The End Game in Iraq

THE END GAME IN IRAQ….Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, a retired Australian army officer who has worked closely with Gen. David Petraeus, believes it’s important for the United States to get out of Iraq. “Our large-scale presence, although essential for current stability, also creates an angry reaction,” he told David Ignatius this week, “and therefore can’t be a permanent solution. We need to focus on what General Petraeus has called ‘sustainable security.’ ” The key to this, he says, is drawing down to a small, nimble residual force:

The continuing U.S. presence in Iraq will depend on Special Operations forces — both the “black” SOF that will hunt terrorists and the “white” SOF that will train and fight alongside the Iraqis. We will also need a strong intelligence presence. As uniformed troops decline, the need for CIA paramilitary forces and case officers will increase.

This sounds like an appallingly bad idea. A small number of residual training forces might — might — be workable. But can you imagine what’s likely to happen if we have a few thousand “black” special ops forces and CIA paramilitary units roaming around the country? Does anyone seriously think that would turn out well? Either for us or for the Iraqis? It sounds like a recipe for almost certain disaster to me.

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