The always blunt Ralph Peters lays it out. First the good news: “After prosecuting a just and triumphant war, the administration miscalculated much of the conflict’s aftermath. Yet our soldiers pulled the situation together – as they continue to do with increasing success – and President Bush showed the backbone to do what needed doing.” But … “Now he’s on the verge of squandering all that our men and women in uniform have gained.” How? Bush’s “recent move to persuade regional Islamic states to augment our forces in Iraq“ which would be “an act of folly so grave that its repercussions will be far worse than our failure to march on Baghdad at the end of Desert Storm.” Whoa. “[B]ringing in Turkish, Pakistani or Arab troops virtually guarantees the failure of our efforts to give Iraqis a chance to build a reasonably democratic, rule-of-law state.” Harsh words. Peters make a good case for why we should keep these jamokes the Hell out of Iraq. “The Turks are our enemies, not our friends, when it comes to Iraq’s future. … Having worked with Pakistan’s military myself, I know too well that Islamist bigotry permeates its ranks. …Congenitally incompetent, Arab forces would …do all they could to undermine our efforts and those of progressive Iraqis.” Peters tells us he
…spent the past week in Germany, speaking with our soldiers, from generals to privates. Some were just returning from Iraq, while others were about to deploy. I did not hear a single complaint about the mission. Even I was surprised by the optimism and commitment of our troops and their leaders. Our soldiers love their work and do it well. But every soldier, no matter the rank, with whom I raised the subject of Turkish, Pakistani or Arab peacekeepers coming to Iraq agreed it was a crazy, fatal idea.
Peters concludes that we need to start what we have finished, and clever attempts to rebuild Iraq on the cheap will backfire and be a disaster. OK. I’m convinced. Peters doesn’t really suggest alternatives, but it seems to me the alternative is a well-funded, full-scale effort to create a large and well-trained Iraqi army and police forces. Then, with our help, the Iraqis make Iraq safe for Iraqis.