A Progressive Plan for Iraq and the Struggle Against Violent Extremists
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The Bush administration's numerous mistakes – sending in too few troops and not providing proper guidance or equipment as well as its frequent changes in the strategy for Iraq's political transition and reconstruction – have left us with no good options. The status quo is untenable, eroding American power and weakening our ability to keep America secure. But simply shifting gears into reverse and implementing a hasty withdrawal from Iraq is not the answer.
In the absence of fresh ideas, the American public has had to settle for a simplistic debate centered on a false choice – should US forces "stay the course" in Iraq or "cut and run?" These extreme positions avoid the fundamental question the country should debate: Is our government using all its powers effectively to defeat our country's enemies? The answer to that question is a resounding no. The key is focusing on Iraq in the broader context of the global security threats the United States faces.
The United States needs to pursue a plan of Strategic Redeployment. Strategic Redeployment is a threat-based strategy to target our efforts against global terrorist networks and bring greater stability to Iraq and its neighborhood. This approach will minimize the damage to the United States in the short term, mitigate the drawbacks of our eventual withdrawal from Iraq, and secure our interests in the long term. Strategic Redeployment differs from other plans for what to do in Iraq by recognizing that Iraq is now connected to a broader battle against global terrorist networks – even though it was not before the Bush administration's invasion. Strategic Redeployment also means re-engaging our allies, building a platform for multilateral cooperation that counters the terrorist threats we face, rather than relying on ad-hoc "coalitions of the willing."
Strategic Redeployment has four main components: military realignment that restores a realistic deployment policy for our active and reserve forces and moves troops to other hot spots in the struggle against global terrorist networks or brings them home to rebuild; a global communications campaign to counter misinformation and hateful ideologies; new regional diplomatic initiatives; and smarter support for Iraq's renewal and reconstruction.