Pretty much everything I write here these days seems to be a criticism of America Abroad. Great blog, though I have yet to be satisfied with a single post they've written.
James Lindsay concludes that the only available action for the US is to "stay the course in Iraq." He arrives at this (startling!) conclusion by the process of elimination: withdrawal would embolden the insurgency, a troop increase would alienate Iraqis.
This just goes to show you why we need foreign policy experts. Where would we get incisive analysis like this without them?
Meanwhile, Lindsay's post illustrates why I have trouble forming opinions about Iraq. Now those who trust Bush should have no trouble deferring to his judgement; but because I belive that Bush had misled the public on many occasions, I feel the need to form an independent opinion. And its hard, because its entirely unclear what consequences each action would produce.
A troop increase would alienate Iraqis. OK. How much? Enough to give a substantial boost to insurgency? Enough to alienate them from the political process? Enough to create problems for the US even after the benefits an increase in security would provide?
Troop withdrawal would embolden the insurgency. OK. How much? Enough to win the war against the Iraqi troops we have trained, of which there are, according our illustrious defense department, hundreds of thousands? And what exactly are the chances of a civil war in Iraq after an American pullout?
The public needs expert answers to these questions, answers that are not being provided by our cheerfully optimistic (insurgency is in its last throes!) administration. Unfortunately democratic foreign policy experts are not providing them either.
Update: Anne-Marie Slaughter writes a must-read followup to the Lindsay post.