Ever since the December 2005 Iraqi elections, the U.S. has been waiting for the central government in Baghdad to pass grand national accords on oil, federalism and de-Baathification to unify and pacify the country. The al-Maliki government has proved too sectarian, too weak and perhaps too disposed to Iranian interests to rise to the task.
The Democrats cite this incapacity as a reason to give up and get out. A tempting thought, but ultimately self-destructive to our interests. Accordingly, Petraeus and Crocker have found a Plan B: Pacify the country region by region, principally by getting Sunnis to join the fight against al-Qaida.
This has begun to happen in Anbar and Diyala. First, because al-Qaida are foreigners. So are we, but reason No. 2 unlike them, we are not barbarous. We don’t amputate fingers for smoking, decapitate with pleasure and kill Shiites for sport.
Third, al-Qaida’s objectives are not the Sunnis’. Al-Qaida live for endless war and a reborn caliphate. Ultimately, they live to die. Iraqi Sunnis are not looking for a heavenly date with 72 virgins. They are looking for a deal, and perhaps just survival after U.S. troops are gone.
That’s why so many Sunnis have accepted Petraeus’ bargain they join our fight against al-Qaida, and we give them weaponry and military support. With that, they can rid themselves of the al-Qaida cancer now. And later, when the Americans inevitably leave, they’ll be better positioned to defend themselves against the 80% Shiite-Kurd majority they are beginning to realize they may have unwisely taken on.
It’s definitely a different strategy than the one we had before. This could work. Also worth reading is the Investor’s Business Daily editorial smacking down the pajama party Democrats. I’ll give you one line: “It’s pathetic when a major political party holds a pajama party to publicize its desire to surrender during a war. But it’s even worse when such shenanigans drown out a vital message from a real leader.” All they are saying is: Give General Petraeus a chance. YEP. Read it.