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Welcome back. Good post and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
I understand that you needed to break things down to keep each post under book length but I'm not sure that it's possible to look at how important Iraq (or any other component) is to our grand strategy in isolation. For example, we could put in enough troops to stabilize Iraq with the benefits that would bring if we completely abandoned all other overseas committments (including Korea), reinstituted the draft, expended trillions of dollars, admitted that our COIN strategy in Iraq was a failure and started fresh, gave up the dream of a cohesive, multi-ethnic, democratic Iraq and settled for three relatively stable quasi-democracies, and spent a decade or more on the task. The trade-offs are clearly not worth it. "Iraq is critical" or "key" or "vital" or "important" or any other description of Iraq's role in our grand strategy is meaningless without the associated price tag.


That is one of the things that has bothered me about the arguments for continued engagement in Iraq, mainly the Domino Theory like quality to them. I raised that point in one of my posts, mainly that even if loosing Iraq was like loosing Vietnam, it would not matter all that much to the overall outcome of the larger GWOT. That is, just like with Vietnam, we can loose Iraq and still win the wider struggle against the main enemy we are fighting.


Good to read your post, KD. I have some thoughts percolating but will wait to read your next entries before commenting further.


"that even if loosing Iraq was like loosing Vietnam, it would not matter all that much to the overall outcome of the larger GWOT."

It may even have a positive effect in terms of GWOT. The sudden absence of US forces in Iraq might well bog any Al Qaeda elements down (and further fracture the entire AQ network)for a rather long time as they battle it out against the consequent Shia establishment.


Iraq in 2007 is what Afghanistan was in 1989 or 1992 might be a more accurate analogy.


What about the oil?! My understanding is that the "surge" is another contorted attempt to get a new petroleum law passed through the Iraqi parliamnent. Securing and maintaining access to cheap oil is the one and only "grand strategy" behind the whole Iraq debacle. There is almost no talk of this in the US MSM, but British papers and some blogs are making this connection.


I'd be curious to know your thoughts about the potential for conflict between the US Grand Strategy and Israel's Yinon Strategy.

Recon Miller

Don't Forget SPC Miller form the list of Wolfowitz and Leiberman. Iraq is now like Vietnam and Korea in one big way. We are fighting a war, but refuse to really wage it. China stockpiled weapons on the border, and North Vietnam stockpiled weapons on the border of South Vietnam. We did nothing about it in Korea and tied. We did very little about it in Vietnam, we tied. Until the Democratic Congress refused to fund or sell arms to the South Vietnamese, and they were overrun. Today we sit, while Iran and Syria supply arms to the Sunni Terrorists and the Shiite Militias. Bomb the heck out of them. To not do that invites defeat. People will say, that’s escalating the war. No, it's a response to escalation. The war escalated when Iranian and Syria arms began killing Americans and Iraqis. Anyone who sees Iran or Syria as a potential partner is, in my humble opinion, bordering on laughable idiocy.
The surge, maybe it will change alot, maybe not, but the biggest step that can be taken towards victory would be Maliki standing aside and allowing us and the Iraqi Army into Sadr City. The Iraqi people do not back the Militias because they think they're swell, they back them because they keep them 'safe'. The moment it becomes obvious that having the Militias around bring in Strykers, Bradleys, Apaches and bombs, they won't be very keen on them. Some Iraqi units are garbage, and some are worth their weight in gold. It will be hit and miss, and for everyone who thought we'd be in two years and gone, your understanding of insurgencies and low level military conflicts is stunningly low. This includes you too President Bush. I said in 2003, at least 5 years. We are still in Bosnia and Kosovo, and in comparison, they are nowhere close to the progress that has been made politically in Iraq. Sectarian killing still happens in the Balkans. Of course, its been a little more difficult for Iran to ship weapons there.
I'm reenlisting to come back here. Kind of stands at odds with the 'Support the Troops, bring them home' crowd, I know. But I don't really care about them. God Bless them if they've lost family or friends in this war. But all wars are horrible. The only thing that redeems them are the freedoms preserved or won. The Cindy Sheehan’s, (and the others, whom I hate lumping in with Moonbat Cindy) they hold no moral high ground on me. Their loved ones took and oath, the same one that I've taken. I'm still here, and I will still fight. Someone paid for my freedom, I have no problem helping to pass it on to peoples who still don't really understand what freedom is. I read this page often, and although I often disagree, I find it thought provoking and interesting, God Bless

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