Winning in Iraq

From the US perspective, the war in Iraq was won when the following occurred:

1. Iraqis turned out in large numbers to democratically elect a moderate government which is not an enemy of the US.

2. The Iraqi security forces reached a stage where they outgunned and outmanned the insurgents so that the insurgents would not be able to topple the government.

Continued US presence makes it easier for the Iraqis to defeat the insurgents, but it is not actually necessary. They will win on their own regardless, it will just take longer and be bloodier. The continued US presence can be considered a form of foreign aid. It's actually effective foreign aid, as opposed to pouring money down a rat hole in Africa.

So you can only talk about a future theoretical loss. This could come about by:

1. Iraqis democratically choosing to be an enemy of the US.

2. An Iraqi military coup.

3. An external invasion.

And any of these 3 things could happen even 1000 years from now, long after the US has left Iraq. Would that be called a "loss"?

You can prevent scenarios 2 and 3 happening by leaving a small number of US troops in Iraq, or AT LEAST be ready to reenter Iraq if it happens. To prevent scenario 1 from happening you have to be willing to attack Iraqi infrastructure from the air until they change their mind.

The fact that the US is being benevolent by helping the Iraqis out for longer than strictly necessary is irrelevant. The US is helping out Australia (troops in Pine Gap, ANZUS alliance) too. When will Australia be classified as a victory? The benevolence should end in Nov 2007 when the Iraqis assume control of all their territory. Then it's time to benevolently liberate the Iranians (but just do the initial war, don't disband the old army and don't hang around).

Also read this link about myths in Iraq.

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