I like retired Army General Wes Clark, might like him more if he had been a Marine, nevertheless, his latest NYT OP-Ed shows him still holding to the belief that a US military presence in Iraq is necessary to ‘affect‘ the outcome.
As one prominent Kuwaiti academic explained to me, in the Muslim world the best way to deal with your enemies has always been to assimilate them – you never succeed in killing them all, and by trying to do so you just make more enemies. Instead, you must woo them to rejoin society and the government. Military pressure should be used in a calibrated way, to help in the wooing.
Wooing via bombing will probably not be much of a campaign slogan for the December 15 elections in Iraq. However, I think Clark has hit upon the very crux of the problem – Iraqi’s don’t want us affecting an outcome, we have meddled enough.