The Bush Administration has to date been resolute in its intent to bolster troop numbers in Iraq in spite of strong opposition within U.S. political circles, chiefly within Democratic ranks. The latter have offered another strategy, which, mostly has failed to convince the President. This Blog is not about to take sides in American Affairs of State however the world media’s reporting in relation to this issue has been at best, overly simplistic giving casual observers the understanding that Republican means staying on current course and Democrat means ‘cut n run’.
- To continue training Iraqi security forces
- To continue the fight against international terrorism
- To continue providing logistical support to Iraqi forces
- To provide effective border security
- To have in place a rapid response if circumstances compromise the above objectives, (such a force can be located within the region) and, if I may add a further objective for my part,
- To engage in effective consultations with Iraq’s neighbors principally to address the instabilities imposed by Turkey, Iran and Saudi Arabia
To meet such objectives would mean anywhere up to 80,000 U.S. military personnel remaining within the region. The Democrats are all too aware of how the world may view a Vietnam style withdrawal but are increasingly conscious of polls showing over 70% of Americans (together with some Republicans and former Generals) having doubts about the war.
American prestige cannot afford a chaotic Iraqi pull out. Perhaps the best option would be one that satisfies moderate Republicans, Independents, and Democrats alike – strategy not too dissimilar to the Obama, Clinton proposal in accordance with the pointers listed above.
I would not hesitate to endorse such a policy as it maintains a strong, albeit different, military presence. I would add however, that any altered stratagem be an adjunct to genuinely constructive political engagement with all players within the Middle East insofar as this may be possible.
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