Do Not Screw the Kurds (Again)

History has treated few people as shabbily as the Kurds. They have been crushed between Arabs, Turks & Persians for 500 years & life wasn’t so good before that. Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group w/o a country and 20-25 million of them are spread over Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. A Kurdish region was grafted onto Iraq in 1920 giving that artificially created country oil.

They troubled Saddam Hussein, who wanted to kill or displace them all. Thanks to the British/American no fly zone and OIF, N. Iraq is as close as they have come to a homeland. It is peaceful, democratic and free market. When the realpolitik long knives come out, do not screw the Kurds.

Although Sunni Muslims, Kurds are Indo Europeans like the Shiite Iranians. So they are ethnically different from Arabs and Turks, religiously different from Iranians and generally inconvenient to all their neighbors.

The U.S. has not been hostile to the Kurds, but generally indifferent. When we did deal with them, we treated them poorly. We lazily supported the Kurds in their fight against Saddam way back in 1973, but abandoned them two years later and specifically avoided contact with Iraqi Kurdish leaders until 1990.

We encouraged Kurds (and Shiites) rebel against Saddam again after the Gulf war, but then shamefully allowed Saddam to massacre them (and the Shiites) when they did it. We finally had enough and stepped in with Operation Provide Comfort, which provide humanitarian aid and then with a no fly zone, that prevented Saddam from making chemical weapon attacks and generally using his air power against the Kurds. This created a defacto independent Kurdistan. The U.S. and UK patrolled until the outbreak of the Iraq War.

By my count, the U.S. has betrayed the Kurds twice and willfully ignored the oppression they suffered in between. Nobody can be proud of that. Since 1991, we have acted honorably toward them and they have reciprocated. I am now afraid we are in line for a third betrayal when we again engage in realpolitik with the powers of the region, none of whom likes the Kurds.

Sometimes you should stand with your friends. For 15 years, our policies have allowed the creation of a prosperous Kurdish defacto state and they have helped us. Anyone who knows better will please correct me if I am wrong, but as far as I know this is the first time there has been a Kurdish entity. It would be a terrible thing to trade them away a third time. In our haste to "redeploy" let’s not step on our ally on the way out.

Posted by Jack at December 12, 2006 6:42 PM
Comment #198927

We have very little to gain from pulling out and very much to lose.

Incoming critics: I am not pro-war. I believe war should be used when we are attacked. I believe in justice.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 12, 2006 7:21 PM
Comment #198946

I’m glad you posted this article, Jack. I’ve been thinking about the Kurds lately, too.

How to best help them? Right now, northern Iraq is relatively stable, primarily, I guess, because the Shiites and Sunnis are busy slaughtering each other. IF we establish a large military presence in Northern Iraq, I wonder if that will just precipitate more conflict there. There have been allegations supported by leaked State Department cables, that the Kurds, with U.S. help, have been abducting large numbers of Arabs from Kirkuk and sending them to secret and illegal prisons. They apparently don’t have very clean hands. If someone not considered our friends engaged in this type of action, well — we all know what we’d call them.

Turkey, of course, is vehemently opposed to the notion of a separate Kurd state and has threatened to move in militarily if it seems that’s a possibility. They’ve got troubles with their own Kurd nationalists and the PKK, the Kurdish terrorist organization. And we, of course, want to stay on the good side of Turkey. Turkey wants to join NATO — but that’s not likely to produce sufficient leverage to get it to tolerate a Kurd state.

I don’t know. Tough issue.

Posted by: Trent at December 12, 2006 8:10 PM
Comment #198950

Jack, the U.S.’s only obligation and mandate, if there ever was one, toward the Iraqis, was to relieve them of their authoritarian Hussein regime. We did that. What happens to Iraqis from that point forward is up to the Iraqis, be they Kurds, Sunnis or Shiites.

Our only obligation now, in reality, is to prevent Iraq from becoming a threat toward America. We have no obligation to the Kurds. The Kurds have an obligation to themselves as do all Iraqis. They will meet it, or fail it, on their own terms. Enough with the rationalizations for why we must continue to vindicate Bush’s and the Republican majority Congress’s decision to destablilize the Middle East. It’s done.

