Topic: Baker Hamilton
The Baker Hamilton report is the same old nonsense, particularly the part about involving Iran and Syria. The threat of Saudi Arabia entering the situation isn't much of a threat. If the U.S. wants to scare anyone, it should start talking about bringing in our NATO ally Turkey. Turkey headed the most recent Middle EAstern empire.
The U.S. needs to set realistic goals and abandon the notion of "winning". Winning is only possible when there is a specific enemy to defeat. We cannot win by getting the other side to say "uncle" because there is no other side to say "uncle". If winning means completely eliminating violence... well we cannot do that in our own country.
The U.S. needs to recognize that most Iraqis are what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once referred to as "rabbits". That is they have been conditioned to stay quiet and accept whatever happens. The U.S. needs to find a way to get them to become involved in stopping the violence.
Even here in the U.S. the cops cannot do it all themselves. They need citizen assistance. In the U.S., the biggest problem is often in inner city minority neighborhoods where people have a long standing distrust of police. The Iraqis also have a distrust because of Saddam Hussein's police. Big city police departments that are having some success in getting minority cooperation with the police could invite Iraqi officers to learn how they are doing it.
U.Sl military officials need to recognize that the most important thing they can do is to train Iraqi police and military. Instead of discouraging officers from seeking such assignments, the military should try to assign the best qualified officers with guarantees that such assignments would aid their careers. Colin Powell's first combat assignment was as an observer/advisor to South Vietnamese Army unit. Any "career counselors" or whatever they are called who have been discouraging officers from seeking such assignments should themselves be reassigned to duties more consistent with their abilities.
Too bad they couldn't find some competent people to serve on the panel. These guys are totally out of touch with the real world. There is no diplomatic solution for the situation in Iraq. The lawlessness is primarily an internal problem that has to be dealt with directly not by talk. The other middle eastern countries have their own problems with violent elements that they are dealing with through totalitarian means. Is that what the panel means by a "political" solution? Establish a new tyrant in Iraq who will use arbitrary arrests and torture to keep people in line???
Although al Qaeda is part of the problem in Iraq, the ethnic conflict groups are more similar to the KKK or the Black Panthers. Trying to appeal to Iran or Syria to deal with them is a waste of time. They are too preoccupied with trying to foment violence because it is easier than trying to stop it.
the only Muslim country with recent experience controlling the Middle East is Turkey. Perhaps the U.S. could threaten to allow Turkey to take over if the Iraqis don't start getting along.
The U.S should also reconsider the goal of keeping Iraq together as a country. Perhaps the U.S. should offer to help those living where they are a minority to move to areas where they are a majority