Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On Iraq Zinni Agrees With McCain: Less Troops Is More Trouble

As an add-on to yesterday's note on the faulty logic behind the rush to the Iraqi exit door after the US midterms, the NYT's Michael Gordon brings this article today "Get Out Now? Not So Fast, Experts Say" quoting, among others, Zinni:

Anthony C. Zinni, the former head of the United States Central Command and one of the retired generals who called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, argued that any substantial reduction of American forces over the next several months would be more likely to accelerate the slide to civil war than stop it.

“The logic of this is you put pressure on Maliki and force him to stand up to this,” General Zinni said in an interview, referring to Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister. “Well, you can’t put pressure on a wounded guy. There is a premise that the Iraqis are not doing enough now, that there is a capability that they have not employed or used. I am not so sure they are capable of stopping sectarian violence.”

Instead of taking troops out, General Zinni said, it would make more sense to consider deploying additional American forces over the next six months to “regain momentum” as part of a broader effort to stabilize Iraq that would create more jobs, foster political reconciliation and develop more effective Iraqi security forces.

Speaking of the importance of fixing the political and exonomic side as part of a Phase IV or counterinsurgency or post-conflict S&R or whatever you like to call it, Hans Binnendijk was in Copenhagen recently with some interesting analyses. Danish speakers may go for this interview from P1 Orientering. I might return to some of his NATO related points in a later post as we approach the Riga Summit.

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