It’s a tribute to Rich’s intellectual honesty that he welcomes the thoughts of those of us who disagree with him, as I do on the “more troops” theme. To say it just one more time: Iif you don’t define the mission correctly, the tactics used can’t succeed. The (potentially successful) mission cannot be “win in Iraq,” because the war is more than that, other than that. ABC has just noted the abundance of evidence of Iran’s massive involvement in Iraq. I have been saying that for years, and have argued that much evidence has been squelched because the political class didn’t want to hear it. The same was/is true in Great Britain. This leak to ABC is similar to leaks to the London Times and Telegraph, which have painted a similar picture. The military have known for a long time that Iran is part of “the enemy” in Iraq, and now that we are having a bit of a policy debate, they are trying to nudge it in a truly “realist” direction: face the facts, stop trying to “solve” the wrong problem.
And so I insist that there is no imaginable level of troops that can provide decent security in Iraq so long as the Iranians, Syrians and Saudis have a free shot at us. Above all, it cannot be done so long as Assad and Khamenei et al rule in Damascus and Tehran. We have to go after them, which I insist is not a military mission, but support for the revolutionary forces that already exist in both countries. And instead of falling for the hoary myth of the “Saudi peace plan,” which has failed more times than I can count, and is being resurrected (wrong word?) yet again–most recently in the Hadleygram–our proper policy toward the Royal Family is to insist they shut down the jihadi assembly line, which runs from their country, across North Africa and Europe, into Britain and finally here in the U.S.of A.
We must see the war plain. Calls for more troops in Baghdad, or Ramadi, or the Anbar desert, are like proposing aspirin for cancer. It will ease the pain but it’s not a cure.