The situation in Iraq is, to put not too fine a point on it, a real mess.
Despite President Bush proclaiming, “mission accomplished” in 2003, the ongoing bombings and attacks on coalition personnel prove otherwise.
The situation has not been helped by the disclosure of USA troops abusing prisoners. Quite how the military and politicians thought that this was a good way to extract information is beyond me.
It is fair to say that as a result of this, the American brand image is at an all time low.
The USA and coalition are now faced with some tough decisions. The easiest option would be to cut and run. In the short term, this would save coalition lives. However, in the long run it would be disastrous:
- Iraq would descend into even more chaos, and many thousands more Iraqi civilians would die; as various factions fight it out for control.
- The temptation for other countries in the region to interfere would be great. Before long, the Middle East would dissolve into chaos and war.
- The oil supply to the rest of the world, would be threatened; and the world economy would sink into recession.
- The terrorists would be emboldened by the withdrawal, and step up their attacks elsewhere.
In short, withdrawal is not an option.
Here’s what needs to be done; it is neither palatable, nor easy:
- Stop abusing prisoners.
- Punish those responsible for the abuse, and those who gave the orders.
- Get the power back on in Iraq.
- Remove the military control of the procurement and funding allocation process in Iraq.
- Install a civilian administration as soon as possible in Iraq.
- Leave as soon as all the above have been done.
- Reduce the West’s reliance on oil.
It’s going to be a long summer!