In a November 6, 2006, memo by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, "Iraq — Illustrative New Courses of Action," he provides a range of options that could contribute to a "major readjustment" in United States policy. Two of his "above the line" proposals (that is to say, attractive ones) directly bear on my idea of removing the forces from inhabited areas, but not from the theater:
Position substantial U.S. forces near the Iranian and Syrian borders to reduce infiltration and, importantly, reduce Iranian influence on the Iraqi Government.
Withdraw U.S. forces from vulnerable positions — cities, patrolling, etc. — and move U.S. forces to a Quick Reaction Force (QRF) status, operating from within Iraq and Kuwait, to be available when Iraqi security forces need assistance.
Comment: One wonders why this obvious path has not been tried earlier. (December 3, 2006)
Dec. 4, 2006 update: According to national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, Bush is considering a "laundry list of ideas" from Rumsfeld's Nov. 6 memo.