Fareed Zakaria at PostGlobal

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. He is a member of the roundtable of ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanapoulos" as well as an analyst for ABC News. And he is the host of a new weekly PBS show, "Foreign Exchange" which focuses on international affairs. His most recent book, "The Future of Freedom," was published in the spring of 2003 and was a New York Times bestseller and is being translated into eighteen languages. He is also the author of "From Wealth to Power: The Unusual Origins of America's World Role" (Princeton University Press), and co-editor of "The American Encounter: The United States and the Making of the Modern World" (Basic Books). Close.

Fareed Zakaria

Editor of Newsweek International, columnist

PostGlobal co-moderator Fareed Zakaria is editor of Newsweek International, overseeing all Newsweek's editions abroad. He writes a regular column for Newsweek, which also appears in Newsweek International and often The Washington Post. more »

Main Page | Fareed Zakaria Archives | PostGlobal Archives


What Obama Should Say On Iraq

Barack Obama needs to give a speech about Iraq. Otherwise he will find himself in the unusual position of having being prescient about the war in 2002 and yet being overtaken by events in 2008. The most important reason to do this is not political. Iraq is fading in importance for the public and, to the extent that it matters as an electoral issue, most people agree with Obama's judgment that the war was not worth fighting.

The reason to lay out his approach to Iraq is that, were he elected, the war would be his biggest and most immediate problem. He will need to implement a serious policy on Iraq, one that is consistent with his long-held views but is also informed by the conditions on the ground today. This is what he should say:

"In six months, on Jan. 20, 2009, we will have a new president. But it is not clear that we will chart a new course in the ongoing war in Iraq. Senator McCain has promised a continuation of the Bush strategy—to stay in Iraq with no horizon in sight, with no benchmarks or metrics that would tell us when American troops can come home. In 2006, when levels of violence were horrifyingly high, President Bush and Senator McCain said that things were going so badly that if we left, the consequences would be tragic. Today they say that things are going so well that if we leave, the consequences would be tragic. Whatever the conditions, the answer is the same—keep doing what we're doing. How does one say 'Catch-22' in Arabic?

"I start from a different premise. I believe that the Iraq War was a major strategic blunder. It diverted us from the battle against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan—the people who launched the attacks of 9/11 and who remain powerful and active today. We face threats in Iraq, but the two greatest ones, as General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have testified, are Al Qaeda (which is wounded but not dead) and Iran. Both are a direct consequence of the invasion. There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before 2003, and Iran's influence has expanded massively since then.

"And then there are the more tangible costs. The war has resulted in over 4,000 U.S. combat deaths, four times as many grievously wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths. Over 2 million Iraqis have fled the country and 2 million more have been displaced within the country. The price tag in dollars has also been staggering. In the last five years, the United States has spent close to $1 trillion on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. That is enough money to rebuild every school, bridge and road in America, create universal health care and fund several Manhattan Projects in alternative energy. Whatever benefits the invasion of Iraq might produce, it cannot justify these expenditures in lives and treasure.

"But these costs have already been paid. Nothing we can do today, in June 2008, can reduce those expenditures or bring back to life those brave people. We have to look at the situation we're in now and ask, what can we do to create the best possible outcome at an acceptable cost? Economists warn us not to dwell on 'sunk costs' and, while painful, we must move beyond the mistakes of the past and focus on the possibilities of the future.

"The surge has produced a considerable decline in violence in Iraq. General Petraeus has accomplished this by using more troops and fighting differently. Perhaps more crucially, he reached out and made a strategic accommodation with many Sunni groups that had once fought U.S. troops. To put it bluntly, he talked to our enemies. These reversals of strategy have had the effect of creating what General Petraeus calls 'breathing space' for political reconciliation. And he has always said that without political progress in Iraq, military efforts will not produce any lasting success.

"He is right. All today's gains could disappear when American troops leave—and they will have to leave one day. The disagreement I have with the Bush administration is that it seems to believe that time will magically make these gains endure. It won't. Without political progress, once the United States reduces its forces, the old mistrust and the old militias will rise up again. Only genuine political power-sharing will create a government and an Army that are seen as national and not sectarian. And that, in turn, is the only path to make Iraq viable without a large American military presence.

"In recent months there has been some movement on the reconciliation long promised by the Bush administration. It remains piecemeal and limited—nothing like the new national compact that the Maliki government promised two years ago—but I welcome the gains. It is encouraging to see the Iraqi government act against Shiite militias in Basra and Sadr City, which sends a signal that they will be equal-opportunity enforcers of the law.

