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The Paradox

By Matthew Yglesias

"The Paradox"

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Benjamin R. “Randy” Mixon says he needs more troops in Diyala Province:

Mixon, speaking Friday by teleconference from Camp Speicher, outside Tikrit, to a Pentagon news conference, said that he did not have enough soldiers to provide security in Diyala. The local government is “nonfunctional” and the central government is “ineffective,” he said. . . .

Mixon was withering in his criticism of the Iraqi government, saying it was hamstrung by bureaucracy and compromised by corruption and sectarian discord, making it unable to assist U.S. forces in Diyala.

Why, though, isn’t this the reason to take the troops out? After all, what’s the point of throwing ever more American blood and manpower in support of a corrupt, ineffective government? And this is the essential problem. One could easily imagine a post-war situation where Iraq had a government that was not yet competent to run the country, but showed signs of rapid improvement such that if we kept supporting it for a while more, things might turn around. In the real world, though, we’re into the fifth year of this business and instead of improving, things just change and get bad in different ways — what’s the point of responding to the failures of the Iraqi government but sending even more troops to fight?

‹ Countermobilization

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