Location: United States

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Unpopular with the Right; Unpopular with the Left

I often find that I simply can't agree with anyone on military matters. I surely don't agree with President Bush's idea (and that of his supporters) to simply "stay the course". The reason why is simple: It isn't working. Yes, there is some notable progress (Thanks to Ranting Profs for the link). However, there is a decided lack of realistic goals and therefore a lack of realistic means of attaining them.

Neither do I find myself in agreement with the left who adamantly call for an immediate pull-out and abandonment of Iraq. While I abhor the death and destruction of war, I truly believe that leaving prematurely will not make the world a safer place, but simply allow radical elements to grow unabated until they can safely strike any number of worldwide targets. That is simply, in my opinion, a bad option that abandons all claim to fulfilling our obligations as the people who destroyed the existing power structure for extremely flimsy reasons.

However, like most real problems facing the world, there is much more than simply two sides of the equation. We do not face a scenario where our only choices are to continue in the exact same vein as we are acting now or to fully withdraw and abandon Iraq.

The alternative I propose is to expand total troop strength in Iraq and push more resources for rebuilding into it.

Rebuilding cannot be done (in a widespread sense) while their is still fighting and bombings. Implementing peace is the first step towards accomplishing any goal. Peace-keeping can only be accomplished by neutral forces - that means non-US, Muslim forces on the ground in Iraq are needed.

That means Egypt.

Egypt has an army of somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 men. They could easily send a comparable amount of troops to what is maintained inside Iraq by the US. 100,000 Egyptian troops would immediately rob the insurgents of the ideology of "driving out the infidels" and quell anti-US sentiment from fear of colonialism. In other words, it would immediately change the battle from a war against terror on one side and America on the other to a legitimate battle for the future of Iraq. Egyptian troops could accomplish what American troops never will - which is to bring every side to the table for peace talks.

And don't forget Pakistan.

With approximately half-a-million troops in their armed forces and a desire to be a true world power, Pakistan has already moved close to the United States in the post 9/11 world. Moving 100,000 or so troops to Iraq for peace-keeping allows even more American troops to pull out and for Pakistan to move onto the world stage as a responsible world power and fellow-Muslim nation.

Pulling Egypt and Pakistan into Iraq will be a hard sell. Violence against foreign diplomats has been a disturbing trend in Iraq. However, the large contingent of troops would make it easier for those two countries to protect their diplomats and, if accompanied by a US withdrawal (or at least withdrawal into other areas) would lead to a direct lowering of violence.

An Egyptian-Pakistani partnership would strengthen two earstwhile allies that desperately need both respect abroad and legitimacy at home. A joint peace-keeping mission (perhaps under the auspices of the UN) would support both and would use the Pan-Arabic and Pan-Muslim ideologies to their benefit.

An investment strategy by European, American, and Russian (and perhaps Chinese) interests could fund infrastructure development that could actually get the Iraqi oilfields back on line reliably so that country could take advantage of the high oil prices. In other words, they could use the market forces to rebuild Iraq. Again, this investment strategy could be run through the UN (under strict strutiny) and could possibly tie investments to such developments as debt-forgiveness in Africa and South America.

It is a combination of creating a new Axis of Allies with our Muslim allies and implementing a new Marshall Plan for Iraq. Peace, followed by prosperity.

It's a combination that works.


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