"More needs to happen. Militias remain powerful in many parts of Iraq. The Sunni tribes that have switched sides must have their members enrolled in the armed forces and police (a process that has moved very slowly so far). Constitutional discussions that have been postponed again and again need to take place soon.

"I have often said that we cannot give a blank check to the Iraq government. And I believe that congressional pressure—the growing frustration of Democrats and Republicans—was an important factor in getting the Iraqi leadership to start moving on outstanding political issues. I believe that we must continue to keep that pressure on the government in Baghdad. The best pressure remains the threat of troop withdrawals. But the obvious corollary is that were the Iraqi government to take decisive action, we should support it by altering the pace of our drawdown. I have set as a target the reduction of U.S. forces at one to two brigades a month, starting in early 2009. Were the Iraqi government to make significant political progress and request a pause in this timetable, and were General Petraeus to support this request, I would give it serious consideration.

"My objective remains to end American combat involvement in Iraq and to do so expeditiously. At some point we are going to have to take off the training wheels in Iraq. I believe that we must have a serious plan that defines when that point is reached. If we define success as an Iraq that looks like France or Holland, we will have to stay indefinitely, continue spending $10 billion a month and keep 140,000 troops in combat. And that is neither acceptable nor sustainable. We will have to accept as success a muddy middle ground—an Iraq that is a functioning, federal democracy with a central government and an army able to tackle the bulk of challenges they face. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have themselves said that no matter what success we achieve, there will remain some Al Qaeda presence in Iraq and some Iranian influence, since Iran is a neighbor.

"I have been a longstanding opponent of the Iraq War. But I am a passionate supporter of the Iraqi people. They deserve a decent future after decades of tyranny and five years of chaos. The United States must continue its assistance and engagement with Iraq on a whole range of issues—economic, administrative and security-related. We owe the Iraqi people this, and we hope to maintain a friendship with them for decades. I have always said that I would not withdraw troops precipitously, nor do I insist that we will draw down to zero. If circumstances require, we will have a small presence in the country to fight Al Qaeda, train the Iraqi Army, protect American interests and provide humanitarian assistance. But it will be small and it will be temporary—which is also as the Iraqi people seem to wish.

Another significant difference between Senator McCain and me is that I would couple the reduction in our military forces in Iraq with a diplomatic surge, not just to push the Iraqis to make deals, but also to get its neighbors more productively involved in Iraq. It is a sign of our neglect of diplomacy that today, five years after the fall of Saddam Hussein, only two Arab governments have pledged to name an ambassador to Baghdad. Iraq is not an island. It is a founding member of the Arab League and a crucial country in the Persian Gulf. We need to engage with all Iraq's neighbors—including Syria and Iran—to create a lasting political stability that is supported in the region.

"But finally, I would return to my original concerns. General Petraeus has successfully executed the task he was given, to shore up a collapsing situation in Iraq. But his responsibility was Iraq. His new area of operation stretches from the Arab world into Pakistan and Afghanistan. There lie the most dangerous and immediate threats to American security. The Taliban is enjoying its greatest resurgence since 9/11. Former U.S. commander Gen. Dan McNeill has said we need at least two more combat brigades to fight it. But there are literally no brigades to spare because of our massive commitment in Iraq.

"The president of the United States is responsible not just for Iraq, not just for the Middle East and West Asia, but for America's interests across the globe. We must make our commitment in Iraq one that is limited, temporary and thus sustainable. And we must also be aware that there is a much larger world out there, with the Taliban in Afghanistan, with Iran's growing ambitions, a rising China, a resurgent Russia, an obstructionist Venezuela. All these require attention. The test of a commander in chief is not to focus obsessively on one battlefield but to keep all of them in view and to use resources and tactics in a way that creates an overall grand strategy, one that keeps the American people safe and the world at peace."

Comments (96)

DDG56:

