What's Plan B for Iraq if the Surge fails?
In a brilliant articale, Phillip Carter at Slate invalidates the question. We're not on "Plan A" right now. He argues that we're on Plan F, and he details every strategy we've tried and why they've failed.
His description of the real Plan A, now 4 years old, is really telling. Our original Plan A was that our air stikes and special forces would "shock and awe" the Iraqis in such a way that they would fear resisting us and then would be inspired by us so that they would greet our troops as liberators and form their own democracy. What happened was that the shock part kind of worked in that nobody in Iraq liked Saddam enough that they were willing to go nose to nose with a stealth bomber, but after Hussein's government fell, Iraqis decided to have their own power struggle, rather than to take direction from us.
So now we have the surge and we ask, "What's plan b if it doesn't work?"
That almost implies that over 4 years, Bush has had only the opportunity to try two strategies. That's wrong. We've tried several times, without success, to implement strategies that will bring Iraq to peace and stability and all have failed. The thing to remember about Bush and his ilk, especially when the question of "giving it another chance" shows up is that Bush never intended on a real Plan B. This war was sold to the American public as a cakewalk and it's not one. How many chances should Bush get? He said we'd invade, be thanked for it, and would go home. Hasn't happened. Over four years he's said, "Just let me try this," and "just let me try that." He's been allowed to try. Hasn't worked.
It's been four years.
Nobody who sold us this war thought we'd still be fighting, in this manner, four years later. The best you can say for them is that they did say it'd be hard to build a new democracy in Iraq and that we'd still be there four years later -- but the implication was that we'd be there building schools, holding conferences and giving advice, not that we'd be needing to send more combat troops to fight a guerilla war.
Folks who say this isn't like Viet Nam point to the fact that our losses, while terrible, don't reach Viet Nam levels. But, we're 40 years after Viet Nam. Our technology and tactics developed since then have thankfully spared us Viet Nam level casualties. But I'm not going to wait until we get to old awful numbers before I say that our losses our too much. Relative to what we've learned and the technologies we've developed, our losses are already too much.
What we need now is not a "Plan B," it's a plan that gets our troops out of harm's way. We were not given the war we were promised. We are not achieving the results we were promised. Hell, the reasons we were given for even going to war in the first place didn't pan out.
So for how much longer should a democracy deal with a war that wasn't waged for the right reasons, didn't achieve what we were told it would, and has claimed more casualties, time and money than we were told to endure?
Not much longer at all, I say. Not even a day.
Bring them home.