There is a lot of talk about how W has no “exit strategy” for Iraq, and, of course, how he had no strategy at all when he invaded. On the other had, supporters of the war, like McCain, say we must not “lose Iraq,” or did he mean China?…ooops, he’s not that old! Others say we are on track for successs, for victory, i.e., Victory! Just give the ‘strategy’ a chance to succeed.
I have to wonder, what is the Victory Strategy? That is, how will we know when we have won, and what will we do then? Do the supporters of the war honestly think, if they have their way, that we will win and leave the country a stable parliamentary democracy, in one piece, that will be friendly to the US and hostile to our enemies, and won’t require the presence of tens of thousands of American troops funded by billions of dollars a year? Is that the Victory Scenario? It was six years ago, but now?
Or do they imagine that after another three or four years like this one, and untold piles of cash, Iraq will have a nominal central government that appears to keep the lid on secessionist fighting, and that has reduced sectarian atrocities to an “acceptable” level, mostly because various regions have been “cleansed” so that they are ethnically homogeneous? And that we will continue to pour money into the place and maintain large numbers of troops there so it doesn’t blow apart or get swallowed by Iran or Turkey? This seems to be the best that they can hope for.
And if this best-case Victory comes about, what is our “strategy?” What do we do with this victory, this ally, this burden? I guess we just maintain our presence there indefinitely, like in Korea. This is what some call “projecting American power.” Others call it Imperialism, but whatever you call it, the return on investment seems rather paltry.
General Pyrrhus, shown in the picture, knew about this bind. And he usually won his battles! He is said to have remarked after one of them, “Another such victory, and I shall be ruined.”