Barrack has been in the unusual position of flip-flopping on war since 2002 and yet some people continue to ignore his flip-flops and ignorance and inexperience. In 2002, he contemplated whether to support the war or go against it. His view on Iraq War since has shifted slowly from being for the war to being against the war as public opinion changes. He was for the immediate pull out of troops and now that we are making progress, he is slowly evolving his political stand on troops pull out. Where are the Democrats who voted for the war? Can we hold them accountable for their votes on the war? No, because some people who supports the Democrats or Obama would continue to ignore the fact that majority of Democrats also supported and permitted the war. Obama should not only be on the defense for his inexperience but for his weakness. Have we forgotten 9-11 was the result of Bill Clinton's contemplation on war on terrorism? We could have killed Bin Laden when he was the president but he ignored a phone call from one of his military commander to request shooting Bin Laden when we our soldiers were within eyesight of killing him. I guess playing golf was more important than hunting Bin Laden. We do not need another Bill Clinton in the office, and Obama is slowly showing the same character. Barrack is full of campaign promises but lacks the substance, actions and especially the firmness to stand by his political views. The toughest decision for a Commander-In-Chief is to send troops to war. It is especially tough when troops are getting killed and injured. Today, I had the opportunity to meet two soldiers who lost their arms and legs. It was tough to shake their hands but I gave them the honor that they deserve. As a chief in the Navy, I always give orders that my sailors would not agree. But right or wrong, I am accountable for my actions. I hope Obama and the Democrats would do the same. The decision to send troops was not made the president alone but with the approval of the Congress.

Bill :

MORE ON GETTING TO KNOW OBAMA: Trinity United Church of Christ adopted the BLACK Value System written by the Manford Byrd Recognition Committee chaired by Vallmer Jordan in 1981. They believe in the following 12 precepts and covenantal statements. These BLACK Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever BLACKS are gathered. They must reflect on the following concepts:

1. Commitment to God
2. Commitment to the BLACK Community
3. Commitment to the BLACK Family
4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education
5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence
6. Adherence to the BLACK Work Ethic
7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect
8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
9. Pledge to make the fruits of all developing and acquired skills available to the BLACK Community
10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting BLACK Institutions
11. Pledge allegiance to all BLACK leadership who espouse and embrace the Black Value System
12. Personal commitment to embracement of the BLACK Value System.

Please read the "BLACK Value System" again -- only this time, substitute the word "White" for "BLACK."

If your church had such a "White Value System" Jesse and Al and the NAACP would have 10,000 demonstrators out front in a heartbeat.

===============================================


HOW WELL DO VOTERS KNOW OBAMA...DO YOU KNOW? *** "CAN OBAMA BE PRESIDENT?

It seems that Barack Obama is not qualified to be president after all for the following reason:

Barack Obama is not legally a U.S. natural-born citizen according to the law on the books at the time of his birth, which falls between "December 24, 1952 to November 13, 1986?

Presidential office requires a natural-born citizen if the child was not born to two U.S. citizen parents, which of course is what exempts John McCain though he was born in the Panama Canal US Law very clearly stipulates: ".If only one parent was a U.S. citizen at the time of your birth, that parent must have resided in the United States for at least ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16."

Barack Obama's father was not a U.S. citizen and Obama's mother was only 18 when Obama was born, which means though she had been a U.S. citizen for 10 years, (or citizen perhaps because of Hawaii being a territory) the mother fails the test for being so for at least 5 years **prior to** Barack Obama's birth, but *after* age 16. It doesn't matter *after* . In essence, she was not old enough to qualify her son for automatic U.S. citizenship.

At most, there were only 2 years elapsed since his mother turned 16 at the time of Barack Obama's birth when she was 18 in Hawaii. His mother would have needed to have been 16 5= 21 years old, at the time of Barack Obama's birth for him to have been a natural-born citizen. As aforementioned, she was a young college student at the time and was not. Barack Obama was already 3 years old at that time his mother would have needed to have waited to have him as the only U.S. Citizen parent. Obama instead should have been naturalized, but even then, that would still disqualify him from holding the office.

*** Naturalized citizens are ineligible to hold the office of President. *** Though Barack Obama was sent back to Hawaii at age 10, all the other info does not matter because his mother is the one who needed to have been a U.S. citizen for 10 years prior to his birth on August 4, 1961, with 5 of those years being after age 16. Further, Obama may have had to have remained in the country for some time to protect any citizenship he would have had, rather than living in Indonesia.

Now you can see why Obama's aides stopped his speech about how we technically have more than 50 states, because it would have led to this discovery. This is very clear cut and a blaring violation of U.S. election law. I think the Gov. of California would be very interested in knowing this if Obama were elected President without being a natural-born U.S. citizen, and it would set precedence.

Stay tuned to your TV sets because I suspect some of this information will be leaking through over the next several days."

Thomas Sowell
Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow
The Hoover Institution
Stanford University
Stanford, California 94305

"Reaching out to the enemy," has the quaint triteness that it sounds reasonable and rational, but what will the enemy have in his hand as we reach to shake it?

