Catch 22 in Iraq

REPUBLICANS are making it clear to President Bush that they won't wait till September when the army submits a report on whether the surge policy has worked or not. Bush has sent an additional 30,000 troops to Iraq to quell the violence that shows no signs of abating.



But the Republican revolt is forcing the White House to reconsider the strategy. The president is evidently under tremendous pressure to set an early deadline for troops pull-out.

Moreover, as an indication of the general mood among Americans, New York Times had unequivocally stressed in its editorial that it's time for the US to leave Iraq without any further delay. The reasons for the call for an “orderly exit” from Iraq are simple. Since 2003, more than 3,000 US troops had been killed and as US commanders in Iraq put it, it will take decades to contain the violence.

But Republicans, who didn't find it hard to shore up support for their leader when he was planning the Iraq invasion, should remember that a hasty pull-out will be fraught with fresh dangers. It could be a case of more haste, less speed. A premature withdrawal leading to a bloodier mess in Iraq may not go down well with their electorate too. And it's no point making the Iraqi administration the scapegoat. As the Iraqi leaders have rightly pointed out, without US troops, the country could face the danger of collapsing into utter chaos. extremist statelets could gain ground and Iraqi troops could disintegrate, leading to the rise of militias.

So military pundits advise a strategic retreat to bases. In other words, US troops could be engaged only in special cases to help the authorities. In that case, the US casualty rate will be reduced and it could also help assuage the growing public resentment against the US occupation.

But in any case it's time speculations are put to rest. President Bush must act now to achieve a military progress in Iraq with pushing the country to the brink of collapse. And his action should not be motivated by any kind of political expediency.


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