Let’s move on. Let them move on, each according to their needs, resources, and will.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 12, 2006 8:19 PM
Comment #198955


The Kurds have been sort of our problem since 1991. W/o the no fly zones, Saddam would wipe them out. That was one of the big unspoken problems with sanctions. If Saddam proved he did not have WMD and sanctions were at an end, Saddam be free to develop WMD AND wipe out the Kurds and Shiites. That too would have become our problem.

BTW - we had to be involved before to keep Iraq from becoming a threat to America. No reason to believe we will not be back if we redeploy in too much haste.

I agree that we need to defend American interest. One of the problems we have is that we are often seen as a dangerous friend and a lazy enemy, w/o staying power. We should not do feed that idea any more.


Of course you mean Turkey wants to join the EU. I know that you know but I want to make sure others reading also know.

This is a good solution to the problem. Iraq devolves into a very loose federation, almost like cantons. The problem is oil distribution. We solve that al la Alaska. Each man woman and child in Iraq gets a share of the oil revenue. This also has the happy result of getting the money out of the hands of government.

Posted by: Jack at December 12, 2006 8:36 PM
Comment #198957

Trent, you’re a little behind the times. Turkey became a full member of Nato in 1952. Perhaps you’re confusing that with Turkey’s application to join the European Union?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 12, 2006 8:43 PM
Comment #198958

Hey, I was only off by a half century! Anyway, yeah, that’s what I meant. The Pope’s on board now, too.

Posted by: Trent at December 12, 2006 8:49 PM
Comment #198962

Well Trent, in the words of Christine Keeler, he would say that, wouldn’t he? I mean, come on, after his well reported previous remarks on Turkey, and his more recent comments on Islam, he had to give something, didn’t he? Especially when he was going amongst them. Fact is, most Europeans have no idea why Turkey should be a member of the EU, and don’t want it in. And that is why politicians all over Europe are dragging their heels on Turkish membership.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at December 12, 2006 8:57 PM
Comment #198978


“Incoming critics: I am not pro-war. I believe war should be used when we are attacked. I believe in justice.”

then justice was served when we attacked afghanistan. i’m glad you agree that our mission is, indeed, accomplished, and justice served. now i only hope that the iraqis don’t share your sentiment (we attacked *them* first).

by the way, for all interested…

bush just vicariously announced that there will be no timetables on any potential forthcoming timetables. glad to see he has finally changed his tune.

and on a more sincere, and serious note;

to those troops who have served, or continue to serve in iraq;

if there is one thing more admirable than honorably serving in an honorable war, it has got to be honorably serving in a dishonorable one. i salute you. God bless.


Posted by: Diogenes at December 12, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #198991

Jack: I think the Kurds will probably be toughing it out on their own again. The American people are turning against the war even more. The latest polls are very dismal and the President’s handling of the war has dropped to 21%.

The Saudi ambassador to the US has resigned and left the country with less than a day’s notice. The speculation is that the US has made a deal to support the Shia and possibably help them crush all resistance.

Posted by: jlw at December 12, 2006 11:09 PM
Comment #199016

And just when we thought Bush could not screw up Iraq anymore than he already has, he announces considering taking sides in their civil war.

Which in turn prompted Saudi Arabia to give Bush an ultimatum clinching the “stay the course” policy, saying if the U.S. withdraws, the Saudis will have no choice but to back the Sunnis.

And Bush has told us the Saudi’s are our friends. The Saudi’s know the Sunnis in Iraq are linked to al-Queda. Nice going Bush. You are living proof that there is not end to disastrous consequences of an under equipped mind in an over-promoted position of decision making power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2006 2:31 AM
Comment #199018

My initial reaction to this post was “Yikes!”, and alot of head shaking. However, rather than respond to the ideas presented in this post, I will acquiesce and simply give God thanks for his infinite mercy!

Posted by: Kim-Sue at December 13, 2006 2:45 AM
Comment #199024

David: If Bush has announced that he is considering taking sides, it is news to me. I know that’s the speculation and it seems that the Saudi’s believe it. If it is true, the Saudi’s are obviously upset because they know who the big winner is going to be, Iran. I know that there are a lot of people who think we don’t talk with Iran, but we do. We use the Swiss as a go between and we surely have other options as well. If Iran were to gain control of Iraq, what does that set the stage for?

