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We all want peace and stability for Iraq. How can we best obtain it?
The Bush formula reduces to this -- we will force the Iraqi's to stop fighting each other.
We have made an effort to show that U.S. force is very unlikely to bring peace to Iraq, because it does not address the underlying dispute between the Shia and the Sunni, and because we lack sufficient troops (and savagery) to compel the Iraqi's to stop fighting.
So what is DownsizeDC.org's alternative?
We believe the most likely path to peace and stability in Iraq is a negotiated settlement. This is how the civil wars in Lebanon and Northern Ireland ended, and it is probably how the civil war in Iraq will end too. We believe this because . . .
Force isn't likely to work for the Sunni and the Shia any better than it has for the United States, or than it did for the factions in Lebanon and Northern Ireland.
Both the Sunni and the Shia militias can use the same potent tactics of asymmetric warfare against each other that the Sunni (primarily) have used against the United States.
Neither side is going to prevail against such tactics, any more than the U.S. has prevailed. The result will be stalemate, and the only thing left will be a negotiated settlement.
Once again, this is what happened in Lebanon and Northern Ireland. We predict it will happen in Iraq too.
Is there anything we can do to make a negotiated settlement happen sooner rather than later? Yes, there is.
We can leave.
Our presence complicates things greatly. It comes down to a question of trust. Both the Sunni and the Shia have every reason to distrust us, both as allies in war and as brokers of peace.
The Sunni do not trust us because we are the source of all their problems. We went to war with Iraq's Sunni dominated regime twice. We removed the Sunni faction from power. We brokered the elections that gave power to the Shia majority.
The Shia distrust us because we have betrayed them before. In the first Gulf War we called for an uprising to overthrow Saddam. The Shia responded and we stood back and watched while Hussein slaughtered them.
Both sides distrust us because we have killed their children with bombs, and with crippling economic sanctions while Saddam was still in power.
Both sides distrust us because we have built an Imperial City inside the Green Zone in Baghdad, and massive military bases all over the country -- clear signs that we intend to stay forever.
Both sides distrust us because we "can put a man on the moon," but we can't make the electricity work in Iraq.
But both sides also know that great powers can be defeated through asymmetric warfare. They have learned the lessons of America in Vietnam, the Russians in Afghanistan, and the French in Algeria, even if the U.S. government has not learned those lessons.
Both sides know they can make us leave eventually, so why trust to us to determine their fate in the short term? They do not trust us. They will not trust us.
We cannot settle the conflict by force, and we are not trusted to broker a peace settlement. There is nothing left for us to do, but leave.
U.S. departure would pave the way for a peace to be brokered by Iraq's neighbors. In our next installment of this series of messages on Iraq we will show why Iraq's neighbors have strong incentives to broker such a settlement. We will also show how Iran can be turned from a liability into an asset.
In the meantime, we also have an issue of trust here at home. If we face the evidence honestly, then we should realize that we cannot trust our elected leaders to do the right thing. They have been wrong in nearly every instance. All of them, both Democrat and Republican.
And now they are proving their boundless capacity to be wrong once again. The Democrats were given a majority to end the Iraq occupation, but they are not doing that. Instead, they are pursuing a strategy of tinkering around the edges, which will leave the status quo Iraq policy largely in place.
DownsizeDC.org's track-record is much more trustworthy. We were correct when we said, at TruthAboutWar.org, that there were no WMD's in Iraq, and we were correct when we predicted that attempts by Democrats to focus on the funding for Iraq would be exploited by Republicans as an attempt to harm the troops.
We would assert that we have promoted the policy the Democrats should have pursued. De-authorize the war. We would also assert that this correct policy must be forced on Congress by the people, because Congress does not have the courage or the foresight to do the right thing on its own.
Everything in Congress always reduces to partisan politics, and partisan politics almost always provides wrong answers.
Increasingly, the American people must trust to themselves, and not look to their supposed leaders in Washington, DC. It is up to us, the growing Downsize DC Army, to compel Congress to do what must be done.
Please send a message to Congress telling them to de-authorize the occupation of Iraq.
Also help DownsizeDC.org financially. We received the five $100 contributions to match James Marquart's $500 challenge pledge. Our budget need for February is now reduced to just $1,255. Please make a contribution of $25, $50, $75, $100 or more to help us close this gap.
Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.