Saturday, July 22, 2006

That Elusive Victory

NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday finds some "interesting" guests for its listeners--especially when Scott Simon is at the helm. Today he interviews Frederick Kagan, an extreme right thinktanker (from the American Enterprise Institute). Kagan blithely tells us that the US can defeat the Iraq insurgency and obtain victory with about 25,000 more US troops on the ground in Iraq and with a more comprehensive counterinsurgency program. The only "successful" counterinsurgency operation he sites is in Tal Afar (the "success" of which is questionable according to a Reuter's reporter who went there). In a stunning statement Kagan says that a key to victory in Iraq is to "establish security in the Sunni areas." Yes that would be great if one could also stop the Shiite death squads operating out of the Interior ministry, keep the US military from slaughtering civilians, keep Shiite militias in the south from fighting each other, keep the Kurds from going independent, keep Turkey out of the Kurdish north...etc., etc. What is really disturbing about this report is that even if you originally believed in the Bush project for Iraq, the reality on the ground suggests that any hope that the US could establish "security" is long gone--much less any neocon pipedream of acheiving "victory."

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