Losing By Winning?

LOSING BY WINNING?….Fareed Zakaria argues that the most worrisome possibility of George Bush’s surge is not that it might fail, but that it might work:

If the 20,000 additional American troops being sent to the Iraqi capital focus primarily on Sunni insurgents, there’s a chance the Shiite militias might get bolder. Colonel Duke puts it bluntly: “[The Mahdi Army] is sitting on the 50-yard line eating popcorn, watching us do their work for them.”

So what will happen if Bush’s new plan “succeeds” militarily over the next six months? Sunnis will become more insecure as their militias are dismantled. Shiite militias will lower their profile on the streets and remain as they are now, ensconced within the Iraqi Army and police. That will surely make Sunnis less likely to support the new Iraq. Shiite political leaders, on the other hand, will be emboldened.

….The greatest danger of Bush’s new strategy, then, isn’t that it won’t work but that it will — and thereby push the country one step further along the road to all-out civil war….The U.S. Army will be actively aiding and assisting in the largest program of ethnic cleansing since Bosnia. Is that the model Bush wanted for the Middle East?

The New York Times has more on why this might — or might not — happen.