After months of surreality, the Iraq debate has quite abruptly acquired a relationship to reality. Following the Democratic victory last November, panicked Republican senators began rifling the thesaurus to find exactly the right phrase to express exactly the right nuance to establish exactly the right distance from the president's Iraq policy, while Murtha Democrats searched for exactly the right legislative ruse to force a retreat from Iraq without appearing to do so.He strongly supports going outside the Maliki government to create some sort of unity government.
In the last month, however, as a consensus has emerged about realities on the ground in Iraq, a reasoned debate has begun. A number of fair-minded observers, both critics and supporters of the war, agree that the surge has yielded considerable military progress, while at the national political level the Maliki government remains a disaster.
We should have given up on Maliki long ago and begun to work with other parties in the Iraqi Parliament to bring down the government, yielding either a new coalition of less sectarian parties or, as Pollack has suggested, new elections.I'm not sure how we can support democracy in Iraq, and then try to bring down their democratically elected leader. And I'm not sure that there are such leaders out there who could win the new elections that Krauthammer is supposing can happen. It took them a long time to compromise on Maliki as the prime minister. As long as Vietnam analogies are in the air, don't forget what happened when we gave our approval to bringing down Ngo Dinh Diem in South Vietnam because we believed that they needed a better leader. We don't have a great history in selecting the right leaders of other nations and installing them successfully. I'd be wary of traveling down that road again. Anyone who came to power after such efforts to remove Maliki would be regarded as an American puppet and lose credibility among Iraqis.
The choice is difficult because replacing the Maliki government will take time and because there is no guarantee of ultimate political success. Nonetheless, continuing the surge while finally trying to change the central government is the most rational choice because the only available alternative is defeat -- a defeat that is not at all inevitable and would be both catastrophic and self-inflicted.