Monday, June 14, 2004
On NBC's "Meet The Press," Mr. Powell called the security situation "long and hot and bloody right now," and answered "yes," when asked by host Tim Russert whether Iraqis must "be willing to kill fellow Iraqis if need be to put down the insurgency."
If the United States is going to be serious about transferring Iraqi sovereignty to a local government, then there must be no illusions that this is a impediment to total control over waging the War on Terrorism.
Now, the cost-benefit analysis might prove that this is worth it: employing Afghan militias to do most of the fighting against the Taliban reduced US casualties during the October-November 2001 campaign. Although the unexpected cost of high-level Al Qaeda leaders slipping away blunts the argument somewhat, the plan was still beneficial in avoiding a slow military build-up and allowing a quick response in the aftermath of 9/11.But the point is that an increased indigenous Iraqi role in eliminating the terrorists in that country is pretty much undeniable. But the question of whether they are willing to kill to achieve that objective is still uncertain. Secretary Powell's remarks have the dual benefit of reminding the Iraqis that sovereignty doesn't come cheap, and reminding Americans at home that we cannot leave our job to others if they aren't willing to pick up the slack.