January 6, 2007
Disengaging is hard to do
By Bill Kraus
It is possible that there is someone in power in this country who doesn't want to find an honorable way out of the war in Iraq. If so, he or she should see a psychiatrist about a treatment for masochism immediately.
The difficulty is finding a way out that is not only honorable (which may have to be discarded as a condition) but that does no further harm to us and to them.
My bet is that the predicted surge strategy that Bush is to offer next week is going to be predicated on the assumption and hope that it will be followed by a disengaging recoil.
A man named Conley Montgomery called the other day with another suggestion.
"What we should do," Conley said, "is tell the Iraqis that our invasion and occupation was based on misinformation and has caused a lot of harm.
"Some of it is not reversible. Some is," he went on. "The way to repair the latter damage is to treat Iraq the way we treated Germany and Japan after WWII. Give them a modern day equivalent of the Marshall Plan. Offer to send the money they need to get their country up and running on their own."
This would allow us to remove our troops and reconstruction crews of every description so they can do what needs doing in ways that work for their them in their incomprehensible (to us) culture, Conley claims.
Will it work? Only one way to find out.
Will we try it? History is not encouraging. Our two prior disengagements had to be preceded by a regime change in the U.S.
Truman couldn't get a resolution in Korea. Johnson couldn't get us out of Vietnam. We had to elect new presidents who we thought would disengage or who said they would.
So Bush has a chance to make history.
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