Good God I wish Wes Clark was something right now. Sec Defense, Sec State, National Security Advisor, something. Clark is a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, ran for President in 04, got beat and would have made a great hire in a Kerry administration. Tough break there. To see what the road not traveled would look like check out Clark's proposal for Iraq:
Unfortunately, the Administration didn't see the need for a diplomatic track. Its scattershot diplomacy in the region – threatening some of Iraq's neighbors with a variety of economic and diplomatic measures and allusions to further military action, expounding aims in the region that sound grandiose, and to many of those who live there, naïve and even somewhat imperialistic, failing to reinforce the US efforts with more culturally and linguistically capable regional allies, and turning away other assistance which might have made US leadership less obtrusive – have been ill-advised and counterproductive. The diplomatic failure magnified the difficulties facing the political and military elements of US strategy by contributing to the increasing infiltration of jihadists, the surprisingly resilient support of the insurgency, and the underlying political difficulties of bringing together representative Iraqi elements
On the political side, the timeline for the agreements on the Constitution are less important than the substance. It is up to American leadership to help engineer a compromise that will avoid the "red lines" of the respective factions and leave in place a state that both we and the neighbors can support. So, no Kurdish vote on independence; a restricted role for Islam, and limited autonomy in the south. And no private militias.
The growing chorus of voices demanding a pull-out should seriously alarm the Bush Administration. For President Bush and his team are repeating the failure of Vietnam – failing to craft a realistic and effective policy, and in its place, simply demanding that the American people show resolve. Resolve alone isn't enough to mend a flawed approach. If the Administration won't adopt a winning strategy, then the American people will be justified in demanding that the Administration bring our troops home.
If we can't do it right we have to get out. And Bush isn't doing it right.