Rick Brookheiser proposes a superior alternative to the conclusions of the Iraq Study Group: Kill our enemies, quickly.
We have played the Iraq War various ways. Gen. Tommy Franks drove to Baghdad and resigned. Paul Bremer fired the Iraqi Army and called a constitutional convention. A constitution got written, and most Iraqis rallied to it, but the men of blood continued their work. Lately we have been appealing to Sunni tribal leaders—with some success, though not enough. By this ass-backward route, we have arrived at the place we were in Afghanistan on Halloween of 2001, three and a half weeks into Operation Enduring Freedom, with everyone in a tizzy and the late R.W. Apple savoring the “the ominous word ‘quagmire.’” The solution then was to stop worrying about the effects of our actions on the long-term fate of the country and to kill as many Taliban as possible. Which we did, and which led to victory. (Yes, the Taliban are still out there; no one said freedom is easy.) The solution now is to put 30,000 troops into Baghdad, without stripping Anbar, and kill the enemies of order. If the generals say they don’t need 30,000 more troops, find new generals.
Livy was another old writer—a historian, not a poet. He said that when the ancient Romans were digging the foundations of a Temple of Jupiter, they uncovered a bleeding head (commemorated in the word capitol, which comes from caput, the Latin for “head”). The state begins in violence. Free states give way to order and peace, but they too begin there.
This is not international social work, or finishing a job. Since the violent in Iraq include Al Qaeda, and terrorist wannabes, killing them is a twofer. Let the end begin.