Adam Ash

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Monday, November 27, 2006

The Adam Ash Plan B for Iraq - how to get out of Iraq without getting out of Iraq

Let’s face the facts on the ground in Iraq:

1. Nobody knows what to do about Iraq. Bush doesn’t. Cheney doesn’t. The Iraq Study Group of James Baker and Lee Hamilton doesn’t. The Democratic Party doesn’t. Kissinger doesn’t. The American people don’t. Not even the Iraqis do.

2. No amount of training of the Iraq Army can do anything to solve any Iraq problem. Fighting the insurgency is not the problem. The Shiite/Sunni civil war is the problem. Shiites in the army will not attack Shiites in the militias who are fighting the civil war. A trained Iraqi Army can do nothing about the civil war except join it and help the Shiites finish off the Sunnis sooner.

3. The central government of Iraq has no power. Iraq is run by warlords and their militias, not the government. If US forces pull out tomorrow, the Iraqi government will fall within 24 hours. Most of them will flee the country with our taxpayer money that they’ve managed to milk from our authorities in the Green Zone.

4. The strongest force in Iraq is the Mahdi Army, whose leader is Moqtada Al-Sadr. If the US forces leave, chances are he’ll become the strongman of Iraq – the next Saddam. He will ethnically cleanse Baghdad of Sunnis, and run an oil-rich Shiite region in alliance with Iran in the south, while the Kurds will take Kirkuk and run an oil-rich north. The former rulers of Iraq, the Sunnis, will prevail over a zero-oil Sunni region and enjoy a very impoverished irony of history.

Given these facts on the ground, what can the US contribute to the situation besides money, of which we have wasted far too much already -- much of it on no-bid contracts to Halliburton and Bechtel?

We can help speed the outcome of the civil war by helping the Shiites kill the Sunnis. But we won’t do that. After all, the leading Shiite is our enemy Moqtada Al-Sadr, whom we tried to defeat in Najaf and failed.

Therefore, given that there’s nothing we can do, here’s what we should do.

We should withdraw all US forces to our four big bases in Iraq and stay there, without ever leaving them to interfere with anything in Iraq.

We should just sit there, all holed-up, eating our Big Macs and drinking our Cokes and playing pool, while the Iraqis sort out Iraq all by themselves, which is their job, not ours.

We should let the militias murder each other and let the warlords establish their various tribal and clan strongholds, and make deals with each other all over Iraq to run the country. Let the Shiite warlords establish their own region like the Kurds have already established theirs. Let the Sunni warlords and insurgents run the Sunni region after the Sunnis have fled the areas they now share with the Shiites. Let the country split into three militia-controlled regions.

What function will we serve by just staying in our bases without venturing out of them? A very important one. Our mere presence will keep Turkey from invading Kurdistan, and Syria from invading Iraq to help the Sunnis, and Iran from invading to help the Shiites (mind you, Iran doesn’t need to invade; they’ve been able to extend their influence in Iraq and help their fellow Shiites right under the noses of our occupation anyway).

In other words, the US military should stay holed up in our bases to keep the conflict confined to Iraq, so the "sectarian violence" doesn’t expand to include the whole region and escalate into a bigger regional conflict.

That’s what we should do. That’s the Adam Ash Plan B for Iraq -- the only sensible plan.

This way, America still has a purpose in Iraq, and a pretty noble one, too. This way, we manage to stay there with honor and dignity, knowing that we’re containing the situation. And this way, we won’t have to sacrifice the life of one more American soldier to a cause which isn’t ours.

It’s the only exit strategy that can and will work. Let’s hope the Bush Administration reads this suggestion and carries it out forthwith.


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