Out of options and out of credit
Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack start a lengthy Washington Post piece by observing
The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war.
and their assessment only gets gloomier from there on in, pointing to the disaster as a source of further regional conflict, a recruiting poster and training ground for terrorists, massive flows of refugees and so on. They have essentially nothing positive to suggest except for the observation (for which General Shinseki got fired before the war) that
Considering Iraq’s much larger population, it probably would require 450,000 troops to quash an all-out civil war there. Such an effort would require a commitment of enormous military and economic resources, far in excess of what the United States has already put forth.
Since the commitment of 450 000 troops is even less likely now than it was in 2003, the conclusion is, in effect, that the situation is hopeless.
We’re well past the point where admissions of error will do any good. Still, I’m stunned that Pollack could write
How Iraq got to this point is now an issue for historians (and perhaps for voters in 2008); what matters today is how to move forward
This was so brazen that I thought I must have got him confused with someone else. But no, it’s the same Kenneth Pollack who wrote The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq