Out? Not So Fast. Our Military Bases in Iraq Are Essential

That is the most sensible thing I've ever read on this subject. Blew my mind and changed it.

Posted by bob at October 7, 2007 12:26 PM

A hard nosed look at the grand strategy. Have you considered becoming an advisor at the Pentagon?

Barnett's THE PENTAGON'S NEW MAP was the softer version of why we are in Iraq. Unfortunately, Barnett has lost patience and turned on Bush, opining that he screwed everything up.

The gloves have still not come off, however, the new COIN tactics seem to be accomplishing a lot.

Implementation of oil revenue sharing might ratchet the violence even lower and ratchet the economic activity higher.

But even if violence in Iraq slows to a simmer there are still, as you say, the vasty numbers of Islamists who will continue to try to destroy Israel and establish the new Caliphate.

The path ahead continues to promise to be a long one. Will our politicians have the stamina to go the distance?

Posted by Jimmy J. at October 7, 2007 1:45 PM


Iraq was obviously a tactical decision, it has a real nice view of both Iran and Syria. and was easily taken, though we tend to spend way too much on countries we defeat afterwards.

sadly though, Bush underestimated the enemies closer to home i think. our greatest danger isn't the terrorists as much as it is the ignorant sniveling masses at home who think peace and freedom are a free commodity, despite the entirety of history that says otherwise.

Posted by Mark Krauss at October 7, 2007 4:47 PM

Variation on (2) above:
After 9-11, the lead target was Al-quida. How does one fight an enemy with no actual national home, aside from a source in a nation you can't really attack?
By making the enemy come to you.
The enemy could abandon the Taliban to their fate if need be. A challenge as close to the heart of arabia as Iraq is would, however, have the effect of drawing the bugs out of the woodwork.
Remember that the basic rule of power projection is to fight your wars in someone ELSE'S home, not your own.

Posted by ed in texas at October 7, 2007 4:50 PM

I always believed the strategy to fight on Iraqi soil was brilliant thus creating a magnet for every Islamic maggot to come there and get whacked. Sort of reminds me of Lincoln and his generals deciding that fighting on Southern soil would result in major attrition of the fighting age population and resources. Of course the Southerners would defend their homes, wouldn't you? In the process the Union armies (despite treason at home) left the South a smoldering pile of ash. BTW - Victor Davis Hanson is a brilliant military historian and has great insights into these matters. I would love to hear his critique of the above article.

Posted by Pickett at October 8, 2007 5:07 AM

The real problem, of course, is American politicians. We desperately need our own Franco/Pinochet.

Posted by Bob Sykes at October 8, 2007 6:10 AM

The above article reaches a level of cognitive reasoning and rationale that few seem to do. Unfortunately for all of us is the fact that the vast majority of the American population (along with the rest of the world) will continue to remain oblivious, therefore ignorant of the strategic realities and necessities associated with our (the U.S.'s)interests, thus involvement, in events relative to that part of the world. In other words, the more pragmatic side of the issues, associated with why we are and must continue to be, steadfast in helping to bring about democracy to Iraq, will continue to be lost in the philosophically driven emotional fray of the war and all that it entails. Like they say, "ignorance is bliss". To which, it is also the easiest and least resistive path to delusional self rightiousness. Just ask many of our politicians.

Posted by Al Pippin at October 8, 2007 11:07 AM

This may well be mostly correct.

However, as regards water:
The Euphrates (and its tributary the Nahr al Khabur) flows through Syria for c.500 miles before entering Iraq.
The main water source for western Syria, are the Orontes, which flows from Lebanon, and other sources out of the Lebanese highlands.

Saudi Arabia AFAIK sources no water from Iraq; it depends on the rainfall in the Hejaz uplands (the southern Hejaz is far from being arid desert), underground reservoirs, and desalination plants on the Red Sea and Persian Gulf coasts (vital for the second).

Several significant rivers actually flow from Iran into Iraq: the Little Zab, Gavrud, Meymeh, Kharkeh.
The lower Tigris flows through Iraq and then has a bank shared with Iran, and may be significant resource for the Khorromshahr/Abadan area; howerver they also have the sizable Karun, flowing entirely in Iran.
The other main urban concentrations of Iran inc. Tehran are removed from Iraq by one or two mountain ranges, and mostly have adequate local water supply.

Turkey is certainly a "water power" in the region; Iraq, hardly. The one country Iraq might become a valuable water supplier for in the short-to-medium term is Kuwait.

Posted by John SF at October 9, 2007 2:11 AM

An impressive analysis, and correct. How long have we been in Germany? In Korea?

The best thing W did was to hire Cheney and Rumsfeld. These guys were running the government when we were in diapers. They are so despised today. Yet, do you think they did all this based on emotion? Who else would you want to make the call? Hillary? Pelosi? Reid?

No, since 9/11 the war has been fought "over there." It is a war.

Whatever you think about W, he's got cajones.

I juxtapose the new series on WWII against our current situation, and sometimes I am frightened by the pathetic state of our loyal opposition leadership. Is there a bigger joke than Reid? Does my family's security depend on him?

Thank you for your fine work.

Posted by Terry Kirkpatrick at October 10, 2007 8:11 PM

Terry Kirkpatrick:

sometimes I am frightened by the pathetic state of our loyal opposition leadership.

"Loyal?" You're being too generous. Or optimistic.

Posted by rickl at October 12, 2007 8:19 PM


Yes, we must choose our words carefully. I read three pieces today that said we can expect a nuclear event in this country. And we have these losers in Washington. On both sides of the aisle. The political class is failing us. Why? How did this happen?


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