I think it may be well past time for us to remove this President from office before he brokers a deal that takes us and the whole World down the road to hell.

Posted by: jlw at December 13, 2006 3:35 AM
Comment #199027


You express yourself onlu in the negative: do not screw the Kurds.

What do you think is the best policy? An independent Kurdistan?

Posted by: Woody Mena at December 13, 2006 5:22 AM
Comment #199040


An autonomous Kurdistan. Even the Turks are warming to the idea that a prosperous Kurdistan in Iraq could be both a decent trading partner and a source of stability to their own Kurdish population.

The Kurds need from us diplomatic cover, the possibility of air support & our promise NOT to embargo arms (as we did with Bosnia for a while). We can give them all these things at little cost and in return we get at least an island of stability in a sea of troubles.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2006 9:02 AM
Comment #199044

Jack, Great advice, just about three years too late.

The problem with Kurdistan is the same one as Palestine. Where are it’s borders?, what about the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Syria,and Russia? The problem becomes will there be mass migration to Iraq Kurdistan or freedom movements in other regions?

Like Trent states, there are no easy answers at this point. What WILL happen is we will eventually back out. Despite GW’s rhetoric. It’s kinda like his “Good Job, Brownie” and Rumsfeld speak. It was a fete accompli when we entered. G.W.’s Dad knew it and so did Colin Powell. Once a liar, usually always a liar.

Posted by: gergle at December 13, 2006 10:05 AM
Comment #199046

A reasonable article free of hyperbole on an issue I can fully agree with. I’m pleasantly surprised.

Posted by: Joseph Briggs at December 13, 2006 10:16 AM
Comment #199048

the big problem for the US with the Kurds is that a big part of kurdish area is in Turkey, our “good” ally. that is the only reason there is no Kurdish nation, as they are afraid that giving the Kurds independence will cause problems with Turkey

Posted by: Sarantos Soumakis at December 13, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #199059


I understand the complexity of a solution now, but you should also understand the complexity of the situation before the war.

Three years ago Saddam was under sanctions and we were patrolling the no fly zones. As we now know, Saddam did not have WMD. IF that had been proven, sanction would be lifted AND the no fly zone would go with it.

I cannot say with certainty what would have happened absent the coalition invasion, but stipulate that sanctions would have been lifted some time in 2003. Given what we know today, sanctions were “no longer necessary” by the definition of the times. Saddam would have been free not only to develop WMD, but to wipe out the Kurds.

IMO 2003-4 would have been a bloodier time in Iraq w/o the U.S., but the news media would have treated it like Darfur or Congo (i.e. not paid much attention).

Actually the prospects for Kurds were worse in 2003 than they are today. Having Saddam in power was a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads.

Gergel and Sarantos

Please see what I wrote to Woody about options.

This is not an easy problem. I am pretty sure a de jure Kurdistan is not in our near future, but a defacto one might be.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2006 11:46 AM
Comment #199063


My problem with american policy is that it is controlled by Turkey and their wishes. Proof is the 32 year occupation of the northern part of Cyprus, ignoring the same types of UN resolutions we based the Iraqi war on.

Kurds are a well defined group who has lived in the area for centuries. why shouldn’t they be entitled to their own nation - much like the Chesneans, Georgians, Arjebajanies and all the other new nations.

Posted by: Sarantos Soumakis at December 13, 2006 11:59 AM
Comment #199078

Jack is truly wrong in a huge way. Jack would have us back, support, and aid the Kurds, who are NOT the problem. That is exactly like Bush going after Hussein when al-Queda was the problem. No wonder Jack supported Bush in the last couple elections.

Jack, News Flash, The Sunnis and the Shiites are our problem, and the Kurds cannot and will not solve that problem for us. Do not allow your focus to be shifted away from the problem because you don’t know how to deal with it. Backing an autonomous Kurdistan will create far more problems than it solves, just as invading Iraq did.

If you can’t see that, then read the CIA fact book on the subject of Kurds and Kurdistan. And if you refuse to acknowledge this fact, then, all I can say is, you are in the right party, The Republican Party, where folks gather to dismiss reality in favor of visions of what should be. Which is fine, as long as they are not making decisions for the real world.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2006 2:24 PM
Comment #199084

sufring sucatash, I don’t know al quieda from squat, says sylvestre the dim from florida who is going to show us a new direction. I say, I say son what is hezbollah anywho.

