Disengaging and Staying - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Disengaging and Staying
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A novel suggestion on Iraq from Edward Luttwak. Luttwak is pessimistic on the surge; he believes it will be doomed by Maliki’s weakness. But he’s not in favor of a total withdrawal, either:

Fortunately, there is a promising, long-term policy ready and waiting for President Bush whenever he decides to call off the good old college try of his surge: disengagement. By this, I don’t mean a phased withdrawal, let alone the leap in the dark of total abandonment. Rather, it would start with a tactical change: American soldiers would no longer patrol towns and villages, conduct cordon-and-search operations, or man outposts and checkpoints. An end to these tasks would allow the greatest part of the troops in Iraq to head home, starting with overburdened reservists and National Guard units.

The remaining American forces, including ground units, would hole up within safe and mostly remote bases in Iraq – to support the elected government, deter foreign invasion, dissuade visible foreign intrusions, and strike at any large concentration of jihadis should it emerge. This would mean, contrary to most plans being considered now, that United States military personnel could not remain embedded in large numbers within the Iraqi Army and police forces. At most, the Americans would operate training programs within safe bases.

I’m quite skeptical of Luttwak’s claim that this “would not be likely to increase the violence afflicting Iraqi civilians.” But if the surge disappoints, his idea is certainly a Plan B worth considering.

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