Clay Cramer is NOT a "cut-and-run" guy. He tells us that his wife is growing tired of seeing the daily carnage in Iraq. (So is any sentient American.)
So he penned an outline of his "what would YOU do"? response:
Here's his prelude and strategic overview:
As I have explained in the past, democracy in the Middle East may be the last real hope to avoid a direct clash of Islam vs. the rest of the world. That confrontation is one that we can win--but only by nuking hundreds of millions of the world's Muslims, which is morally repugnant, and with probably millions of dead in the non-Muslim world.
Now for the tactics:
It appears at this time that little serious effort is being made to shut off the importation of both al-Qaeda fighters (largely across the Syrian and Saudi borders) and more importantly, the explosives that are being used in the IEDs. At the start, the IEDs were often made from artillery shells, but accounts that I have been reading indicate that increasingly there is nothing improvised about these weapons, and there is almost certainly Iranian government involvement. There are several thousand miles of border. Define a 10 kilometer free fire zone inside the Iraqi border. Declare that anyone crossing the border into Iraq except at the small number of controlled border crossing is liable to be shot on sight. Air patrols would be relatively low risk of American deaths compared to patrols in Baghdad or Ramadi--and shutting off the importation of more fighters and explosives would eventually cool off some of the chaos--perhaps to a point where the Iraqi government could handle this themselves.
I am becoming convinced that our military needs to withdraw completely from urban settings, and primarily exist to provide air cover and emergency reserve support for Iraqi forces chasing the terrorists. It sounds like the Iraqis still aren't up to an operational state on this--but if this much time hasn't gotten them to that state, maybe they aren't going to be to that state.
At least part of the economic problems of Iraq are a shortage of money. Why? Because they are having a hard time exporting oil, because terrorists keeping blowing up the pipelines and port facilities. It would look bad (like the invasion was about oil), but Coalition forces might be better spent protecting those parts of the system that are under attack. Once Iraq is exporting ten million barrels a day, they will have enough money to put every Iraqi young man to work rebuilding the country.
While I don't think that many of the native-born terrorists are launching these vicious attacks because they are just unemployed, I do think that enhancing the economic status of the average Iraqi worker has the potential to make those who may be giving cover or assistance to the native-born terrorists less willing to do so.
In sum: close the borders, become a "reserve" and oil-facilities guard force, get some cash into the country's coffers, and tell the Iraqis to stand up and run their own defense.
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