One of the most prominent arguments of the many congressional Democrats and fewer congressional Republicans who oppose Bush’s “surge” is that the larger the number of American troops in Iraq, the smaller is the need and the incentive for the Iraqi government to make the political compromises required to tame sectarian violence. They aver that the most promising approach to reducing the violence is to threaten the Maliki government with the withdrawal of our troops.
At the same time, these representatives and senators are among those who are most adamant in believing that Maliki and his Shi’a cohorts have no intention of making concessions, as their true intent is to exact revenge on the Sunnis.
Does this make any sense?
If the paramount objective of the Iraqi government is to do unto the Sunnis what the Sunnis did unto the Shi’a, it follows that Maliki and his friends should oppose the surge and support the withdrawal of our troops, as their presence has prevented the sectarian violence from being even worse than it has been. Further, the threat that the surge’s opponents advocate would be an empty threat. Indeed, it would be worse than empty, as implementing it would help, not hinder, the fulfillment of the government’s objective.
Said in another and simpler way, the threat of withdrawal makes sense only if it’s assumed that revenge is not at the top of the Maliki government’s to-do list. And, yet, the surge’s opponents, who want to threaten withdrawal if the Iraqi government doesn’t do our bidding, are convinced that revenge is at the top of the list.
It doesn’t make any sense.
Cross-posted at American Future.