September 10, 2003

Logjam Watch The good news

Logjam Watch

The good news is that the Euros seem to have accepted the principle of a multinational, U.N. authorized force run by an American commander. The bad news is that Franco-German amendments (with the Russians likely positioning themselves to bridge gaps between Paris and Washington) are seeking to have a U.N. representative set the timetable for handing authority back to Iraqis.

That's probably a non-starter in Washington. Some constructive ambiguity and creative diplomacy might yet allow for a compromise. But even if a resolution is passed the benefits may well prove quite modest. Sure, an added imprimatur of international legitimacy would result, some more donor funding might come in, and, perhaps, 20,000 odd international troops might make their way to the theater in half a year or so.

Couple points. Ba'athist resistance and assorted terror groups will just as happily kill Indian or Bangledeshi peacekeepers (or indeed Egyptian or Moroccan ones) as they would U.S. forces. Indeed, they might view them as easier targets. Second, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, 20,000 more troops on the ground might not do the job.

The U.S. responsibility to effectively reconstruct Iraq and allow for a democratic, viable polity is too great to skimp on ground troops. Security is paramount. Again, who doesn't get this in Washington?

Posted by Gregory at September 10, 2003 09:20 AM
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