Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More from Phillip Carter on the surge, a/k/a "Plan FUBAR"

After finishing the previous post, I surfed over to Intel Dump and found a link to an April 18, 2007, column by Phillip Carter. Entitled "Plan FUBAR," the column makes a good companion read to "The Modern Seven Pillars of Iraq."

Carter's column in part discusses the surge, noting that some have called it "Plan A" and any other option as "Plan B." Carter takes exception to such labels and then proceeds to list what he thinks was Plan A, then Plan B, then Plan C, and so on until he gets to the surge, which he feels is "Plan F," or "Plan FUBAR." The whole column is worth a read, but the last three paragraphs strike a tone and conclusion similar to what Craig Trebilcock wrote in "The Modern Seven Pillars of Iraq."
To sum up, it's more than a bit disingenuous to cast today's debate as one of Plan A versus Plan B. In fact, we've seen at least five major strategies implemented in Iraq, and all have failed, creating a legacy of bad blood that undermines our continuing efforts. Much of this failure owes to the naive belief that we can impose our will on the Iraqi people through our strategies, or win their support with a combination of security and reconstruction.

Gen. Petraeus and his brain trust have devised the best possible Plan F, given the resources available to the Pentagon and declining patience for the war at home. But the Achilles heel of this latest effort is the Maliki government. It is becoming increasingly clear to all in Baghdad that its interests—seeking power and treasure for its Shiite backers—diverge sharply from those of the U.S.-led coalition. Even if Gen. Petraeus' plan succeeds on the streets of the city, it will fail in the gilded palaces of the Green Zone. Maliki and his supporters desire no rapprochement with the Sunnis and no meaningful power-sharing arrangement with the Sunnis and the Kurds. Indeed, Maliki can barely hold his own governing coalition together, as evidenced by the Sadr bloc's resignation from the government this week and the fighting in Basra over oil and power.

Plan F will fail if (or when) the Maliki government fails, even if it improves security. At that point, we will have run out of options, having tried every conceivable strategy for Iraq. It will then be time for Plan G: Get out.
(emphasis added). And by the way, for those of you who do not know, Carter served in Iraq, specifically in Diyala province. You can read about his opinion of the surge when it was announced at this link.

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