Why Zakaria inserted the word "China" in his rambling speech ? Just to show he is aware of the outside world?
Since that has been done, one should learn a lesson or two from Chinese history. When the Manchu of the Qing dynasty entered the capital (now known as Beijing)they decreed that officials of the defeated government would hold their original posts, and the residents continue in their usual calling. Thus the city remained calm in spite of management change. That happened in 1644. This lesson is too late for Bagdad. But Obama or McCain can get a private history tutor after the election.

peace4world:

Dear Fareed:

Senator Obama already gave a speech about Iraq. The issue is whether he is going to keep his words: Meeting any leaders in the world--without any preconditions. The debate in the fall should be how to manage the war after Bush.

Anyone who can explain why US should stay or leave in a logical manner will win. Why? The electoral map is tied: All depends on independents and swing voters who oppose the war yet who also do not agree with Senator Obama's trade policy that does not make sense.

amit_in_sf:

The currents have changed. So, go with the flow, Mr. Zakaria. Never mind that you were one of the lead cheer leaders drumming up support for the war in the so-called “responsible” part of the media. I have already discounted Fox News and other “irresponsible” parts.

You would have slightly more credibility if you were to own up to your past sins. But hey, would a pundit still be a pundit if he were to eat a humble pie?

ff:

"We know that, he talks to us like we are illiterate. "

Well, it's still a step forward from the current situation, where an illiterate President talks to us like we're illiterate and stupid to boot.

chad:

No, what Barack Obama should say is, "We're pulling out just as soon as we possibly can, while maintaining maximum force protection. First, we retrograde to defensible bases, preferably with airfields. That, or we exfiltrate our troops out via the souther expressway and Kuwait. Then the IRAQI PEOPLE, can deal with your own mess. Americans are tired of playing bloody nurse-maid to blood thirsty, religious savages wholly consumed by the medieval compulsion to kill each other over the brand of another's religion. Once the succesful exfiltration of Iraq is complete, wheel on Saudi Arabia and conquer the oil fields, along with Kuwait's. Let the residents die of starvation because the world would be far better off without them. And take the Israelis with them.

The Third World War is coming and I say, Let's Get a Jump on the Chinese and Russians.

Of course, I'm a Democrat, though clearly not the Liberal version, so what do I know?

Anonymous:

CJ Knew:

What?, are you crazy¿

We can criticize Bush/McCain for many things, but changing course is not one of them?

Do we need to remind you of the period of recorded history known as 2003 - 2006?

Changing course wasn't an option then for the Bush administration. And the only reason they decided to LISTEN and change (a wee bit) was because they saw the handwriting on the wall.

Give it up. You're logic is ill-logical.

Actually, the speech should be much shorter. It should go:

On 9/11, we embarked on a war that has now lasted longer than WWII. In that time, we have had one great success - in freeing Afghanistan from the Taliban - and then made a series of misjudgments and wrong moves that have eroded our standing all around the world, and ironically, buffered the very people who attacked us on 9/11, Osama bin Laden and al qaeda, who have operated with impunity for the last four years across the border from Afghanistan, training Taliban troops to incurse in Afgahnistan territory, killing American soldiers.

But, taking our eyes off the prize, we proceeded to invade and occupy Iraq. The reasons we went into Iraq don't have to be surveyed here. They were skewed and, at best, insufficient. Our occupation has achieved all it is going to achieve in the way of securing the government of Iraq. That government is a surprising thing - it is headed by the Da'wa party. In the 1980s, the Da'wa party allied with Hezbollah in attacking American embassies throughout the Middle East, including the big bombing of the embassy and Marine Corps in Beirut. Today, we fight alongside of these people, protecting them.

The lesson there is clear - we must adapt to achanging landscape. If we can ally ourselves with the Da'wa party, then we can surely talk to Iran. My plan for withdrawing from Iraq is simple: it is to direct our efforts, from November 8th onward, to getting out of Iraq and making the Persian Gulf a more peaceful place. To do this will require negotiating with the Iranian government so that it can assume its rightful place in the Middle Eastern system.

The advantage of this is twofold. Security fears have run up the price of oil at an astonishing clip. In one blow, we will take out the security fear, thus bringing the price of oil back to a rational level. Secondly, we will mitigate any hostilities that could catch hold in Iraq as we leave by creating a structure for negotiating conflict.

We have things we want the Iranians to do. Just as the Chinese, while disagreeing with the status of Taiwan, have agreed not to attack Taiwan, we want the Iranians to agree to non-agression against the state of Israel. As Isreal and Palestine evolve towards a two state solution, this agreement will be reinforced by the facts on the ground.

