Saturday, April 14, 2007

Joe Biden, Michael Savage and Sam Brownback have an Iraq Exit Strategy

I finished “STATE OF DENIAL” and the most important disclosure was that Bush has no “exit strategy” in Iraq.

The only Iraq expert with a realistic exist plan is Peter Galbraith. Steve Herbits, long time friend and advisor of Donald Rumsfeld, presented the plan to Rumsfeld. Herbits frankly stated “"It is an exit strategy," Herbits told the secretary, and the administration frankly did not have a viable one” according to “STATE OF DENIAL.”

The only major public figures to support the Galbraith plan are Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, conservative talk show host Michael Savage and Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback.

Biden, in an article yesterday explained, why Bush’s plan is failing and again offers the Galbraith plan which in my opinion is the most reasonable strategy that might work. That is given the fact that the vast majority of the American people want the US military out of Iraq as soon as possible.

An effective Iraq strategy may exist, but the president hasn't found it yet
By Joe Biden
San Jose Mercury News
Article Launched:04/13/2007 01:33:05 AM PDT

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is right to warn about the consequences of failure in Iraq. But he is fundamentally wrong when he argues that those potential consequences require us to stick with a failing strategy.

It is precisely because the stakes are so great that we must change course in Iraq, now.

McCain wrote that the president's strategy is beginning to show results but that most Americans don't know it because the media cover the bad news, not the good news. Of course, reporting any news in Iraq is an extraordinary act of bravery, given the dangers journalists must navigate every day. But the fact is, virtually every "welcome development" McCain cited has been reported, including the purported anti-Al-Qaida alliance with Sunni sheiks in Al-Anbar, the establishment of joint U.S.-Iraqi security stations in Baghdad and the decision by Muqtada al-Sadr to go to ground - for now.

The problem is that for every welcome development, there is an equally or even more unwelcome development that gives the lie to the claim that we are making progress. For example:

While violence against Iraqis is down in some Baghdad neighborhoods where we have "surged" forces, it is up dramatically in the belt ringing Baghdad. The civilian death toll increased 15 percent from February to March. Essentially, when we squeeze the water balloon in one place it bulges somewhere else.

It is true that Sadr has not been seen, but he has been heard, rallying his followers with anti-American messages and encouraging his thugs to take on U.S. troops in the south. Intelligence experts believe his militia are simply waiting out the surge.

Closing markets to vehicles has precluded some car bombs, but it also has prompted terrorists to change tactics and walk in with suicide vests. The road from the airport to Baghdad may be safer, but the skies above it are more lethal - witness the ironic imposition of "no-fly zones" for our own helicopters.

The most damning evidence that the "results" McCain cites are illusory is the city of Tal Afar. Architects of the president's plan called it a model because in 2005, a surge of about 10,000 Americans and Iraqis pacified the city. Then we left Tal Afar, just as our troops soon will leave the Baghdad neighborhoods that they have calmed.

This month, Tal Afar was the scene of some of the most horrific sectarian violence to date: A massive truck bomb aimed at the Shiite community led to a retaliatory rampage by Shiite death squads, aided by the Iraqi police. Hundreds were killed. The population of Tal Afar, 200,000 a few years ago, is down to 80,000.

There is an even more basic problem with McCain's progress report, and it goes to the heart of the choice we face in Iraq. Whatever tactical progress we may be making will amount to nothing if it is not serving a larger strategy for success. Alas, the administration's strategy has virtually no prospects for success.

The administration hopes the surge will buy time for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government to broker the sustainable political settlement our military views as essential to lasting stability in Iraq.

But there is no trust within the government, no trust of the government by the people it purports to serve and no capacity on the part of the government to deliver security or services. There is little prospect that the government will build that trust and capacity anytime soon.

In short, the most basic premise of the president's approach - that Iraqis will rally behind a strong central government that looks out for their interests equitably - is fundamentally and fatally flawed.

If the president's plan won't work, what will? History suggests only four other ways to keep together a country riven by sectarian strife:

We allow or help one side to win, which would require years of horrific bloodletting.

We perpetuate the occupation, which is impossible politically and practically.

We promote the return of a dictator, who is not on the horizon but whose emergence would be the cruelest of ironies.

Or we help Iraq make the transition to a decentralized, federal system, as called for in its constitution, where each major group has local control over the fabric of its daily life, including security, education, religion and marriage.

Making federalism work for all Iraqis is a strategy that can still succeed and allow our troops to leave responsibly. It's a strategy I have been promoting for a year.

I cannot guarantee that my plan for Iraq (detailed at will work. But I can guarantee that the course we're on - the course that a man I admire, John McCain, urges us to continue - is a road to nowhere.


Bob Woodard in “STATE OF DENIAL” on page 481 wrote:

Steve Herbits [ a long time friend and advisor of Rumsfeld] went to have a sandwich with Rumsfeld at the Pentagon on Wednesday, June 14. The most important op-ed piece of the year, Herbits told him, was probably the one in The New York Times the previous month by Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Delaware Democrat and ranking member of the ;enate Foreign Relations Committee, and Les Gelb, the former presi-;ent of the Council on Foreign Relations. Rumsfeld began taking notes.

Biden and Gelb had proposed an option between staying the course definitely and bringing the U.S. troops home on some kind of timetable, Herbits noted. This would be done by establishing three largely autonomous regions, one each for the Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis, who would make their own domestic laws and be responsible for security in their regions. The central government in Baghdad would control border security, foreign affairs and oil revenues. Iraq was already heading toward partition and this loose federalism of three ethnic states was developing on its own.

Herbits said that the current concept of an integrated national police is not working at all, and the sectarian militias were increasingly powerful and violent. Tens of thousands of Iraqis were migrating on their own to their ethnic regions already, he said, and the voting by foot was more important than any of the highly touted elections. Events were already taking Iraq in this direction and it might be impossible to stop. U.S. policy could effectively embrace it. This, he noted, was the conclusion in a forthcoming book by Peter W. Galbraith, an expert with two decades of experience with Iraq, called The End of Iraq.

Rumsfeld continued to take notes, expressing neither agreement nor disagreement. Set up an A Team and a B Team on the possibility, Herbits proposed. Have each give you a 30-minute argument so you become familiar with the language and issues on each side because it was likely to become the focus of debate.

"It is an exit strategy," Herbits told the secretary, and the administration frankly did not have a viable one. "It would be something this administration could adopt in the name of freedom and self determination. And they could call it victory."

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