Exit Strategies

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Over at TPMCafe, Anne-Marie Slaughter lays out her “plan” for Iraq, which involves… internationalizing the situation. Hm, where have we heard that before? At any rate, her post is worth reading, and it’s important to stress, as she does, that promoting democracy alone won’t cut it—creating a liberal world order is also quite crucial.

That said, it does seem that bringing in international contractors, making the reconstruction process more transparent, fixing our interrogation practices, all of those things are laudable goals, but don’t quite get at the fundamental problem in Iraq: namely, that there are a wide swath of Sunnis who aren’t happy with the power and status they’ve lost, and believe they can recoup much of that beginning to fight; along with a wide swath of Shia who have no intention of weakening their newly-won majority. That’s not the only problem of course; tensions in Kirkuk between Kurds, Arabs, and Turkomen certainly have the potential to erupt and explode and leave hundreds of thousands dead, but the main source of tension seems to be between the insurgents and the government.

What it would take to sort this out is beyond me. Perhaps “staying the course,” meaning the military would continue to hunt insurgents down, continue to hope that the Sunnis can be drawn into the political process (this is a promising step), and continue to keep building Iraq where and when it can. Have patience, keep their fingers crossed, and hope not too many people die. Another option is a limited withdrawal. The problem is that once the U.S. starts down the path of withdrawing its troops, there’s no turning back if it proves to be a mistake. So unless all the mounting pressure for an exit strategy coming out Congress turns into something significant, then, it looks like the status quo will pretty much be the strategy for a long while.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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