Commentary on the present and future of culture, politics, economics, and social values................... "At any given instant/All solids dissolve, no wheels revolve,/And facts have no endurance." W.H. Auden.

Monday, November 22, 2004


Watch for the development of a major policy debate in the US over the reduction of military forces in Iraq.

The surprise will be that the Pentagon hawks and neocons who championed the US intervention in Iraq will now argue for the downsizing of the US military presence in that country:

A growing number of national security specialists who supported the
toppling of Saddam Hussein are moving to a position unthinkable even a few months ago: that the large US military presence is impeding stability as much as contributing to it and that the United States shouldbegin major reductions in troops beginning early next year.

Their assessments, expressed in reports, think tank meetings, and interviews, run counter to the Bush administration's
insistence that the troops will remain indefinitely to establish security.But some contend that the growing support for an earlier pullout could alter the administration's thinking.

Those arguing for immediate troop reductions
include key Pentagon advisers, prominent neoconservatives, and some of the fiercest supporters of the Iraq invasion among Washington's policy elite.

The core of their arguments is that even as the US-led coalition goes on the offensive against the insurgency, the United States, by its very presence, is stimulating the resistance.

The argument for troop reduction is a recognition that US policy is not working by the very individuals who formulated the policy.

It is also a recognition of the over-extension of US military commitment, at a rtime when the Pentagon wants to press the case against Iran and North Korea.

The problem, of course, is that disengaging from Iraq may not be so easy. The possibility that US military may be replaced by newly-trained Iraqi police and military has something of a dream quality to it: wishful thinking but doubtful. Once you grab the tiger by the tail, it is difficult and dangerous to let go.

In any case, it is now clear that the Bush Administration is trying to formulate an exit strategy.

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