Monday, March 05, 2007

The Only Rational Course

The Quiet Americans:

The ultimate Plan B is pull everybody out," said Stephen D. Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and an adviser to the Defense Department. "Nobody wants to do that. Most are looking at the middle ground between surge and pullout."

Most options involve partial or complete U.S. redeployment from Baghdad and other violent urban centers, followed by containment of the civil war within Iraq's borders -- keeping out meddlesome neighbors such as Iran and preventing a wider, regional conflict. Retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, a former chief of Central Command, the U.S. military headquarters for the Middle East, said Congress is "drifting toward containment" and predicted that option will soon begin gaining popularity.

Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack of the Brookings Institution last month released the most comprehensive public exploration of containment. The two national security experts seemed to wince even as they proposed keeping up to 80,000 troops along Iraq's borders, cautioning that "there would be no end in sight either for the war or for their mission." But it is "the only rational course of action," they wrote.

Iraq 4evah!


BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide car bomb devastated Baghdad's historic booksellers' district on Monday, killing up to 26 people and setting shops and cars ablaze, sending a thick plume of choking black smoke over the city.

As U.S. and Iraqi forces extended a major security crackdown into a key Shi'ite militia haven in northeast Baghdad, the blast was a challenge to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki who has vowed to deal evenly with Sunni Arab insurgents and Shi'ite militias.


BAGHDAD - The bodies of 20 people were found shot dead and some showing signs of torture on Sunday in the western half of Baghdad known as Karkh, police said. Baghdad has become increasingly divided into Shi'ites on the east and Sunni Arabs on the west side of the Tigris, though there is a crossover.