Thursday, December 07, 2006

Victory Strategy

Now that the Iraq Study Committee has announced a strategy that has only a minute chance of success (in contrast to the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld strategy that has zero chance of success), the usual suspects are all over the tube wondering why a power that was able to play a key role in defeating Japan and Germany can't win against a two-bit insurgency. The answer is that we can win, not at all easily, if we are willing to make a World War II type committment.

That means putting the country on a war footing. Expand the military by 500,000 to 1,000,000. This would require a draft, or, preferably, large pay increases - say a 50% increase with double pay for combat tours. Double the taxes on high incomes (the rate was 91% in WW II). Equip and train an army for counterinsurgency, including replacing all the up-armored Humvees with armored V-bottorm vehicles. Make sure every soldier deployed to Iraq has at least eight weeks of counterinsurgency and language skills training.

Tell the Iraqis that they have sixth months to establish order, after which we will begin our "do over." If it comes to that, replace the elected government with a miltary governor. Ruthlessly suppress all militias. Give every Iraqi a local job and an income. Get the para-military contractors out of Iraq. Organize security on a block by block and village by village basis.

Sacrifices at home would be required. Luxury taxes. Quotas. A gasoline tax.

It's easy to talk about having the will for victory, but that will is a won't without the willingness to make the real and serious sacrifices concerned. I don't think we do have that will, and I doubt that we should undertake such a project. On the other hand, things are now at such a sorry pass that regardless of what we do we might be sucked into just such a war. Some combination of diplomacy and threat is probably the only alternative.

I think we need to try those ISG type recommendations, and if they fail, get the heck out, hope for the best, and prepare for a real war that may well come.