Oh, how the expectations for Iraq have fallen

Jan Frel: "Reduce the slaughter," keep the "conflict within Iraq's borders" ...
"The United States can't stop the Iraqi civil war between Sunnis and Shiites, but it can try to keep this conflict within Iraq's borders." -- That's Post columnist David Ignatius's first offering in his plan to salvage Iraq.

My how the expectations have fallen in DC. This plan, Ignatius tells us, is based on his conversations with experts "in and out of government."

Here's another of Ignatius's suggestions: "America hasn't been able to stop the civil war, but U.S. troops can reduce the slaughter and help provide humanitarian relief for what's likely to be a growing tide of refugees fleeing the battle zones."

"Reduce the slaughter" and "humanitarian relief" is one hell of a far cry from the Jeffersonian democracy Iraq was supposed to enjoy.

Ignatius also recommends that we build "new [oil] pipelines that avoid the Gulf altogether." In other words, we can bank on the conflict expanding beyond Iraq's borders, and we had better make sure that oil supplies are not dependent on ships traveling through the Persian Gulf.

What that invasion of Iraq is turning into is a regional war. And to give guys like Richard Perle credit, it's what they meant when they were talking about "transforming the Middle East." It might not have turned out as they hoped, but I do think they expected a little more violence than what we've seen in Iraq so far.

(Note to readers, in case my bias isn't clear-- I think we should withdraw all troops from Iraq, send billions in reparations, make a national apology for what we've done, among other things. I only say this because in my last post arguing for a different approach to thinking about how to get out of Iraq I was accused of being a war-mongerer in the comments.)
Jan Frel is AlterNet's senior editor.
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