 - superb diplomacy before going in, wide support, wait for the UN WMD inspector report, strong execution, above all RATIONAL PLANNING with the interests of affected parties understood and dealt with. This way, not finding WMD would not be much of a problem. The post war effort not only will be somewhat smoother, but US will receive the help of regional parties should insurgency gets out of hand. For example, the awfully stupid decision to disband both the Iraqi government apparatus and the military just after the initial action would be subject to council by coalition as true partners with legal approval by the UN. And therefore will not happen the way it did, but delayed with a planned transition implementation.

    In short, Bush#2 team is 100% responsible for creating the current situation. It didn't have to be this way. It certainly did not for post WW2 Germany & Japan because US actions were much wiser even though the situation (especially fractured Germany) was even more complicated. The Berlin airlift bought the hearts of a defeated people. It is unthinkable that Bush#2 will do Berlin airlift for Iraq. Deep down he didn't care about these Islamic people. He made sure US business and contractors made a lot of money.

    My thesis: This is the result more than a 'go it alone' attitude - which can be reversed. This is Bush#2 holy war and he is in for his place in history. The interests of the US and its friends and allies are secondary. The interests of Iraq is off the table. Occupying an office that's regarded to be a leader of the free world, he is done immeasurable short and long term damage to both the material and reputation of the US of A.


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