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Via Eric Martin, James D. Fearon’s article on “Iraq’s Civil War” in a comparative context:

In fact, there is a civil war in progress in Iraq, one comparable in important respects to other civil wars that have occurred in postcolonial states with weak political institutions. Those cases suggest that the Bush administration’s political objective in Iraq — creating a stable, peaceful, somewhat democratic regime that can survive the departure of U.S. troops — is unrealistic. Given this unrealistic political objective, military strategy of any sort is doomed to fail almost regardless of whether the administration goes with the “surge” option, as President George W. Bush has proposed, or shifts toward a pure training mission, as advised by the Iraq Study Group.

Well said. You can’t do the impossible, even with a really smart general and his smart field manual.

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