Go Big. Go Long. Go Home.

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in War

These are apparently the strategies recommended by the Pentagon…

Go Big = Add a lot more troops in and stay put until things are stable.
Go Long = Pull out most troops, but have a longer presence.
Go Home = Get the hell out of there as soon as possible.

However, in true corporate fashion, it appears as if they’re going to go with a mixture of Go Big and Go Long.

Jeezus…

Here’s more from Wash Post:

The group has devised a hybrid plan that combines part of the first option with the second one — “Go Long” — and calls for cutting the U.S. combat presence in favor of a long-term expansion of the training and advisory efforts. Under this mixture of options, which is gaining favor inside the military, the U.S. presence in Iraq, currently about 140,000 troops, would be boosted by 20,000 to 30,000 for a short period, the officials said.

The purpose of the temporary but notable increase, they said, would be twofold: To do as much as possible to curtail sectarian violence, and also to signal to the Iraqi government and public that the shift to a “Go Long” option that aims to eventually cut the U.S. presence is not a disguised form of withdrawal.

This hybrid approach, this “Go Sort-Of Big And Then Slowly Go Home” will not work because…drum roll please…this has been our strategy all along. We stand down as they stand up. And 30,000 more troops will not make a difference. The only option that would work to actually win this thing is “Go Big”, but we’re not going to do that. We need 5 times that number and everybody knows it.

Here’s the thing. I’m becoming convinced that we can not win. That’s why we need to go home as soon as possible and let the Iraqis sort it out for themselves.


This entry was posted on Monday, November 20th, 2006 and is filed under War. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “Go Big. Go Long. Go Home.”

  1. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    “That’s why we need to go home as soon as possible and let the Iraqis sort it out for themselves.”

    I wonder how many would die in that sorting out? And I wonder what such a sorting out would look like in five years — favorable to our national interests or a serious threat? We’re left choosing between bad choices and worse choices — the trick is to figure out which is the least bad choice. And for that, we can’t think about short-term concerns but must think about long-term implications for our national security (we should also weigh our moral obligations but we’re probably past the point where that’s something most people would be willing to consider).

    It’s a mess. I don’t pretend to have the solution but going home seems, to me, to be the least likely to result in a stable Iraq that is not a threat to us or the region.

  2. Justin Gardner Says:

    It’s a mess. I don’t pretend to have the solution but going home seems, to me, to be the least likely to result in a stable Iraq that is not a threat to us or the region.

    I disagree. Right now there is no incentive for the Iraqis to get organized and stand up. They can just keep on doing nothing and having us fund their recovery. But that goes against the very idea of Democracy itself. These different factions need to take responsibility…that’s the only way this is going to get fixed.

    Also, the CW around the world is that Iraq is unwinnable. If that’s the case, it makes a lot more sense for us to get out of there and let it mend itself. The sooner the better.

    And who’s to say that Go Home won’t result in fewer deaths in the long run. That’s what we should focus on now…the long run. Otherwise, we’re doomed to repeat our recent histories in other quagmires.

  3. BenG Says:

    Guys, the way I see it we did win– for the 2 reasons we went in for in the first place: 1)weapons of mass destrct (public reason) and, 2) disposing of Sadam (personal reason).
    WMD? There were none found… yet. I love it when someone says that, as if “any day now”. You haven’t lost a war simply by starting it for the INCORRECT REASONS. We kind of let the administration off the hook on that one–until the last election, that is. If you start something for all the wrong reasons it never turns out right and you’re better off cuttin your losses asap. But I have to side with A.S.C. on this one. We did this and are responsible for fixin it…good luck !

  4. Meredith Says:

    Maybe a dumb question, but what would things look like if “we won”?

    If that means we have to leave with all three factions holding hands and operating a democracy like ours – no, that’s not going to happen, and if anyone ever thought it would, they are nuts!

    As long as we make sure no one is giving nukes to terrorists, do we really care what happens? If these three groups want to fight each other for power in Iraq, we need to step aside. There must be a way for us to monitor things without “staying the course.”

  5. BenG Says:

    No Mam, that’s not a dumb question. The stupid thing is that someone actually got away with selling us on the idea that “all 3 factions are going to hold hands and oparate a democracy like our own”. How ridiculous was that plan in hindsight ?