Our new direction is at least 4 years of new age, feel good politics ” I don’t know what, who, why, or where but I need to lead.”

I say, i say, which way did they go, how many were they, how fast were they going eye need to know I am their leader.

what a bunch of dumb, sorry I mean jack asses.

Posted by: im at December 13, 2006 3:10 PM
Comment #199089


The Kurds are not the problem and have not been the problem. As I wrote, they have often been collateral damage in our dealings with the regional powers. I just do not want that to happen to them again. It just is not right.

Our playing power politics in the region did not work out as we planned and I am talking about the whole period since 1973, not just the Iraq war. Look what we had in 1975, 1985, 1995 or 2005. Has it been good any of those times? Maybe we should try doing what is right at least in this small way.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2006 3:22 PM
Comment #199105


If someone funds our enemies then they are an enemy to be attacked by us. Saddam funded al Qaida.

Posted by: stubborn conservative at December 13, 2006 5:02 PM
Comment #199115

Jack, we have real enemies working on doing us very real and serious harm. Let’s focus on what is good for Americans first, and worry about the Kurds after we have mustered the resources needed to defend ourselves here at home, eh?

Many Republicans are so easily distracted from keeping their eye on the ball, which both Jack and Bush have very much in common, apparently. Bush lost track of the al-Queda ball by invading Iraq. Jack is losing track of al-Queda by focusing on the Kurds.

Priorities, one day perhaps, Republicans will learn what that word means and become a contender again. But, looks like that will be quite some time from now.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2006 5:54 PM
Comment #199116

Dear David,

Republicans at least know what a ball is and what to do with it unlike the leaders of the dims. sufring sucatash from florida proved a long known point. When you don’t know macaca from shinola, you can keep your mouth shut people will wonder or like sylvestre, you can open that pie hole and say duh, and remove all doubt. We are in a world of well you know if this is the change of direction people wanted.

God help us all.

Posted by: im at December 13, 2006 6:00 PM
Comment #199119


I think an island of pro-American stability is a good thing for us. We can get it at almost no cost IF we keep an eye on that ball.

Al Queda is a broad and diffuse enemy. We cannot keep them out of all their possible havens, but we need not provide another by our indifference.

I also believe that our promises should mean something. I wrote an article about martial law in Poland. We stood with the Poles when our allies and intellectual elites told us it was a waste of time and a provokation to our Soviet “partners”. It was a good thing then and it is a good thing now.

Just what would we accomplish by selling out the Kurds in any case? We do not have to do it. If we do, it will be the simple result of our not paying attention (again). In our scamble to get out of Iraq, we need not throw away one of the clearly good things we have accomplished. We should not “redeploy” in such as rush that we pay no attention to where we are going.

Posted by: Jack at December 13, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #199130

Dr.s think Sen. Johnson may have suffered a stroke when he studdered an answer and seemed to lose his train of thought and know nothing about the subject being discussed. He seemed to recover slightly and passed on to the next question.

If this is signs of stroke, the entire leadership of the dims have suffered one, especially sufring sucatash from florida intell chairman sylvestre. He was asked recently who al queda is and hezbollah where he was said to have studdered an unintelligable answer of “shite, I believe. and when asked about hezbollah he looked dazed and stared past his Senate panel and said next question.

Posted by: im at December 13, 2006 7:23 PM
Comment #199148

“If someone funds our enemies then they are an enemy to be attacked by us. Saddam funded al Qaida.”

prove it. to the best of my knowledge, saddam and al qaeda were enemies.

Posted by: Diogenes at December 13, 2006 9:04 PM
Comment #199173

Jack, you are making the very same mistake your President may be about to make when you say: “Just what would we accomplish by selling out the Kurds in any case?”

Taking sides in Iraq is mistake, and if the President makes that mistake, it will top all his others stacked one on top of each other. There can be no faster route to destabilizing the Middle East far further than for the U.S. to take sides through action or inaction. This is precisely what the Saudi’s told Dick Cheney this week.

The plight of the Kurds in Iraq is an Iraqi problem. Just as the sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites is an Iraqi problem. It is the gravest of mistakes for our national security, for our foreign policy, for our remaining vestiges of diplomatic neutrality, to take the Kurds side.

