"The suggestion that a jihadist takeover in Iraq would follow a U.S. withdrawal verges on preposterous. It is the latest in a parade of straw men dispatched to scare up support for wrongheaded and failed policies."
"The real threat is civil war. But here too it is not clear how much the U.S. can do to prevent it. If the Shiites and Kurds do not ameliorate the grievances of Iraqi Sunnis, civil war is probable. Keeping U.S. forces in Iraq in such circumstances would at best delay the inevitable."
Daniel Benjamin in the LA Times
Benjamin and I probably disagree less than one might think from a cursory examination of his opinions here.
In his understandable eagerness to refute Cheney, he seems to accept the idea that the insurgency is primarily made up of the international Jihadis associated with Al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQ Iraq). It is quite obvious that AQ Iraq is primarily involved in suicide bombings in the present situation. They care nothing for countries or nationalisms of any kind and Arab national governments are as much their enemies as anyone else. It is is true that the international jihadis do not have and will not have the numbers, organizational skills or weaponry to "take over" and run Iraq.
On the other hand, Benjamin accepts the idea that "civil war" is the more likely outcome in Iraq. This formulation is a bit of a mystery for me. Why isn’t the present situation a "civil war." If you believe that what is being fought out is a struggle between Sunni Arabs and the rest for power and resources, then why is this not a civil war?
To hold that it is not a civil war is to accept the Bush Administration’s thesis that the Sunni nationalist/tribal/Baathist/former military guerrillas do not have the support of a large segment of Sunni Arab society.
Anyone who claims to know anything about insurgencies should know better than that.
Surely Benjamin knows better.