  6. Kevin Says:

    BenG, I have to disagree with you. Regardless of the success of the invasion, the war isn’t won until some end game is achieved that leaves you better off than where you started. Fighting a war without a clear view of what that end game looks like, is synonymous with fighting for nothing. Unless it’s somehow an improvement to leave Iraq in civil war with stronger influence from Al Qaeda and Iran, we are losing.

    Just to give my thoughts on Meridith’s question, victory could have taken 2 flavors.
    1 – Iraq becomes a wholy owned colony in all but name. We run the joint, pay for it with their own oil and the price at the pumps is about 1.00 a gallon. Halliburton’s stock does well.
    2 – The Iraqi’s actually do “stand up”, new government stabalizes Iraq and fights off influence from Al Qaeda and Iran. In other words, just like having Saddam around except less Iraqis get killed.

  7. hiraethin Says:

    Of the objectives for going to war in Iraq, all have been accomplished, leaving only two. First, to leverage the war and the regime change as a positive influence and force for change in the region. Second, to liberate the people of Iraq and help them achieve both peace and freedom.

    There are three ways that the first objective could be accomplished – (1) by retaining a significant military presence in Iraq indefinitely; (2) by assisting the Iraqi government in achieving stable, functional, America-friendly government with orderly succession and a no more than tolerable level of violence; or (3) complete military withdrawal following the completion of major military operations and the capture of Saddam. The deadline for (3) is past – any withdrawal now or in the future which does not leave behind a stable, functional, America-friendly Iraqi government will appear to demonstrate that the US military and US policy have been defeated, with the resultant failure of this objective.

    The second goal is humanitarian and stems from values-based policy rather than national interest. It may be argued that as the Iraq war has caused havoc and change for the Iraqi people as a side effect of the accomplishment of goals of US national interest, the US government owes the Iraqi people a debt which can only truly be discharged by assisting them in their struggle to achieve a free and peaceful society. This of course presupposes that the majority of Iraqis desires a free and peaceful society, but it appears that most do. This objective could only have been achieved by ways (1) and (2) above – way (3) would have left the Iraqis to pick up the pieces by themselves, or perhaps with the assistance of humanitarian agencies.

    Ways (1) and (2) both require of the US government a significant military commitment, and more than that, a significant commitment of will, that is, a willingness to do the hard yards and stay for a medium to long term, a minimum of 2 more years and probably rather more.

    The question is whether the US government, and the US electorate, considers either way (1) or (2) to be worth the trouble. Either way will mean more blood and treasure expended for no obvious or short-term gain. Quitting on efforts to achieve the first goal will mean bigger problems for the US and its allies in the future, though how big and how far away is debatable, and democracies are notoriously short-sighted in their forward planning. Quitting on efforts to achieve the second goal will just mean lots of dead and maimed Iraqis, as well as a domestic Iraqi outcome that will be determined by whichever group emerges as the strongest and most ruthless combatant.

    With specific regard to the use of withdrawal, whether phased or set to a timetable or all at once, as a stimulus to Iraqi officials and institutions to become more capable, I rather suspect that such an ominous development would instead result in an exodus from Iraq of many, perhaps most, of the Iraqis who hold office or administer institutions, along with their families and assets. What would remain would be those who would rather fight, those who would rather die, those who lack the resources to flee, and those who hope it will all somehow turn out all right.

  8. sleipner Says:

    Let me make this simple. We (meaning Bush and Rumsfeld and their moronic policies) have already lost. The only thing we do by remaining is inciting further violence.

    Iraq is not mature enough as a society to be capable of maintaining itself as a single country without a strongarm dictator like Saddam, military police, and repressive politics. The only way to end the civil war and bring back some semblance of normalcy is to split the country into three autonomous regions. I realize that will cause further issues in the region, and gives a big present to Saudi Arabia and Iran, and a kick in the teeth to Turkey.

    However, the alternative leaves Iraq in a never ending civil war funded and in some cases fought by those very same entities. I suppose that is why the split is “not on the table” to use our dear Chimperor’s words – keeping Iraq’s neighbors locked in conflict with each other within Iraq keeps them from starting other conflicts elsewhere, perhaps with us. At the cost of perhaps decades of conflict and maybe millions of lives lost.

    The hubris of America in thinking that “we cannot ever lose” is awe inspiring. Just because we see ourselves as the most important country in the world does not mean we have the right to decide how everyone else should live. See how much we like it when in a decade or so we are no longer the only superpower, and a few decades beyond that, when we are no longer a superpower.

