Wednesday, September 26, 2007

PINR Assessment of Petraeus Report

Power and Interest Report is a free intelligence report I get on occasion through my e-mail. Here is their assessment of the Iraq sitrep by General Petraeus:
"The bottom line is that a withdrawal of the majority of U.S. forces from Iraq has become inevitable for both military and political reasons. Yet, as PINR stated in March 2007, "withdrawing the majority of U.S. forces from Iraq will not necessarily be a disaster for U.S. interests. The failure to achieve the original mission in Iraq has already occurred. Upon withdrawal, the United States can begin to pursue operations more in line with its capabilities, using technology to eliminate potential Islamist threats and using its overt and covert elements to work toward a stable government in Baghdad. As for Iran, it is already benefiting from the situation, and a withdrawal of U.S. troops will not suddenly tilt the chessboard in Iran's favor provided that Washington takes adequate steps to contain the country in the region. Regardless of what happens in Iraq, the United States can be expected to maintain its dominance in the Middle East and work to prevent Iraq's instability from spreading outward."

Of course, the dry language masks the psychological and political damage that an incomplete US victory in Iraq will inflict on our own ascendancy in the region.

One problem that PINR overlooks is the boundless grandiosity and self-delusion the Iranians and other players in the region, particularly Syria, are susceptible to.

Time and again, people like the Iranian Grand Ayatollah make statements simply beyond human comprehension, a lot like Ahmadodojihad when he said homosexuality doesn't exist in Iran. Ah....had is a lot like Hitler in that everyone before 1939 regarded him as an overblown clown....contemporary articles are dismissive and condescending while saying he posed no real threat. An Islamic bomb in the hands of Islamists would pose a threat, because delusionals such as Usama bin Laden actually regard themselves as capable of defeating the US.

PINR does reflect the way that the military view the region, as a chessboard of sorts. Even run-of-the-mill diplomats look on it as a three-dimensional chess game.

But experts such as Fouad Ajami and Bernard Lewis know that the way the Arab and Muslim mind approaches the West is a thousand years old, and a tactical retreat by the US will be regarded as a gigantic victory by the regional nutjobs, and they will redouble and triple their efforts to undermine our influence with our allies, who in turn will look elsewhere for assistance.

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