Our war is with al-Queda and other terrorist groups who seek us harm. The terrorist organizations are our concern in Iraq. That is a monumental task and quagmire we have undertaken, intentionally or not. Let us not compound the quagmire by taking sides in the Iraqi internal sectarian conflicts and policies.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 13, 2006 11:17 PM
Comment #199184


Realism and cynicism are conforting. We cannot base our foreign policy only on morality, but we also cannot be completely amoral.

Besides, if you are not trustworthy as a friend or dangerous as an enemy, your friends will fear to support you and your enemies will have no compunction about doing you harm.

A superpower like the U.S. chooses sides both by its actions and its non-actions.

In the case of the Kurds, our “investment” would be small and the pay off large in comparison. If we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq, it might be a useful thing to have at least some firm allies and safe zones.

But beyond all that, it is the right thing to do.

Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 12:06 AM
Comment #199199

Jack, I agree that Sadam was a problem. But the cost to us in enorcing no-fly zones was cheap compared to this misadventure.

The sad truth is that we have been used by Iran and Saudi Arabia to do their dirty work, while they smile and screw us with oil. What are the Saudi’s and Iran doing now? Supporting the Shiite militia’s and Sunni terrorism.

The nice thing about Sadam was that he helped to irritate OPEC.

Wake up, it’s an Arab/ Persian problem. Let them kill a few of million of each other and then it will be easier and cheaper for us to pick up the broken pieces.

Factionalisation was, is and will always be the Middle East issue. The Balkans are a weakened mess. They will continue to be. When a dominant meglomaniac arises, we will have to swat him down, like we did Hussein and Milosovich in the Bush I and Clinton periods. I want to weaken these morons, not unite them in a common cause against the U.S. That is the best use of the military we have spent billions to develope. The mess in Iraq’s civil war is a stupid use of our military.

Only the Iraqi’s can decide they are tired of this and develope into a stable democracy. They voted with their blue thumbs, but they have voted louder with their body counts.

Posted by: gergle at December 14, 2006 6:09 AM
Comment #199221

Jack, it is only the right thing to do if taking the Kurd’s side moves Iraq toward peace, and diminishes the violence, and ends the threat of the Iraqi sectarian violence from spilling out of Iraq into the wider Middle East.

And frankly, I don’t see taking the Kurd’s side in Iraq as leading to any of those things. So, from my view, your argument is as wrong as taking the Kurd’s side is. Taking the side of one or other of the Sectarian participants to the battle for Iraqi control and resources, accomplishes only one thing, pulling America deeper into their civil war.

I guess its true, it is really easy to intellectualize foreign policy when it is others who have to die to implement it.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2006 11:19 AM
Comment #199230


This is the scenario had we not invaded

Saddam did not have WMD therefore sanctions would be lifted.

W/o sanctions, we would not be able to maintain the “box” and we would have to stop patrolling the no fly zones (or be in that war we were talking about)

Saddam would be free to develop WMD, invade othersand oppress Kurds etc. We would have to accept his word and his good will to say he would not.

We did not have the peace war option. What we really had was war now or war later options.


Foreign policy is choices among bad alternatives sometimes. I do not side with the Kurds because I love Kurds. It is a good policy for the U.S. to treat friends well and enemies less well. It is a good policy for the U.S. to have a haven of relative calm. It is a good policy for the U.S. to have a firm ally in the region. This ally, BTW, can defend itself if the U.S. provides diplomatic support and the possibility of air power. This, BTW, is what Clinton did for Kosovo, with the exception that the Kurds have already moved past step two.

I always put American interests before all others, but I understand that American interests are large enough to encompass helping friends and doing the right thing on most occassions.

There is nothing that I can see to be gained by betraying the Kurds except the expedient of pleasing people who do not have our interests at heart, and they would be pleased only for a short time while they planned other ways to harm us.

Do you have something against the Kurds? Kurdistan is a bright success in an otherwise bleak landscape. You would like to trade that away for what?

Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #199281

Jack, sounds like your support paves the way to an independent Kurdistan, which in turn leads to major Middle East upheaval. Which would not be in America’s best interest. All roads toward picking a sectarian favorite in Iraq lead to ill consequences for the U.S., Jack.

