Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Four Wars for the Price of One

Defense Secretary Robert Gates thinks we are fighting four wears in Iraq, not one. Well, damn, that explains everything. This comes from an article in Slate. Seriously, here is his explanation:
Our strategic stagnation results from the fact that we are fighting four wars, not one. According to Gates: "One is Shi'a on Shi'a, principally in the south; the second is sectarian conflict, principally in Baghdad, but not solely; third is the insurgency; and fourth is al Qaida, and al Qaida is attacking, at times, all of those targets." The multifaceted nature of these four wars has frustrated American strategy since 2003. Successes in one area produce setbacks in the others, with al-Qaida hovering above the fray to spoil progress whenever it threatens to bring stability to Iraq, as they did by bombing the al-Askari Mosque in Samarra in February 2006 after the successful Iraqi elections. Consequently, any strategies implementing the "counterinsurgency playbook," smart as those plans may be, will necessarily prove insufficient because we aren't just fighting an insurgency anymore.
Read the whole article for a little more explanation of each of the four wars.

This is about as much honesty as I have heard from anyone in the Bush administration about the mess we are in with this war. It's going to take an equal honesty to face the reality of the situation -- this is not something that will produce a clear win, no matter how long we stay.

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