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Weekend Roundup

From Meet the Press:

KEN ADELMAN: . . . I think we need a dramatic jolt to the system. I think what we have to do is within six months’ time, turn around the momentum in Baghdad . . . and change the leadership there with the generals there and just get a process so that it is turned around so that the feeling of momentum — I’m not saying the place will be stable in six months. I’m saying the feeling of momentum, those people who say, “Who’s going to win around here eventually?” the answer is it’s most likely that the Iraqi government will win.

ELIOT COHEN: We are clearly at a crossroads. And there are two basic courses of action. One is, essentially, just limiting our losses and getting out, and there is an intellectually respectable argument for that. And the other is trying to win. And, and honestly, I’d rather win than control the narrative at the moment.

[I]t’s going to require a lot more money, and it’s going to require a substantial surge—at least in the short term—in the Baghdad area . . . of about 20,000 or 30,000.

The report is right in emphasizing training. . . . we say we’re going to have a dozen advisers embedded in each Iraqi battalion, we usually have about eight or nine. And what they will tell you is we need 35, 50, maybe even 70. It’s hard to make the bureaucracy do it. . . . [T]his is as much an issue of drive and grip and, and vigor in, in trying to do the things that we’re going to say we’re doing.

The last point I would make is, in terms of our dealings with the Iraqis, we do need an alternative option. We do have to be able to confront them, saying, “Look, if you are not willing to go along with, for example, us vetting commanders in the Iraqi security forces and exercising considerable influence over promotion, we will leave you to chaos.” And that’s a useful threat to have with the Syrians and the Iranians. It’s the only threat at the moment, honestly, that we have with the Syrians and the Iranians. And you have to be prepared to follow through on that. I would prefer much more direct means of pressure on the Syrians and Iranians, but I don’t think . . . at the moment that we have them.

From Fox News Sunday:

BILL KRISTOL: [The Iraq Study Group report] is a recipe for surrender. . . Either, as the president has said, we need to adopt a new strategy for victory or we’re going to get out. And I thought Lee Hamilton made that pretty clear, actually, in your interview with him just now. We’ve got to find a way to conclude the war, he said.

What does conclude the war mean? It means get Americans out of there. Is there a serious person who thinks that we can get Americans out of there in the next year or two without the place degenerating into civil war? . . .

It’s as if Neville Chamberlain had had a Czechoslovak study group in 1938 — bipartisan, conservatives, liberals and labor advising him. He was still blamed for the disgraceful failure to assist Britain’s Czech allies at that time.

And if we lose in Iraq, it will be a national . . . disgrace. It will be a disgrace. It will be our failure. It won’t be the failure of Maliki. It will be our failure to have the patience and the ability to do what it takes to win this war.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”


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