Friday, November 18, 2005

Lind, Murtha and mockery

I have to applaud Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa) for laying out his basic statement that whatever military objectives that can be accomplished by military force have been accomplished (defeat a convetional army, seize terrain, secure strategic production sites) have been accomplished, but the political failure of the occupation has overwhelmed any military success due to the initial failure of following the Clauswitzian dictums of defining mission and objectives first before engaging in using the military towards accomplishing those ends. Therefore he submitted (via the Stakeholder the following operational part of a resolution:

Whereas, due to the foregoing, Congress finds it evident that continuing U.S. military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the people of Iraq, or the Persian Gulf Region, which were cited in Public Law 107-243 as justification for undertaking such action;

Therefore be it

I) Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in

2) Congress assembled,

3) That:

4) Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is

5) hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable

6) date.

7) Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines

8) shall be deployed in the region.

9) Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq

10) through diplomacy.

At the same time, thanks to Cernig, I see a piece by William Lind, a noted conservative defense thinker who has been more right about Iraq than the yahoos at AEI and OSD, on his exit strategy. It is a bit longer than the Honororable Mr. Murtha's plan, but it contains the same essence:

  1. Announce a complete withdrawal within a reasonable and short time frame as any and all military objectives have been met
  2. Negoatiate a hard deadline to get out. If talks fail, announce a hard deadline and stick to it.
  3. Negoatiate a settlement with the nationalist Sunni Arab insurgents where there is a tactical ceasefire as the nationalists turn around and roll the jihadis in several months of heavy fighting. US airpower and support could be made available if requested, but doubtful it would be requested.
  4. Ink Blot the fracture points of the mixed cities with US and international forces, backed up by over the horizon response forces.

Both of these are serious, well thought out plans that deal with the fact that the United States has lost the political objectives of the war while the US Army and Marines are able to achieve tactical success, the operational and strategic reality is that the force is breaking on the rotation. The announcement that the US is drawing down to 92,000 in the next rotation is not because that is the war plan, but because the manpower rotation schedules blow up in 2006, and six brigades is all that is available for deployment. (A few more will probably be added, IMO) There won't be any viable Iraqi security forces that are not sectarian, there won't be the logistics to support them, and there won't be the legitimacy among all major players that the political process is not designed to seriously screw at least one of these groups. So, some form of an exit strategy is needed.

However, these are complicated questions and the GOP Congress can not have that. They don't do nuance well --- so they instead submit the following as their exit strategy poison pill:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the
deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated
Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of
that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be
terminated immediately.
[sarc] So it is time to play stunts and cheap politics rather than have a serious discussion of what to do next. I like those priorities, really I do [/sarc]

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