Mort Kondrake looks ahead to a prospective future; an ugly one.
The 80 percent alternative [to President Bush’s troop surge gambit] involves accepting rule by Shiites and Kurds, allowing them to violently suppress Sunni resistance and making sure that Shiites friendly to the United States emerge victorious.
No one has publicly advocated this Plan B, and I know of only one Member of Congress who backs it - and he wants to stay anonymous. But he argues persuasively that it's the best alternative available if Bush's surge fails. Winning will be dirty because it will allow the Shiite-dominated Iraqi military and some Shiite militias to decimate the Sunni insurgency. There likely will be ethnic cleansing, atrocities against civilians and massive refugee flows.
On the other hand, as Bush's critics point out, bloody civil war is the reality in Iraq right now. U.S. troops are standing in the middle of it and so far cannot stop either Shiites from killing Sunnis or Sunnis from killing Shiites.
Winning dirty would involve taking sides in the civil war - backing the Shiite-dominated elected government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and ensuring that he and his allies prevail over both the Sunni insurgency and his Shiite adversary Muqtada al-Sadr, who's now Iran's candidate to rule Iraq. [SNIP]
Prudence calls for preparation of a Plan B. The withdrawal policy advocated by most Democrats virtually guarantees catastrophic ethnic cleansing - but without any guarantee that a government friendly to the United States would emerge. Almost certainly, Shiites will dominate Iraq because they outnumber Sunnis three to one. But the United States would get no credit for helping the Shiites win. In fact, America's credibility would suffer because it abandoned its mission. And, there is no guarantee that al-Sadr - currently residing in Iran and resting his militias - would not emerge as the victor in a power struggle with al-Maliki's Dawa Party and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, led by Abdul Aziz al-Hakim.Asks Allahpundit:
[I]n what sense does Kondracke think “American credibility” would be served by letting Sadr put the Sunnis to the sword? We’d be hearing about it from the left and the Islamists for the next thousand years. Al Qaeda would make it a centerpiece of their recruiting strategy. Even Iran, the ostensible beneficiaries, would demagogue the hell out of it with crocodile tears about their “Sunni brothers” whom the Sadrists had no choice but to fight after the U.S. goaded them into it.Answer: he doesn't. Kondracke:
In fact, America's credibility would suffer because it abandoned its mission.Kondrake is merely exercising the prognostication skills about which I discussed in the previous post. The thing about sober preditions, however, is this: some of them are not happy ones, to be perfectly euphemistic about it.
Is there an alternative? Let’s hope so, but, as most commentators have said, it’s up to the Iraqis to understand that the Americans are trying to create the climate which doesn’t lead to ethnic cleansing and to step up and do their part.
(Thanks to Instapundit)