21 October, 2020

Belated Redemption

Wiser counsel prevails on America over Iraq, but can the damage be undone?

illustration by Sandeep Adhwaryu
Belated Redemption
In the past 10 days, US policy in Iraq has come back to earth with a bump. From wanting to rule the country for at least two years, restore peace, rebuild its infrastructure with 'Texan' help and create a brand-new secular democracy that would be a beacon for other countries in West Asia, US goals have shrunk to a determination to leave the country by next June with some semblance of democratic government in place.

The return to earth is welcome, but it has been unduly delayed, is still somewhat uncertain and may be too late. It was prompted by the shooting down of two American helicopters and deaths of 22 American soldiers at the beginning of November. This had been preceded by a steady rise in body count from one a day in August to two a day in October, to almost four a day in November, when 60 American soldiers were killed in 16 days. Behind this lies a steady increase in the number of attacks upon the American soldiers from between 10 and 12 per day in May to 35 or more per day in October and November.

But the rising casualty rate is only half the story. The other...


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