Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What to do?

I am frustrated, baffled and saddened by the situation in Iraq. I've made all the usual arguments against the war back before it began, continued arguing against the war early in its conception and, finally, lambasted Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney and crew for their handling of the war.
But now it's time to figure out how to proceed and, as we've all heard more often than is tolerable, there are no good solutions.
As I understand the situation to date we either A. send more troops and kill more people (hopefully the right people, as opposed to innocent bystanders), or B. begin an organized pullout to some distant location where our troops would be on standby alert in case total war erupts between every nation in the region (I'm not being facetious here, really!).
The president and his supporters tell us that if we pull out the consequences would horrendous.
But the president has been so wrong for so long about so many things regarding Iraq and the Middle East that I find the argument lacking credibility, to say the least.
However, I do understand the notion of emboldening terrorists of every stripe by leaving Iraq in a quagmire of civil war, with no real government and no leadership to unify the nation.
I've heard some argue that Iraq ceased to exist when we deposed Saddam because the Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds hate one another and the only thing keeping them from exacting revenge on one another was the polarizing power that Saddam wielded.
That argument rings true to my ears, but is it an ideal outcome for the Middle East, or for the people of the fractured nation of Iraq.
If we put in more troops, what would the plan entail? The president has a way of presenting policy statements so that one knows less than enough to determine what the policy actually is. Ya know?
I've heard Sen. McCain say we need more troops to exert our will in Fallujah, Baghdad and other hotbed cities where sectarian violence is bleeding the nation dry. I guess that means we'd send in Marines to blow hell out of everything in sight and kill anything that moves until only the meek, frightened and wounded remained alive??? I mean, really, that seems like the only way to exert power over the fighting factions in Iraq. If a single strongman leader were to appear, one that had a good sense of geopolitical strategy, one who is mostly sane, reasonable and able to deliver a cessation to the beheadings, shootings, bombings and kidnappings, that would be an answer to our prayers, seems to me. But I don't see a central figure who casts a broad enough shadow to command the allegiance of those harried, broken, angry people.
So what do we do?
If the unknown outcome of pulling out is too terrifying to contemplate (I don't really understand why that should be, but for the sake of argument I'll go with the flow) then staying is our only option. But staying under the current circumstances is intolerable and unacceptable.
So what to do? Anyone?