1) Publicly announce the United States is abandoning any plans for permanent military bases in Iraq to make it absolutely clear our presence is temporary.
2) Publicly announce benchmarks that will trigger withdrawal of American troops, including approval of a constitution and election of a permanent government; specific levels of trained Iraqi troops and other security forces; and renunciation of demands by major Iraqi communities that are incompatible with a stable and pluralistic regime (e.g., Kurdish right to secede, Sunni Arab privileges in a strong central government, Iranian-style Islamic Republic).
3) Initiate direct negotiations with insurgents.
4) Renounce any public or private-sector U.S. designs for control of Iraqi natural resources
5) Launch an internationalized reconstruction effort which explicitly renounces U.S. exclusive privileges, with special attention to assistance from Sunni Arab countries
The goal would be to leave Iraq with a half-decent chance of maintaining a sustainable government without civil war, foreign domination, or a permament base of operations and recruitment for al Qaeda. The main strategy would be to convince, through carrots and sticks, the Kurds, Sunni Arabs, and Shi'a to step back from their maximalist demands, while creating trans-communal political and security institutions. The philosophy would be to dramatically invest Iraqis with complete responsibility for their common future. And while they would not provide a guaranteed, fixed date for final U.S. withdrawal, the benchmarks would immediately create tests for Iraqis that would either lead to greater stability in the country . . .
If only Kilgore got as much attention as Kos.
Reading the original article, there is ray of hope there. I disagree with the wording of several the points and perhaps one in its entirety but at least I could imagine sitting down and having a respectful debate with Mr. Kilgore.
The point I habe alot of problems with is direct negotiations with the insurgents... there was talk of this a while back but then only with some of the former regieme elements. Does Mr. Kilgore mean negotiating with Al Queda?
The larger point is while this is a ray of hope, is this going to make any headway in the Democratic Party? I read on a daily basis the Democrats are going to try and Bork Roberts despite the realization that they cannot stop him. Doesn't seem rationlity is in abundant supply over there.
I agree with anonymouse; I disagree with several aspects of this proposal, but I could imagine discussing those disagreements civilly with its author. I might even learn something.
It's a shame that Kilgore is so atypical of the current crop of Democratic commentators. The party got my vote with Pavlovian regularity right through '92, and now with a few honorable exceptions--Kilgore, Kaus, a few others--you can't even carry on a dialogue with them.
Heh. The other commenters didn't realize Jonathan was being sarcastic.
Kilgore isn't the most intellectually honest guy around
I can see the tactical value if we "Publicly announce the United States is abandoning any plans for permanent military bases in Iraq". My problem is that it is somewhat dishonest.
We are clealy going to be in Iraq for several more years, and we are consolidating bases there now. Perhaps we have to announce plans to not have permanent bases, in the sense that in ten or twenty years we will likely be gone.
But the honest answer on the ground is that we will put in bases and then take a wait and see approach regarding the ulitmate withdrawal. How is this any different than the bases in Germany, Japan, and South Korea?
More thoughts on bases here:
Direct negotiations with the insurgents makes no sense. Who are they? They can slink into the political process and negotiate with their countrymen if they feel like talking.
The idea that we should bend over backwards for the Sunnis inside and outside of Iraq is simply rewarding Sunni terrorism at this point.
Generally Kilgore is better than this but I do agree that he at least presents a defensible approach that goes beyond anklebiting.
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