Foreign Affairs has a good discussion
of possible US alternatives going forward in Iraq (HT Andrew
, as usual). It’s good to get beyond the “stay the course” vs. “get the hell out” level of discussion. Of course, the whole discussion is useless if the Bush administration won’t take good ideas and use them. One idea that was brought up is some sort of partition of Iraq into separate regions. One might cynically call this the “ethnic cleansing with a human face” option. The idea is that before withdrawing, the US should supervise and protect large movements of refugees to make Iraq’s regions more ethnically homogeneous. That way, when US forces withdrew, some of the worst neighbor-vs.-neighbor genocide might be averted. But many of Iraq’s large cities are very mixed and not easily untangled ethnically. So in practice this solution may be unworkable.
The panelists all seem to agree that present policy will not work, and that any solutions will be extremely difficult at best.