Iraq going forward
Wednesday night President Bush gave a detailed speech outlining what the current problems are in Iraq (sectarian violence) and what we need to do to improve the situation (clamp down). The most important message I got from his speech was the gloves are coming off and we are going to deal with Iraq's neighbors who have been actively working to ensure failure of the fledgling country. Lots of editorials and articles have been published since the speech and I'll cherry pick the ones which say something worth considering.
Former senator Fred Thompson summed up the thoughts of a lot of us in the last sentence of this article:
And, contrary to the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group, instead of talking to Iran and Syria the president is taking them on too.It has been obvious to many of us that Syria and Iran have been funding and supplying the insurgents. I still believe that whatever WMD that existed Iraq were secreted to Syria between the last game of hide and seek with U.N. inspectors and the lead up to the war.
Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops…we will disrupt the attacks on our forces, we will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advance weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
I'll bet that a lot of folks who support the president on this are asking themselves "what if we'd taken care of business this way two years ago?"
Within hours of the president's speech, coalition forces stormed a terrorist hangout now being called the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq. If this is really a war there is no diplomatic immunity in my book.
One good sign is Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Adviser of the failed Carter administration wrote an op-ed piece highly critical of the president's plan.
Ralph Peters calls this "W's last chance." Peters correctly identified the part of the speech most important to the troops in Iraq:
To a soldier, the most encouraging thing the president said last night was that there had been "too many restrictions" on our troops in the past. Rules of engagement must be loosened. We have to stop playing Barney Fife and fight. And the president has to stand behind our troops when the game gets rough.
Bush's Iraq Plan Draws Fire From Senate Republicans. Not surprisingly there were some Republicans critical of the presidents plan. However, what was surprising is it wasn't just goofs like Chuck Hagel who were quick to pick failure over even trying to succeed. I hope I'm wrong but several appear to be for or against the troop surge based purely on personal future political considerations. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS), one of a dozen 2008 presidential hopefuls, had previously supported a troop surge and has now changed his mind.
To me the bottom line is "no more mister nice guy." Anyone who is actively working to continue the violence and to disrupt the daily life of regular Iraqis needs to be dealt with swiftly and thoroughly. Based on his past actions and this quote, "'US reinforcements will go home in coffins'", Moqtada al-Sadr needs to be taken out immediately for this plan to succeed. That country has no chance as long as extra-governmental nutjobs like al-Sadr are fomenting violence against other segments of society.