When idiots think
NATO to the Rescue The United States can't save Iraq. Here's who can.
By Jacob Weisberg
Posted Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006, at 3:33 PM ET
Without a military force separating Sunnis and Shiites, the present savagery could go Cambodian, with remaining secular democrats as the first victims. A power vacuum could provide a new operational base for al-Qaida and severe sectarian violence (call it what you prefer) could spiral into all-out civil war and regional conflict. As awful as it is now, Iraq would surely get much, much worse if we yanked our troops.
Actually, it would be a closer analogy to say we were training the Khmer Rouge, more than preventing genocide. Every Shia we train is a soldier for Sadr.
This mismatch suggests a final disaster-mitigation strategy: Replace departing American troops with a more effective referee.
This idea was a non-starter in 2003 and now? Let's establish a central fact. Iraqis do not want to be occupied.
Where might troops come from? The most willing providers would probably be "new" Europeans such as the Poles, who remain eager to demonstrate their cooperative capabilities and earn some cash. Muslim troops might come from neighboring Jordan and Turkey, which have obvious stakes in preventing the refugee crisis that would attend violent partition.
You know, Doug Feith has competition for the stupidest man alive, and he now writes for Slate. The Poles have been in Iraq since 2003. Jordan is filled with Palestinians who would look dimly upon trying to help the US. When the US idiotically proposed having the Turks help with the occupation, no one in Iraq thought it was a good idea. The Kurds least of all, because of that genocide thing. You know, the 20 year war against the PKK.
Western European nations would be reluctant, but possibly willing, to contribute when faced with the consequences of inaction. For France and Germany, the bargain would involve Bush admitting, at least implicitly, that his previous unilateralism was bad and wrong. Call it the Coalition of the Grudging.
Really? Considering their committements in Lebanon and Afghanistan, how are they going to find more men to join our colonial war. After three years, what magic words could be used to persuade Europeans to go to Iraq.
.................... A NATO-led deployment in Iraq could follow the model of Afghanistan, where a 32,000-person NATO-plus-11 force is controlling an insurgency, sustaining a weak but viable government, and preventing multiparty civil war. This is precisely what needs to happen in Iraq.
No, 320,000 troops might help that, but they don't exist, as apparently Weisberg's access to Lexis-Nexis, Google or a bookstore.
There are, of course, enormous obstacles to raising such a force. But a mission to save Iraq from doom would fit NATO's growing scope and evolving post-Cold War doctrine, which includes peacekeeping projects, counterterrorism, and dealing with instability spawned by failing states. With the United States now essentially incapacitated by its mistakes, an effective military consortium of the world's democracies—which is what NATO is evolving toward—is more necessary than ever.
Yeah, like the French and German governments never approving such a deployment. Bush had to beg the Germans to deploy to help the Brits and Canadians in southern Afghanistan.
So, where's Richard Holbrooke when you need him? Mustering such a force and negotiating its rules of engagement would be a heroic diplomatic undertaking, as it was in Bosnia. A NATO agreement to step in would have to piggyback on a Dayton-like grand compromise, in which the leading Iraqi factions agreed to stop beheading each other in exchange for international aid and security guarantees.
Listen, Jake, here's the deal. A compromise for aid in Iraq isn't going to happen. The Japanese would be allowed to station troops in China first. Why? Because for hundreds of years, the Shia have gotten the shit end of the stick. THEY HAVE NO REASON TO DEAL. They are thisclose to paying back the Sunni and running all of Iraq. They have no problem with genocide. And there isn't much we can do to stop it. And the other problem is that the people doing the talking aren't the people who can secure a deal. And the people who are able to make a deal don't feel like talking.
posted by Steve @ 2:55:00 PM