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October 18, 2007

Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Not only is Al From's and Harold Ford's idea politically stupid, it makes very little policy sense.  But why would I listen to Brian Katulis, Larry Korb, Steven Simon, or Steven Biddle who happen to be real experts with a real understanding of what's going on in Iraq?  Instead I should just trust From and Ford when they say

The size of the force should be determined by conditions on the ground, but it should be significantly smaller than our current force. Whether we like it or not, the United States is part of the balance in the Middle East, just as we were in Europe for the last half of the 20th century, and we must stay engaged in this part of the world to help protect our interests and to contain Islamic fundamentalists from spreading terrorism in the region and throughout the world.

The smaller American military force should be deployed away from the fault lines of the civil war. They should have a clear strategic mission with four main objectives: train the Iraqi military, interdict terrorists from coming over the borders of Iran and Syria into Iraq, carry on the fight against Al Qaeda and prevent genocide in Iraq. A smaller military force can achieve all of these objectives, while preventing the Iraq War from turning into a wider conflict in the region.

I gotta say that this is one of the most hollow and vapid Iraq articles I've read in a long time.  It reads like a bunch of buzz words and standard lines taken out of various policy pieces with no real coherence or understanding of what it means.  Is there a line in the entire article that is not an Iraq debate cliche at this point?  One iota of creative thinking in all of this?  Clearly the authors have no solid detailed concept of what is actually going on.  And the fact that they use the term "immediate withdrawal" to describe the Democratic position is right out of the Republican play book.

I implore our readers.  Do not mistake these two as member of the "very serious" foreign policy community.  That's not what they are.


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