Friday, September 7, 2007

Planning for Defeat: How should we withdraw from Iraq?

George Packer in the New Yorker, here
"...The Petraeus-Crocker testimony is the kind of short-lived event on which the Administration has relied to shore up support for the war: the “Mission Accomplished” declaration, the deaths of Uday and Qusay Hussein, Saddam’s capture, the transfer of sovereignty, the three rounds of voting, the Plan for Victory, the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Every new milestone, however illusory, allows the Administration to avoid thinking ahead, to the years when the mistakes of Iraq will continue to haunt the U.S."

"...Preparing a judicious withdrawal from Iraq will demand the integrated effort of the whole government, not just under this President but under the next one as well. “You just cannot pretend that the Iraq war never happened and everything can go back to how it was before,” the former Embassy official told me. “The status quo before 2003 no longer exists. We have introduced fundamental new disequilibriums into one of the most sensitive parts of the globe. How do you contain it?” He added, “People have to start thinking about these things—small study groups with military, State, and intelligence people sketching out what are the core interests on a regional level, and working back from that to discuss some options. If that’s been done, I don’t know about it.”"

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