Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fukuyama on problems with surge and withdrawal

Fukuyama, as per his usual, writes a very clear cut down to the nitty-gritty piece. This one on Iraq.

FF writes:
In my view, there is only one condition under which we can withdraw from Iraq with our core interests fully protected and with a reasonable claim that our mission was accomplished, and that is when strong Iraqi military and police forces emerge that can operate independently of U.S. forces and prevent a takeover of the country by either Al Qaeda in Iraq, resurgent Baathists or Muqtada Sadr's Shiite militia.
And this is nowhere, and I mean nowhere in sight. The only way this could occur--and even then it will not--is 5-15 years of occupation. And everyone knows that is not going to happen.

The Iraqi Army, to the degree it exists, is nothing other than a Shia or Kurdish militia.

Fukuyama compares the Iraqi Army which disappears in battle to the South Vietnamese Army, which eventually lost but held on for 3 years. There is no such one enemy fighting the Army. It is the fragmentation and devolution of power/violence at issue. There is no central government for which the Army fights.

FF then concludes:
What all this means is that even if the surge, by September, is reducing violence in Iraq to some degree, it will not guarantee a "safe" exit strategy for U.S. forces.
As a result:
This means that we will have to engage in a very different debate from the one we have been having up to now, a debate not about surging and not about withdrawing with our goals accomplished but about how to draw down our forces in a way that minimizes the costs that will inevitably accompany our loss of control.
Kevin Pollack had started down this track. How to protect the refugees, how stop the breakout of a regional war. But the layout of the even reduced "victory" goalpost Fukuyama pointed out has no chance of happening. One the US screwed up the post-war reconstruction. Two: You can't as an outsider enforce your will on people.

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