Hey All, my name is Phillip Valka and I’m a new Senior Political Analyst with AID and this is my first post.  I know everyone might be a bit fed up with Iraq, given the constant coverage and the stream of bad news, but I just red this excellent article in the new issue of Foreign Affairs by Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich called "How to Win Iraq" (also the subject of David Brooks’ piece in Sunday’s Times).  I wrote a brief overview (with a little editorializing on my part) as an introduction to the article.  It takes a long time to read but well worth it in examining the problems, what we can accomplish and how to do it.  A very welcome article in a sea of so much deception and disinformation! Here’s the URL: http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050901faessay84508-p0/andrew-f-krepinevich-jr/how-to-win-in-iraq.html

My Intro:

A New Strategy for Winning

Iraq

In
the face of mounting public opposition to the war – seen most clearly in the
dropping poll numbers, Cindy Sheehan’s vocal anti-war camp outside the
Presidential ranch and louder calls for withdrawal – it is about time that the Bush administration
clearly define American objectives, propose a strategy for attaining them and
ask for the American people’s support. So instead of his hollow rhetoric about spreading freedom to the Iraqi people
and the broader Middle East or how the war has made America safer (stating his
own opinion as fact), President Bush needs to come clean about what we want to
accomplish and how to get there. There
is a large consensus on what is needed our objectives: a weakened insurgency, a
strong Iraqi military force and a promising political process that lays the
foundations for a democratic state. How
to get there is a different question. Some call for staying the course, others for a time table to be established
and the more daring ones, for a full withdrawal.

In
the new issue of Foreign Affairs, Lt. Col. Andrew Krepinevich outlines a bold,
new strategy for combating the insurgency and creating stability and security
in his article, “How to Win in Iraq.” In perhaps the most cohesive, compelling
and creative proposal I’ve read yet, Krepinevich calls for an “oil-spot
strategy” as the solution to America’s struggle against the insurgency. Instead of the current strategy of hunting
down and killing the terrorists, the “oil-spot strategy” calls on coalition and
Iraqi forces to concentrate their efforts on protecting the Iraqi people by
creating secure areas where the insurgents are denied support and operational
capacity. From these zones, the security
radius could slowly spread (or ooze if you want to continue with the oil
metaphor) to encompass larger areas free from insurgent violence. Such a strategy would bolster the Iraqi
people’s confidence in the current government and coalition nation-building
efforts by granting their basic demand for security. What’s more these secure areas would demonstrate
the tangible benefits of areas under government control– thus taking steam out the
support for the insurgency. This
strategy is based on the British successful counterinsurgency operation in

Malaysia

in the 1950s whereby the British defeated the Malaysian insurgents by
recognizing the inextricable link between the political and military sides of
counterinsurgency. 

Unfortunately,
the Bush administration has focused too much on tracking and killing the
insurgents instead of providing the conditions for viable political process to take
hold. Evidence of this strategy’s
failure exists in

Samarra

and Amadi where American forces flushed out the insurgents but quickly left
only to have the cities fall into insurgent hands again. Even closer to the heart of American efforts
– the highway to the

Baghdad

airport is one of
the most dangerous roads in

Iraq

– if safe transport can’t even be granted to

Iraq

’s main int. Given the failure of the Bush
administration’s current strategy and the even graver consequences of
withdrawals or time-tables, the “oil-spot strategy” offers a fresh approach to
an old problem with great promise of success.

 This strategy, however, is no quick-fix
solution.  It would require strong
American commitment – both in terms of resources (financial and military) and
significant public support.  It also
requires patience as successful counterinsurgency is notoriously slow (Bush
isn’t lying when he says it’s “hard work.”) Unfortunately, the insurgents quickly recognized a weak spot in a
democratic society such as ours – the tremendous value we put into human life.  In Clausewitzian terms, our center of gravity
lies in the public’s support for the war which was perhaps the most profound
lessons of

Vietnam

. It is up to President Bush to take the gloves
off by being clear to the American people what is at stake, what we want to
accomplish and how to do it. Lt. Col.
Krepinevich provides a fresh strategy of how to proceed – let’s just hope
President Bush is listening.

 

 

Again here’s the URL to
the article:

 

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050901faessay84508-p0/andrew-f-krepinevich-jr/how-to-win-in-iraq.html

Iraq

This strategy, however, is no quick-fix
solution.  It would require strong
American commitment – both in terms of resources (financial and military) and
significant public support.  It also
requires patience as successful counterinsurgency is notoriously slow (Bush
isn’t lying when he says it’s “hard work.”) Unfortunately, the insurgents quickly recognized a weak spot in a
democratic society such as ours – the tremendous value we put into human life.  In Clausewitzian terms, our center of gravity
lies in the public’s support for the war which was perhaps the most profound
lessons of

Vietnam

. It is up to President Bush to take the gloves
off by being clear to the American people what is at stake, what we want to
accomplish and how to do it. Lt. Col.
Krepinevich provides a fresh strategy of how to proceed – let’s just hope
President Bush is listening.

Again here’s the URL to
the article:

 

http://www.foreignaffairs.org/20050901faessay84508-p0/andrew-f-krepinevich-jr/how-to-win-in-iraq.html

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