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Sounds Good To Me

Reader comment on item: In Iraq, Stay the Course - but Change It

Submitted by John R (United States), Oct 26, 2006 at 14:36

My solution splits the difference, "Stay the course – but change the course." I suggest pulling coalition forces out of the inhabited areas of Iraq and redeploying them to the desert.

If you had sent them a letter, they might have snapped that suggestion up for what they see as a knotty problem.

This way, the troops remain indefinitely in Iraq, but remote from the urban carnage. It permits the American-led troops to carry out essential tasks (protecting borders, keeping the oil and gas flowing, ensuring that no Saddam-like monster takes power) while ending their non-essential work (maintaining street-level order, guarding their own barracks).

We leave, Iraq might return to what it was before with Sadaam. We stay, more violence occurs. There are critics on both sides. The solution to this conundrum may just exactly be what you say.

Beyond these specifics, such a troop redeployment would imply a profound and improved change of course. It means:

Letting Iraqis run Iraq: Wish the Iraqis well but recognize that they are responsible for their own country. Or, in the words of a Times of London headline, "Bush to Iraqis: you take over." The coalition can help but Iraqis are adults, not wards, and need to assume responsibility for their country, from internal security to writing their constitution, with all due urgency.

The problem, Dr. Pipes, is that it is uncertain the Iraqis can do this immediately considering they are subsisting in states of violence. We might have to stay to guide them more, but so far stopping the violence has been a tough nut to crack.

eeing violence in Iraq as an Iraqi problem: The now-constant violence verging on civil war is a humanitarian tragedy but not a strategic one, an Iraqi problem, not a coalition one. The coalition should realize it has no more responsibility for keeping the peace between Iraqis than it does among Liberians or Somalis.

I disagree with you on this one. It's a double whammy. It is both a humanitarian tragedy and might be a strategic one if Iraq does not stand by itself and turn into a democracy. To turn Iraq to democracy is modenize it. To modernize Iraq is to lessen Islamism. To lessen Islamism is to lessen terrorism.

Iraq – an endemically violent country – fails on both counts.

Why is it so violent?

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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