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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Gradualists and Confrontationists

David Brooks has a good Op-Ed in the New York Times on competing methods of battling the insurgency.

The debate on how to proceed in Iraq is not between the hawks and the doves: it's within the hawk community, and it's between the gradualists and the confrontationalists.
He goes on to describe the differing positions and give pros and cons for each. He does conclude though, and I agree, the the gradualists have the best answer here.
It's depressing to realize how strong the case against each option is. But the weight of the argument is on the gradualist side. That's mostly because people like Ayad Allawi deserve a chance to succeed. These people in the interim government are scorned as stooges and U.S. puppets, but they're risking and sometimes giving their lives for their country. Let's take the time to give them a shot.
I think that their is one place in this debate for a confrontationalist attitude though. It is clear that the various factions of the Iraqi insurgency are recieving foreign support. Sadr's rebellion was definately backed by Iran. Zarqawi's forces certainly have recieved support from individuals, if not governments, in Syria, Saudi Arabia, and other Gulf states. We should use every diplomatic effort to convince these governments that a proxy war against the United States and the people of Iraq is not in their best interest. Hopefully, military action will not be required to get these governments to take strong steps to stop the flow of men and money to the insurgency but military actions should not be ruled out. I don't know how much outside influence is fueling the Iraqi insurgencies. My guess is, that it is signifigant. Arab states understand that a Democratic Iraq is a threat to their autocratic rule, but with proper big stick diplomacy, I think we can persuade them that supporting the insurgency is an even great risk.


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