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The No-Legged Stool

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The new Bush plan for Iraq was described in the Senate armed services committee hearings this morning as a three-legged stool. The analogy was that a stool would not support its occupant without all three legs. The three legs of the Bush plan for Iraq are 1) additional troop reinforcements being sent to Baghdad and Anbar province, 2) a new willingness by the notoriously unwilling Iraqi puppet government to start cracking down on sectarian violence, and 3) more money to bribe the Iraqis that we don't kill.

Unfortunately for our troops and for the world, President Bush's plan is more like a no-legged stool than a three-legged stool. There is no reason to think that another surge of 20,000 US troops would be enough to clear and hold a country of 24 million people with porous borders to Iran and Syria. Further, there is absolutely no reason to think that the Iraqi government can or will do anything about the growing sectarian violence in that country. Finally, much of the money we have dumped into Iraq in an attempt to either rebuild infrastructure destroyed by us, or to get the Iraqi people back to work has disappeared without a trace. The infrastructure has not been rebuilt, and most Iraqi men are still not gainfully employed, although they may be working for the insurgency pro bono.

The fact of the matter is that a functional stool must have three sturdy legs. A no-legged stool ensures you will fall flat on your ass. Personally, I doubt President Bush's Iraq plan would work even if all three parts were realized, but I think just about everybody would agree that it will be a miracle if all three legs of the plan can be successfully implemented.

The only rational way out of Iraq is the Baker-Hamilton Iraq study group plan. Virtually none of that plan is being implemented by our decider in chief, so we can expect a further erosion of the situation in Iraq over the next several months. Chicken hawks like Joe Lieberman say that no one has presented a viable alternative plan, but he knows that is a lie. He knows as well as everyone else that the Baker-Hamilton plan is much more likely to succeed, but it doesn't concur with his neoconservative beliefs. As such, the plan does not exist for him.

It will be interesting to see how long the Bush administration can string the Congress and the American people along in this failed endeavor by claiming that failure is not an option. Failure has already occurred, and all that a troop escalation will reap is more violence and death.
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John R. Moffett PhD is a research neuroscientist in the Washington, DC area. Dr. Moffett's main area of research focuses on the brain metabolite N-acetylaspartate, and an associated genetic disorder known as Canavan disease.

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