January 23, 2005

No Silver Bullet

Anyone following the occupation in Iraq knows that we haven't been able to whip up the Iraqi security forces into battle-ready shape. And most of us know that the U.S. won't be able to leave until we get that accomplished. So, naturally enough, we all want to see some sort of new and improved plan for getting the training done. Some bright idea. Something. Anything.

The problem, though, is that whatever new approach the Pentagon comes up with will be distinguished mostly by minor technical changes (varying up the training courses, finding new ways of integrating competent Iraqis in new units, etc.), rather than any sort of Bold New Method. As such, I don't really feel competent to judge whether the military's latest idea—to put more Iraqis out on the street, in place of American patrols—will actually work or not. The devil's all in the details. Prima facie, yeah, it could work. Or the new Iraqi patrols could just scatter and retreat and fail to fight like they've always done, in which case we'd be right back at square one, needing to send American troops back into the street.

But at this point, what else can be done? Condoleeza Rice was rightly horsewhipped by the Senate for not getting the Iraqi troops trained, but it's not as if there's some obvious way to do things out there, and she's just not doing it because she's an evil and dumb conservative. No, no. It's simply all fucked.

-- Brad Plumer 5:03 PM || ||