Monday, August 15, 2005

❄ Iraq [I]: Getting Out

Prince George the Reckless is complicitous in launching an illegal ‘war of choice’, ignorantly conceived and imprudently managed, and the White House hopelessly compromised when next it may make claims that matter: that is how we imagine this episode will be judged. But now, we are told, the war is over. That’s the theme of Frank Rich’s column in The New York Times of 14 August 2005.

The Question

If “every war must end,” how could the Iraq War [2003 - .. ] be brought to an end?


GW Bush would have us understand withdrawal as “cut and run”, unworthy of a tough brawler in the ranchlands. Instead the United States will stay “as long as it takes.”

Another approach would be simply to bring the troops home. Or, it has been intimated, substantial numbers of US troops might remain “in the region” to provide ‘security’.

The most convincing program for withdrawal begins with accepting three outcomes: Shia dominance in the south and much of the center, ‘government’ negotiations and settlement with Sunni insurgents, and acceptance of Kurdish autonomy in the north (including control of Kirkuk). And none of these is for the United States to do. US withdrawal could procede, all Iraqi interests and factions understanding that they will have to make the deals and work through the consequences . . . and provide their own security.

The Political Design Problem

How would you compose the coda?


[1] Frank Rich, “Someone Tell the President the War is Over,” The New York Times, 14 August 2005.

[2] Fred Charles Iklé, Every War Must End (New York: Columbia University Press, rev. ed. 2005).

[Political Design 2005.08.15 Post A07.]


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