What to Do About the Wars
By Ivan Eland
As President Obama pooh-poohed as old news the many WikiLeaks documents showing the sad state of the conflict in Afghanistan, the chief executive also began an entire month of crowing about keeping his campaign promise to “bring the war in Iraq to a responsible end.” But in both wars, the president’s strategies are flawed and need to be replaced with new ones.
In Iraq, few serious analysts are gullible enough to believe that all U.S. forces will be withdrawn from the country as scheduled by the end of 2011. Most believe that the U.S. government will renegotiate the status of forces agreement with any new Iraqi government – making the heroic assumption that there is a new Iraqi government by next year – to leave some forces permanently in that country. That move would be ill advised, because, although the American media and public seem to believe that Iraq is on the road to becoming a stable democracy, it is very likely that larger-scale violence will resume as U.S. forces are reduced. Recent bombings and violence lead to serious questions about whether Iraqi security forces will be able to handle the already rising ethno-sectarian violence without a substantial American military presence. The various ethno-sectarian militias have never been disarmed and have been likely laying low until the U.S. drawdown is further along, much as the Taliban did in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2005.