William Lind, in his weekly column On War, writes the following about our options in Iraq:
The question is whether Washington will grasp this opportunity before it fades away. It means halting our war against the Baathists and nationalists, in what would be an acceptance of local defeat. But it opens the door to a potential strategic victory against our real enemies, Islamic non-state forces such as al Qaeda. If, subsequent to an American deal with the Baathists, they root al Qaeda out of Iraq, it will be a greater win for us than if we defeated al Qaeda ourselves, because it will have been beaten by fellow Arabs and Moslems. That strikes directly at al Qaeda?s legitimacy.
However, while this would appear to be a strategy to lead us to an acceptable path to withdrawl while delivering a blow to Islamic fundamentalism, the reason it would not pass muster in this White House is simple. The White House remains convinced that Saddam was in league with Bin Laden, which makes the Sunni Baathists suspect as a result. Given the tendancy to paint with broad strokes, the ability to separate distinct groups required to see this is a valid option that would accomplish a stragetic victory where we deny refuge to the fundamentalists who would do us harm just isn’t there.
And it’s a shame, because right now we’re directly responsible for creating a safe haven for Islamic fundementalist jihad groups to operate in Iraq.