Dilip Hiro in tomorrow’s The New York Times has correctly identified a problem: We need to establish democracy in Iraq, but speeding up the return of troops to the United States is no way to accomplish this.
It is the conflict between the occupation’s overarching goal — to build a stable, democratic Iraq — and the desire to get American troops out of harm’s way well before the presidential election next November.
His answer is to leave it up to Iraqi security forces to keep the peace. However, the risk is then run that Iraqi security forces will end up consolidating power over the infant nation.
A better solution will be to stay until the job is done. But if the public calls for American troops to be sent home, Hiro will be proven right. After all, Bush does have an election to win in ’04.