Guess you will just have to be one of those who learns after the fact. Frustrating from this end though. In 2003 I said the Iraq invasion would lead to civil war and greater Middle East instability. Finally, the majority of Americans caught up.

If you will even crack the door to admit the possibility that taking sides could hurt us in the long run, you would no longer be committed to supporting another failed cause. But learning is something most folks resist from others they view as adversaries. Which is why Bush has been such a monumental failure as president. The man would not listen and consider other points of view, and act accordingly.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2006 3:18 PM
Comment #199285

Jack said: “It is a good policy for the U.S. to treat friends well and enemies less well.”

That is ideological thinking Jack, the very same kind that got is in this mess.

It is NOT always true that treating our friends well and enemies less well is good policy. There are many situations in which quite the opposite could further our nation’s aims better, as in the Israel - Palestine conflict. Create an ownership society in Palestine and according to Republicans, the conflict would go away. Ahhh… but that would conflict with treating our adversaries better than our friends, diverting funding from Israel to the Palestinians.

Condoleeza Rice gets it, finally on this issue. Ideology just prevents solutions to problems that don’t fit the mold of previous ones, Jack. Sometimes it is important to think outside the box of familiarity to find solutions. Something the Bush administration and the duopoly parties in general have a very hard time doing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 14, 2006 3:26 PM
Comment #199372


Are you assuming that all outcomes in Iraq are equally good for us, such that we should do nothing?

I also cannot reject all morality in foreign affairs. But even if I did and read up on Machievelli, I would be able to find his advice re never staying neutral in a conflict that affects you and where you can exert power. The loser will blame you for his defeat and seek revenge. The winner will feel no obligation to protect your interests and you will have no leverage to make him.

Helping the Kurds would probably prevent their annihilation. It would cost us little. Our enemies will blame us no matter what we do. The U.S. does not really need to do anything to get the blame. Beyond that, we are incapable of doing nothing. The U.S. taking action carries a set of consequences as does the U.S. taking no action.

You should understand that action & non-action are both options, and neither is the zero option.

Posted by: Jack at December 14, 2006 11:31 PM
Comment #199467

Jack asked: “Are you assuming that all outcomes in Iraq are equally good for us, such that we should do nothing?”


In fact your entire comment makes no sense. Nothing I have said reflects a desire on my part for the U.S. to do nothing. Refusing to take sides in a civil war of another nation is an act in and of itself, which I advocate.

The U.S., as I have written, now has only two potentially productive choices: use its regional military forces to prevent invasion of Iraq from without, and to back up the Iraqi forces in the event of an attempt to overthrow the Iraqi government.

Any attempt by the U.S. at this point to take sides in the sectarian conflicts will only widen the conflict throughout the Middle East setting Middle Eastern governments against the U.S. as Saudi Arabia warned it may do just last week if we choose to pull out entirely leaving the Sunnis to fall under the weight of the Shiite’s numerical superiority.

In fact, Saudi Arabia’s response indicates that even if we take a neutral position, which leaving would be, such actions will be interpreted by some as biased. Given that condition, it becomes even more important that the U.S. strive to maintain neutrality regarding its actions affecting the sectarian conflict. No point rubbing dirty salt into the wound.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 15, 2006 8:49 PM
Comment #199476


I am not sure of our disagreement. We need to prepare for a breakup. We should hope to avoid it, but it may happen. If it does, we should strive to appear to be an honest broker, but not actually be one. If Iraq comes apart (which it well might, since there is no logic to Iraq as a country) an autonomous Kurdistan might be a useful U.S. foot in the door.

From the strictly nasty point of view, if the various bad guys are busy fighting each other, they might lay off us for a while.

One reason I supported the Iraq war back in 2002 was that I saw a general conflict in the Middle East coming and wanted an American foothold in the region in order to influence events. The war may have changed the precise locus of the conflict, but it may still be the generational fight we could see on the horizon.

If you are interested in realpolitik, this might be where you will find it.

Are you familar with the terrain of Iraqi Kurdistan? The Kurds can defend themselves forever as long as an enemy cannot gain air superiority. This is exactly the kind of support the U.S. can provide. One U.S. carrier has enough power to defeat the combined air forces of the whole region and since everybody knows that, we would have to do nothing but watch.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2006 11:15 PM
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