Hard Rain Journal 11-19-06: Courage and Clarity of Mind on Iraq and Iran -- Odom says, "We must cut and run tactically in order to succeed strategically."
By Richard Power
Here is more courage and clarity of mind on the Mega-Mogadishu in Iraq and the folly of the Bush-Cheney "policy" toward Iran -- from Lieutenant General William E. Odom, U.S. Army (Retired), who once served as Ronald Reagan's NSA Director (and who we have cited, with great admiration, in several postings, e.g., Words of Power #8: Odom and Wilkerson Bear Witness over the last year and a half):
The United States upset the regional balance in the Mideast when it invaded Iraq. Restoring it requires bold initiatives, but "cutting and running" must precede them all. Only a withdrawal of all U.S. troops - within six months and with no preconditions - can break the paralysis that enfeebles our diplomacy. And the greatest obstacles to cutting and running are the psychological inhibitions of our leaders and the public.
Our leaders do not act because their reputations are at stake. The public does not force them to act because it is blinded by the president's conjured set of illusions: that we are reducing terrorism by fighting in Iraq, creating democracy there, preventing the spread of nuclear weapons, making Israel more secure, not allowing our fallen soldiers to have died in vain, and others.
But reality no longer can be avoided. It is beyond U.S. power to prevent sectarian violence in Iraq, the growing influence of Iran throughout the region, the probable spread of Sunni-Shiite strife to neighboring Arab states, the eventual rise to power of the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr or some other anti-American leader in Baghdad, and the spread of instability beyond Iraq....
Some lawmakers are ready to change course but are puzzled as to how to leave Iraq. The answer is four major initiatives to provide regional stability and calm in Iraq. They will leave the U.S. less influential in the region. But it will be the best deal we can get.
• First, the U.S. must concede that it has botched things, cannot stabilize the region alone and must let others have a say in what's next. As U.S. forces begin to withdraw, Washington must invite its European allies, as well as Japan, China and India, to make their own proposals for dealing with the aftermath. Russia can be ignored because it will play a spoiler role in any case....
• The second initiative is to create a diplomatic forum for Iraq's neighbors. Iran, of course, must be included. Washington should offer to convene the forum but be prepared to step aside if other members insist.
• Third, the U.S. must informally cooperate with Iran in areas of shared interests. Nothing else could so improve our position in the Middle East. The price for success will include dropping U.S. resistance to Iran's nuclear weapons program. This will be as distasteful for U.S. leaders as cutting and running, but it is no less essential. That's because we do share vital common interests with Iran. We both want to defeat al-Qaida and the Taliban (Iran hates both). We both want stability in Iraq (Iran will have influence over the Shiite Iraqi south regardless of what we do, but neither Washington nor Tehran wants chaos). And we can help each other when it comes to oil: Iran needs our technology to produce more oil, and we simply need more oil.
• Fourth, real progress must be made on the Palestinian issue as a foundation for Mideast peace. The invasion of Iraq and the U.S. tilt toward Israel have dangerously reduced Washington's power to broker peace or to guarantee Israel's security. We now need Europe's help. And good relations with Iran would help dramatically. No strategy can succeed without these components. We must cut and run tactically in order to succeed strategically. The U.S. needs to restore its reputation so that its capacity to lead constructively will cost us less. William E. Odom, 'Cut and Run' Must be First Step in Iraq, Madison Capital Times, 11-19-06
SOME RELATED POSTS:
Hard Rain Journal 8-31-06: Who Will You Believe About the Coming Confrontation with Iran?
Words of Power #27: Have Far from the Mooring of Reality has this Ship of Fools Drifted? The Regime & Its Enablers Look Past Iraq & Katrina to Iran
Words of Power #16: Lt. Gen. Newbold Bears Witness, Sy Hersh Sounds the Alarm & Patrick Fitzgerald Raises the Stakes
Words of Power #8: Odom and Wilkerson Bear Witness
Richard Power is the founder of GS(3) Intelligence and http://www.wordsofpower.net. His work focuses on the inter-related issues of security, sustainability and spirit, and how to overcome the challenges of terrorism, cyber crime, global warming, health emergencies, natural disasters, etc. You can reach him via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, go to www.wordsofpower.net
Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Bush, William Odom, Cheney, Israel, Palestine, Al-Qaeda, Shia, Sunni