Cobban and Cole
Check out Helena Cobban’s “Just World News” for an account of our program together on Sunday in Ann Arbor on Iraq, and her comments on Trudy Rubin and Jim Webb on Iraq.
As for her critique of my present lack of policy prescriptions for Iraq, I’m just being realistic. It is increasingly silly to dream up ten point plans to resolve the Iraq crisis. It would be nice to see a multilateral approach, but we should not fool ourselves that the Bangladeshis can succeed in al-Anbar where the Marines couldn’t. It would be nice to see Maliki’s reconciliation program broadened to include neo-Baathist guerrillas and Salafis, as it must if it is to succeed. But that isn’t going to happen because Abdul Aziz al-Hakim and the Kurds would veto it, as would the US Congress. I actually think that offering glib solutions like “Complete US withdrawal in 3 months” is the cop-out, because they seem to offer hope but are no more substantial than a desert mirage and about as likely to quench any existential thirst.
It is better just to admit to people when there are not good options, and be honest with them about the various likely scenarios that would ensue from what realistic options there are. That is what I try to do. It is not a cop-out.