I've been bitching about this fiasco in Iraq since Bush first started dropping hints, back in '02. Wasn't a blogger then, but I bitched to anyone who'd listen. Well, we went anyway. I was hoping the election last November would have settled this, but now I've had to think about what I'd do to get us out of Iraq in the best way possible. I'm a mechanic, fixing broken shit's in my nature.
My idea of the best way possible? Leaving Iraq as a functioning state (not necessarily democratic) with a minimum of bloodshed and loss of human life. I believe the best way to do this, in a modicum of time, is with a draft.
Were I President (one who'd inherited this crisis, as John Kerry would have) I would go before the American people and spell it out:
1.) I would get us out of Iraq in a little over two years.
2.) To do it, I will enact a draft for two years.
3.) I would immediately (as fast as time would allow) increase troop strength on the ground in Iraq to between 250 and 500 thousand.
4.) Iraq's borders would be sealed and a genuine 'occupation force' would be put in place. There would be units dedicated to law enforcement, and those detailed to hunting down and killing the terrorists/insurgents/'dead-enders'/whatever. City by city would be pacified and security maintained by American troops (not that stupid bullshit we did in Fallujah).
5.) Iraqi police and National Guard units would be trained properly during this time, without fear of retribution (suicide bombings, drive-bys, kidnappings etc). That's because there'd be enough U.S. troops to keep order, and hunter-killer units hunting and killing the insurgents. Hel-lo, if the borders are sealed, you have a limited number of agitators to deal with. We win the war of attrition, baby, hands down.
6.) Iraqi and Middle Eastern businesses would be given the contracts taken away from Halliburton to rebuild the infrastructure. The contracts taken away from Halliburton to support the U.S. military would be voided and military personnel would be doing those jobs, the way it was done before Halliburton had a stranglehold on the DoD supply chain.
7.) Halfway into this plan (about a year, give or take), if all is going well (safe streets, no daily car bombs and IEDs), I would call Iraqi elections. This would give us a year to turn over power to the new Iraqi government and National Guard and police. A phase-in, so to speak.
8.) 6 months after the election, if things are going smoothly, the U.S. troop drawdown would begin, ending 6 months after the draft runs its two-year course.
It probably wouldn't get me reelected unless I pulled it off perfectly, but to straighten this mess out, it'll take some leadership from someone not concerned about reelection. Am I crazy or in the ballpark? Comments solicited.