Friday, September 07, 2007

Coming Together on Iraq Divide

It's not often that this blog is on the same page on the subject of Iraq as Washington Post's conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer.

This crafter of the "Reagan Doctrine" supported the preemptive invasion of Iraq, although he kept in mind the downside, stating on the eve of the war in 2003.... "reformation and reconstruction of an alien culture are a daunting task. Risky and, yes arrogant." Indeed. Not to mention imperialistic.

In February 2004, a worried Krauthammer cautioned on the war, "it may yet fail. But we cannot afford not to try. There is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the monster behind 9/11. It's not Osama bin Laden; it is the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance,and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world--- oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism."

All of the buzz words here, "9/11, ".... regimes with no legitimacy,".... "anti-Americanism."

So, today, it was surprising, but welcome, to read in Krauthammer's weekly column his current thinking.... "The Partitioning of Iraq."

It is worth quoting his latest turn of mind: "A weak, partitioned Iraq is not the best outcome. We had hoped for much more. Our original objective was a democratic and unified post-Hussein Iraq. But it has turned out to be a bridge too far. We tried to give the Iraqis a republic, but their leaders turned out to be, tragically, too driven by sectarian sentiment, by an absence of national identity, and by the habits of suspicion and maneuver cultivated during decades in the underground of Saddam Hussein's totalitarian state.

"All of this was exacerbated by post-invasion U.S. strategic errors.... we now have to look for the second-best outcome."

Those who opposed the war would argue that the neocons should have known the Iraqis and their culture before our "risky" and "arrogant" invasion. But, that would be to dwell on how we got into the mess we're in, as tempting as that is, and not on a way forward.

Krauthammer credits presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) along with other "thoughtful scholars and politicians" with long calling for partition. And he hopes for success of such a solution because unlike other colonial-style partitions, "The lines today are being drawn organically by self-identified communities and tribes. Which makes the new arrangement more likely to last."

We can only hope The Decider will listen to this common sense solution offered by all sides of the political spectrum.

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