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Somalia and Iraq

How many others watched the reports of the AC-130 gunship attacks in Somalia and thought, "Now this is what a global war on terror should look like?" So why doesn't the GWOT look more like this more often? Because we're focusing far too much energy, militarily, strategically and politically, on Iraq.

The view of the Iraq was as part of the greater GWOT always seemed predicated on the benefit of having a strategic, large-footprint foothold in the region, and one that is not in Saudi Arabia. Iraq seemed the perfect choice because it offered us an "easy in." Iraq's sovereignty already lay in shambles, thanks to no-fly zones, trade sanctions and the presence of weapons inspectors. Moreover, a formal state of hostilities obtained between the West and Iraq, which continued to thwart the will of the international community. And given Iraq's prime strategic location, the choice, it seemed, was obvious.

It seemed a reasonable idea, but alas, did not work as planned. Worse, I fear an inversion has taken place, in which Iraq is now seen less as a failed strategic move in a broader struggle and has become the pre-eminent focus of American foreign policy in its own right.

And now we're facing a "troop surge." Not two or three years ago when it might have done some good, but now. Counterinsurgency experts estimate that 20,000 to 30,000 troops would be the minimum number required to have an impact on the security situation, but current political realities quickly transformed this "minimum" into an absolute maximum.

Can it work? I suppose it's possible, if it's done right, but I'm not betting on it. Who would? I'll try to watch Bush's pitch with an open mind, but I'm deeply skeptical going into it. I'm hoping, although not really expecting, somebody can give me reason to change my mind.