Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Thoughts on Exit Strategies

The biggest problem in arguing with the pro-war crowd is that they (at least most of them) refuse to actually establish definitions of such things as victory. It is impossible to have a logical argument with someone who goes around in circles.

Rush Limbaugh was once asked what our exit strategy was. His answer? "Victory!" Okay, great. The person asked him to define "victory." He spluttered and then laughed as if that was a ridiculous request, as if what "victory" meant was patently obvious. He never actually explained how he planned to win in Iraq, or when winning would allow a troop draw-down.

What the pro-war people need to do to have any credibility is to provide some sort of framework for how they want to transfer more responsibility to the Iraqis (unless they want us to occupy Iraq with 150,000+ troops indefinitely, in which case they should state that this is what they mean, that they aren't looking for "victory," they already have it and are planning on how to hold on to it).


Here is what I would like to hear:
(1) What the pro-war people see as the permanent (as in next 30, 40 years) outcome. US occupation? US bases? A contingent to keep the peace like in South Korea? A few bases to allow us to build up forces in the region later if need be (as in Europe). How many troops would they like to see in Iraq in 10 years?

(2) What benchmarks will allow them to draw down forces, and how much? 1000 troops for every 2000 new Iraqi forces? For every 5000 forces? What? Any benchmark for progress that doesn't provide a condition at which we wil reduce our troop commitment is not a benchmark for victory.

(3) What is the current state of our armed forces vis-a-vis recruitment? How do they plan on increasing recruitment or how do they want to make due with a smaller military?

(4) Let's look at the insurgency honestly. How is it doing in terms of (a) coalition soldiers killed, (b) Iraqi soldiers/military/civilians killed, (c) number of insurgents. (i)How do we get all three of those numbers down? (ii) After we try a strategy, tell us honestly, was it effective? Tell us a month later, two months later, and three months later.

I'd like to see some analysis, rather than just accepting the status quo, and talking about staying the course.

That is all.

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