Home
In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Sept. 8, 2006 / 15 Elul, 5766

Iraq: A civil war we can still win

By Charles Krauthammer


Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As the Democrats turn themselves into the antiwar party, as popular support for the war continues to sink, as some who initially signed on to the war now heap scorn on the entire Iraqi project, the question of immediate withdrawal must be confronted.


There are two rationales for withdrawing from — let's be honest, abandoning — Iraq: (a) Iraq is not worth it, and (b) worth it or not, the cause is lost.


The first rationale was articulated most recently by John Kerry: "Iraq is not the center of the war on terror. The president keeps saying it is. The president keeps trying to push that down America's throat. It's wrong, it's a mistake and it's losing us the ability to do what we need to do in the region." This is absurd. If the United States leaves, the central government in Iraq will collapse, and the beneficiaries will be Iran, Syria and al-Qaeda, the three major terrorist actors in the world today. It would not just be a psychological victory but also a territorial one. Al-Qaeda would gain a base in Mesopotamia; Syria and Iran would share spheres of influence in what's left of the Iraqi state.


We might come out of this with an independent Kurdistan that could be a base for U.S. military power, but it would be a shrunken presence in a roiling area, a tragically small consolation prize.


One can argue that we should therefore have left Saddam Hussein in place. That assumes a stable and benign status quo ante . Both assumptions are false. But assume for a moment that the critics are right. That's the argument that should have been made — that Kerry should have made — four years ago, before he voted yes, before he voted no, before he voted yes on the war. At this point, it is simply indisputable that the collapse of Iraq's constitutional government would represent an enormous gain for the forces of terror.


The other rationale for withdrawal is that the war is lost and therefore it is unconscionable to make one more American soldier die for a cause that cannot be salvaged.


It is a serious argument from which we have been distracted during the past several months by the increasingly absurd debate over the meaning of the term "civil war," and whether Iraq is in one.


Of course it is. It began when the Sunni minority, unwilling to accept the finality of the Baathist defeat, began making indiscriminate war on the Kurdish-Shiite majority that had inherited the country as a result of the U.S. invasion.


Iraq is not Spain in the 1930s or America in the 1860s, but whether the phrase "civil war" is to be used is irrelevant. The relevant question is, can we still win, meaning can we leave behind a functioning, self-sustaining, Western-friendly constitutional government?


And that depends on whether the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki can face up to its two potentially mortal threats: the Sunni insurgency and the challenge from Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.


The vast majority of Sunnis are fighting not for ideology but for a share of power and (oil) money. A deal with them is eminently possible and could co-opt enough Sunnis to greatly shrink the insurgency. Even now, the insurgents have the capacity to massacre civilians and kill coalition soldiers with roadside bombs, but they have never demonstrated the capacity for the kind of sustained unit action that ultimately overthrows governments and wins civil wars. (See Castro, Mao, North Vietnam.) Our ambassador in Baghdad has been urging the Maliki government to make the bargain. He has also been urging it to get serious about the growing internal threat of Sadr's Mahdi Army, which is responsible for much of the recent sectarian violence and threatens to either marginalize or supplant the central government.


The only positive element in Sadr's rise has been a fracturing of the united Shiite front that can now allow some cross-sectarian (Sunni-Shiite) deals and alliances. But that requires a Maliki government decisively willing to deal with the Sunnis and take on Sadr.


Yesterday Maliki took over operational control of the Iraqi armed forces, the one national security institution that works. He needs to demonstrate the will to use it. The American people will support a cause that is noble and necessary, but not one that is unwinnable. And without a central Iraqi government willing to act in its own self-defense, this war will be unwinnable.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment on Charles Krauthammer's column by clicking by clicking here.

Archives

© 2006 WPWG

Columnists

Toons

Lifestyles