The principle guiding my decisions on troop levels in Iraq is "return on success." The more successful we are, the more American troops can return home.” And in all we do, I will ensure that our commanders on the ground have the troops and flexibility they need to defeat the enemy.What this says to me is that until they succeed, they don't get to come home. And if success is impossible? If it is not possible to defeat this enemy? Where is he going to get the troops? More stop-loss actions? Longer rotations with shorter breaks? A draft?
What if this mess simply can't be solved by anything this man knows how to do?
I remember reading that generals don't like to have a president who hasn't seen combat, because he is too willing to throw the troops into unnecessary wars. And of the officials who had anything to do with this war, only Colin Powell had combat experience, and Colin Powell didn't think this war was such a good idea.
THE former American secretary of state Colin Powell has revealed that he spent 2½ hours vainly trying to persuade President George W Bush not to invade Iraq and believes today’s conflict cannot be resolved by US forces.I don't know what we are going to do now. Powell is right, we can't just pull the troops out. Our invasion made this mess. We have to work on cleaning it up. But, I also don't think that continuing to do what we have been doing is going to make it better. Some say that Iraq is going to fall apart when we leave, no matter what we do, and no matter when that is. And if that's so, perhaps we should leave now rather than see how many more dead Iraqis and coalition forces we can rack up. Before we have sold our grandchildren into indentured servatude to pay for this major bollix.
“I tried to avoid this war,” Powell said at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado. “I took him through the consequences of going into an Arab country and becoming the occupiers.”
Powell has become increasingly outspoken about the level of violence in Iraq, which he believes is in a state of civil war. “The civil war will ultimately be resolved by a test of arms,” he said. “It’s not going to be pretty to watch, but I don’t know any way to avoid it. It is happening now.”
He added: “It is not a civil war that can be put down or solved by the armed forces of the United States.” All the military could do, Powell suggested, was put “a heavier lid on this pot of boiling sectarian stew”.
***According to Powell, the US cannot “blow a whistle one morning” and have all American forces just leave. ***Powell believes that a reduction in US forces will have to be accompanied by talks with Syria and Iran. “You have to talk to the people you dislike most in this dangerous world.”
The general and former joint chiefs of staff added: “Shi’ites will ultimately prevail because they are 60% of the population and their militias can be pretty violent. They will prevail also because they are determined not to be ruled again by the Sunnis.
“The Sunnis are struggling for power and survival and it’s going to be resolved by a test of arms. It’s going to be very ugly.”
I think I agree with Powell that we need to bring Syria and Iran into it. Perhaps all of the Arab and Persian countries. And the UN. Things might be less explosive with UN Peace Keepers on the ground instead of an occupying force.