The PI had an article today about General Petraeus' Iraq staff, and while I'm impressed by the credentials, I couldn't help but notice the very first paragraph.
Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who takes over today as U.S. commander in Iraq, is assembling a band of warrior-intellectuals in a crucial effort to reverse the downward trend in the Iraq war.
To win, or not to win, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the IED's and RPG's of the insurgency, or to take up armor in a sea of opposition, and by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by sleep we say we wish to end the hate and the thousand looks on the street that our soldiers are heir to, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream of being home: ay, there's the rub for our troops;
What we are missing in the occupation of Iraq is a way to end the occupation. What we need is a path towards an exit. It doesn't matter how many people with lots of training in how to win a war are collected in the Green Zone. What matters is their intent. If what they want to do is "win the war", then nothing will change. Nothing can change. Because the United States has already won the war. The war was the invasion, and what army could stand against 130,000 of the best trained troops in the world? What we have now is an occupation of a foreign land, where 80-85% of the population wants us gone even if that means a full-on civil war. They don't care, they just want us gone.
When our intent changes, maybe someone will start thinking about what really needs to be done in Iraq. When we decide that we don't want to stay inside the country being shot at, maybe someone with a heart will start asking questions. Questions like "What do the Iraqi people want?", or "How can the Iraqi people take charge of their own country?" We must stop doing the thinking for them. We must encourage their Parliament to pass resolutions and bills, and then help enforce those bills, even if they say "The United States is no longer welcome on Iraqi soil, and must leave." If that is their will, so mote it be.
Our intent should be peace. Our wish should be for an end to all violence. Our desires for the people of Iraq should be for full sovereignty. We must pull our troops out of that country, and be ready to do the bidding of the Iraqi government when they request it, how they request it, or not. Until that happens, we've already lost this "war".