  9. rachel Says:

    A mixture of Go Big and Go Long? Oh, that doesn’t have all the disadvantages of both and the advantages of neither.

    *headdesk*

  10. grognard Says:

    At one time I thought the situation was salvageable with more troops but have now come to the conclusion that with all of the murders there can be no reconciliation regardless of the US troops involved. In other words Meredith’s excellent and far, far from dumb question can be answered as , they will not hold hands unless forced to by the point of a US gun. If we are to go big and long then the only way it will work is to have two preconditions. First a national vote in Iraq to see if the Iraqi people even want to stay together. Second any more involvement would have firm benchmarks to achieve measured in lower levels of violence and reconstruction. An open ended deal will no longer work domestically.

  11. Alan Stewart Carl Says:

    My biggest worry is, if we leave, we leave a big ole powder keg just waiting to go off and require us to go back in. I don’t think this is like Vietnam where we can wave goodbye and go back to business at home. This problem will follow us. Or, at least, that’s my major worry.

    As for “winning,” we’re past that. Winning would have been establishing a healthy democracy. We’re going to lose that battle. We need to back it up and settle for just establishing a stable government. A stable government that’s less viscious than Saddam would be preferable. But I think a lot of people who long criticized the conservative realists for letting thugs like Saddam stay in power are now realizing that removing those thugs from power can be equally as inhumane. Foreign affairs is often a cold calculous. What is morally right and what is humanly possible are two different things. It was morally right to remove Saddam from power. But it hasn’t proved humanly possible to make Iraq a better place.

    Right now we need to focus on the humanly possible. And I still think stability is possible — just not in the short-term. But it probably won’t even be possible in the long-term if we leave. No one has yet convincingly explained to me how our withdrawal will suddenly make the Iraqi’s take responsibility and defeat the numerous tribal and terrorist groups. More likely, we’re the only thing keeping an all-out, multi-way civil war from engulfing the nation–perhaps even the region. Seems to me we have more to lose by leaving than we do by staying.

  12. rachel Says:

    Right now we need to focus on the humanly possible. And I still think stability is possible � just not in the short-term. But it probably won’t even be possible in the long-term if we leave. No one has yet convincingly explained to me how our withdrawal will suddenly make the Iraqi’s take responsibility and defeat the numerous tribal and terrorist groups. More likely, we’re the only thing keeping an all-out, multi-way civil war from engulfing the nation–perhaps even the region. Seems to me we have more to lose by leaving than we do by staying.

    The Dems better get on the stick and pass Rangel’s draft proposal.

  13. john Says:

    Everyone except the Kurds want us the hell out there according to various polls.

    Why don’t we do what Jonah Goldberg from NRO suggested and have them take a vote if they want us there or not? That way they cannot complain that we set them up for failure when or if we do pull out.

  14. john Says:

    Yes, we did break it and the reality is we cannot fix it. We either “escalate and further alienate the Iraqis” or “pull out and pay out.”

    The neocons hurt the US credibility worldwide for time immemorial either way.

  15. sleipner Says:

    The only reason the Kurds don’t want us out of there is because their section of the country is doing more or less fine – and while we’re there in Sunni/Shia country, the violence there concentrates on us. Once we’re gone, it could very well spill over into Kurdish territory.

  16. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Another View On Iraq Says:

    [...] This was left in the comments section of my post “Go Big. Go Long. Go Home.“… Of the objectives for going to war in Iraq, all have been accomplished, leaving only two. First, to leverage the war and the regime change as a positive influence and force for change in the region. Second, to liberate the people of Iraq and help them achieve both peace and freedom. [...]

Leave a Reply


NOTE TO COMMENTERS:


You must ALWAYS fill in the two word CAPTCHA below to submit a comment. And if this is your first time commenting on Donklephant, it will be held in a moderation queue for approval. Please don't resubmit the same comment a couple times. We'll get around to moderating it soon enough.


Also, sometimes even if you've commented before, it may still get placed in a moderation queue and/or sent to the spam folder. If it's just in moderation queue, it'll be published, but it may be deleted if it lands in the spam folder. My apologies if this happens but there are some keywords that push it into the spam folder.


One last note, we will not tolerate comments that disparage people based on age, sex, handicap, race, color, sexual orientation, national origin or ancestry. We reserve the right to delete these comments and ban the people who make them from ever commenting here again.


Thanks for understanding and have a pleasurable commenting experience.


Related Posts: