Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm BACK...again.

Well, I guess I ruined my New Year's resolution of posting once per day.

I'm not kidding around this time, I'm going to blog as regularly as I can. Maybe, just maybe, one day I'll get a reader and it will all be worth it. My first post will be about Iraq.

Nancy Pelosi says that Iraq isn't a war: "If it were a war, we could win it by killing people and blowing stuff up. While security problems necessarily involve the occasional application of force, the dominant difficulties in Iraq simply aren't force-on-force problems. The remaining problems are sociopolitical. No amount of firepower is going to resolve the intractable conflicts of interest between the Shiites and the Sunnis, or between various subgroups. No US troop level will convince the rival Iraqi factions that pluralism is better than asserting their own interests. They'll either find it in their interest to moderate. . .or they won't."

That sure is a pretty and logical sounding sound-bite. She is right that we are past the phase of force-on-force problems. Now, we have the problem of building up the Iraq infrastructure - meaning the Iraqi military and police - so that they can deal with thier own problems. I think we have a responsibility to do that now. We broke it, so we have to fix it. In hindsight, it was a bad idea to disband the Iraqi military. But, now we have to build it again. We have to train them, we have to support them and we have to give them a chance to establish themselves with personnel, equipment, policies, procedures and everything else that makes a military. We can't just grab a bunch of guys off the street, slap some boots on them and hope it turns out okay. The middle-east is dangerous and there are far stronger militaries in the area. How long before Iran would invade if we pulled out without leaving a real Iraqi military behind?

She is also right that no amount of firepower is going to resolve the differences of the Shia and Sunni and the bad things that happen because of it. That will take police work. We also have to help Iraq develop a police force - along the same lines. Police work under a democracy is far different and more restrictive than police work under a dictatorship. In the old days, they just threatened, tortured and/or killed people to solve crimes, then disposed of the criminal. Now, there are civil protections, real courts and real freedoms to protect.

Until those two major tasks are accomplished, we need an occupation force.

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