Charles Krauthammer, as usual, does a better job at framing and spinning the events in Iraq than the Bush administration. He's arguing that the surge essentially is working to the extent that it is training Sunni armed militias to battle al Qaeda. I hope he's right in the short term. It is a lonely piece of good news that Iraqi Sunni Arabs have decided that the foreign 5 percent of the insurgency needs to be taken on. Any place where Arab Muslims are actively fighting al Qaeda is a gain both in terms of tactics and strategic narrative. We should certainly wish Petraeus well in this small but encouraging task.
But Charles is realistic enough to see what this also leads to: a better armed and better trained sectarian force. If we have abandoned the central government - the "80 percent solution" - we have effectively decided to train and arm one side in a coming civil war.
A reader is franker:
There is an easy way out in Iraq: support the Sunnis against the Shia. Arm them heavily and withdraw. This will restore some balance and the two parties will come to terms. If not at least it will tie up the Iranians for a long while. Combine it with a meaningful resolution of the Palestinian issue and most of our problems go away. Not a very moral position but it will work.
Not only is it immoral, it is nothing more than an attempt to recreate the situation which existed before we invaded! A Sunni government which would counter-balance the Shia Iran. And minority rule for Iraq.
Wonder what the "purple finger" people of Iraq think about the United States now? We loudly proclaimed that we were bringing democracy to a land which had never enjoyed it, but now, all that is inoperative in a desperate attempt to undo the damage we've done. What will the widows and orphans say, Mr. Bush?
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