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Simon

"There is only one way in which the United States can restore its reputation in the Middle East and the wider world and that is to defeat the insurgency and leave behind a stable, secure Iraq"

Yet all the evidence indicates that this is not an achievable goal. We are in an "I wouldn't start from here if I were you" situation. More troops may reduce the killing in Iraq, at least temporarily, but will not defeat the insurgency or create a stable, secure Iraq. Also, in practical terms more troops is a bad idea because of the harm & cost to us - any significant number would require conscription - for very limited & short-term gains.

I do agree with McCain re Israel and Syria-Iran though. Syria & Iran have very few shared interests in common with us, while pressuring Israel when the country is already feeling demoralised is a very bad idea. Israel needs support; there's no harm talking to Syria & Iran but they're not likely to change their strategies re Iraq unless the situation in Iraq changes radically, which will only occur when we leave. When that happens, Syria, which is relatively weak, will have a strong interest in seeing a stable, non-al-Qaeda Sunni state in western Iraq, Iran however may not even want a stable Shi'ite state in eastern Iraq.

Richard Allen

"There is only one way in which the United States can restore its reputation in the Middle East and the wider world and that is to defeat the insurgency and leave behind a stable, secure Iraq."

This comment is totally at odds with reality. The situation in Iraq has deteriated to the point where the US military could only defeat the insurgency by means of genocide.

Winchester whisperer

It's shocking that Blair can merrily embark on such ventures whilst being so mean with resources for the Army. Meanwhile HAC troops have been called in to fill "the gaps" with the MoD stumping up the salaries that they would have been earning in their City jobs. Hello?????

Esbonio

I was surprised the Editor did not give more prominence to Gen. Jackson's speech today.

Simon

Bill Lind on the 'more troops' meme:
http://www.d-n-i.net/lind/lind_11_30_06.htm

Gary Brecher on "How to Win in Iraq" (basically concurring with Richard Allen, above):
http://www.exile.ru/2006-November-17/how_to_win_in_iraq.html

Adam

Even assuming that 50,000 more troops are all you need to defeat the insurgency (an almighty big assumption) - does the US have 50,000 troops going spare, the UK certainly doesn't.

Stephen Bull

Baker does not claim that he has the answer; only that all the alternatives are worse

Rachel Joyce

Baker's arguments just do not stack up. This weakness in the face of short term difficulties is exactly what Al Quaeda and Iran see as the way to fight the West.
Seeing this through and standing firm to principles is the only real choice, no matter how difficult it may be in the short term.

TomTom

Even assuming that 50,000 more troops are all you need to defeat the insurgency (an almighty big assumption) - does the US have 50,000 troops going spare,

pull them out of Korea

stephan shakespeare

"Baker does not claim that he has the answer; only that all the alternatives are worse"

I think that's wrong. The consequence of pulling out of Iraq before stability and security is achieved is a long-term diminution of American influence - no-one will believe that it will assert itself again in the near future. The second consequence of course is that Iran will become the dominating force in the region.

It is true, however, that the worst possible scenario is to stay with too few troops.

Mike's America

Thinking about our best ally on this 65th anniversary or our entering into war together:

http://mikesamerica.blogspot.com/2006/12/december-7th-1941-tragedy-that-could.html

Together we win. Divided we both lose.

malcolm

Watching the press conference yesterday was instructive.Both Blair and Bush looked like broken men. Neither seems to have the slightest idea what to do now. Bakers report seems to clutch at the thinnest of straws (the goodwill of Iran) but I suspect Bush will reject all its salient points if he can.He seems to be in a state of denial and I suspect he will soon have an almighty battle with Congress.

Keir

Wish we could ignore Bush and Blair...
Read that Blair's books of choice are the Old and New Testaments as well as the Koran. Quite how sources written by superstitious shepherds within the past 2-3 millenia are more worthy of study than what Baker, our Generals, and the weight of public opinion and broadsheet editorials have been saying for the past three years is beyond me. At least it gives him something to talk to Bush about around the barbeque when he visits.

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