Monday, April 09, 2007

Bacevich on Iraq

Read the whole thing. The thesis: asking about the Iraq War plan of current Presidential candidates is folly. The only question to really asked is what next after this debacle?


The truth is that next to nothing can be done to salvage Iraq. It no longer lies within the capacity of the United States to determine the outcome of events there. Iraqis will decide their own fate. We are spectators, witnesses, bystanders caught in a conflagration that we ourselves, in an act of monumental folly, touched off.

The questions that ought to be asked now — but so far have not been — are of a different order...

Candidates who still find merit in an open-ended global war on terror should explain how we prevail in such an enterprise. Given the lessons of Iraq, what exactly does it mean to wage such a global war? Where can we expect to fight next, and against whom? What will victory look like?

Candidates who, in light of Iraq, have become skeptical of open-ended global war as a response to violent Islamic radicalism should be pressed to describe their alternative. How do they define the threat? How do they propose to deal with it? Will they isolate it? Contain it? Subvert it? Relying on what means and at what costs?...The one that matters is this: As President Bush departs and leaves the United States bereft of a coherent strategy, what should fill that void?
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