Goodnight.

Mike:

Obama needs a policy statement that could be published. The speech can summarize the important points and that can be done. Eliminate the drama of this particular speech, and let the policy statement take on a life of its own in the talk shows. They would love it because not that many people will have a chance to read the statement. The press and media would do the work.

JC:

We should set a date and stick to a date. What I don't see in many of these post is the idea that the members of the Iraqi parliment want us to leave their country. It is their country so they should make the decisions. They have stated that they may need assistance from our military with training, maybe peacekeeping. But if they do not want us there, playing the role that we are currently playing. Then we should leave. Period. America should not be crusading for democracy. We should support it, nurture it, encourage it, but this is obviously Bush's crusade to shove our way of life down this countries throat. That is very arrogant,and historically has not worked out well in our favor. If they are willing to take responsibility for their own country. We should not stop them.

CJ Knew:

Characterizing the Bush/McCain approach as "keep doing what we're doing" is obviously false. The improvement in conditions on the ground in Iraq between 2006 and the present occurred precisely because we CHANGED course there. It is fair to criticize Bush/McCain for many things regarding the war in Iraq, but an unwillingness to change course is not one of them.

Captain John:

It's a good idea, but as a speech it is too long.

Shorten it a bit, make it more focused, and then your 'speech' for Mr. Obama may get the country's attention.

You've got about 45 seconds to make your case, then about four minutes to help me understand why I should listen to you or read your stuff.

You lost me at 3 minutes, and I'm pretty bright. Take that speech to Ohio, and you'll have them falling asleep in no time.

Larry R. Lugnut:

I hadn't seen or heard of Mr. Zakaria before. His advice to Obama and the many comments have made me feel like an old friend.

mouli:

Mr. Zakaria,

Before directing what Obama should or should not say in terms of Iraq policy, didn't drum up to the war?

Why is there any follow-up since then?

I know you guys are arm-chair arm-twisters who will chase candidates and paint them to a corner for taking a position if it is not your professed "intelligent" opinion.

You will drum-up and silently change your view calling yourself a pundit. While at the same time, if a candidate says, it is dubbed as not being consistent.

Larry Roberts:

Dr. Zakaria comes across as a "House Muslim" to the neocons, even though he's with Newsweek, hardly a Bush 43 cheering section. Another one would be Ambassador Zalmay Khalizad, "House Muslim" to Bush 41.

rbe1:

My advice, Mr. Zakaria, is shut up and listen to the man. I don't think he needs your advice.

Dave:
I wish people would stop saying Israel was "created" in 1948. If anything, it was 'created' in 1917, with the Balfour Declaration, by the Brits. And the planning and groundwork started 40 years before that, by Herzl, Ben Gurion, Weitzman and other zionists. America was not "created" in 1776 either, it just underwent a management change and a name change, starting then. Normally, it would be an academic distinction. But in this case, the "Hitler made us do it" rationale for Israel's "creation" falls apart, since effects can't happen before their causes.

I know this post is not exactly on-topic, but reading so many posts here makes clear the level of ignorance involving the zionist occupation of Palestine, aka Israel.

Posted June 23, 2008 3:44 PM

The Balfour Declaration represents the paper creation of Israel. 1949 represents the balls out creation of the State of Israel. To give no credit for the 1949 creation of the state of Israel is a shame for any defender of the Israeli state.

Jack:

Catch-22 is right - that part I agree with. The catch-22 however, isn't about security - as so many of us know its about oil. The catch-22 is that as long as we need the oil we need to spend billions of dollars and lives to be able to mine that resource. The money we use to get oil out of Iraq can't be used to created alternate energy resources to divest ourselves of foreign intervention and dependency on a resources from an unstable part of the world.
Bush's policies made us very vulnerable. How so? Iran or anyone who hates Israel, our one true ally in the middle east, can easily make our lives miserable by killing our soldiers and we really can't go after that them full force without risking financial suicide. Also one of our major trading partners, China, has joined us in becoming massive users of imported oil. And there isn't going to be enough for both of us for much longer. A inept man got us into this mess now we need a genius to get us out of it. And genius is rare.

ZZim:

Independant, did you just assert that "Peace is morally unjustified"? Or only that "Enforcing peace is morally unjustified"? Or are you saying that "Breaching the peace is fine as long as you leave me alone"?

And did you also speak of Pax Americana in the hypothetical future tense? Do you then assert that we are NOT currently living in a state of Pax Americana?

carl lee:

Opinions are like ... oops, this is a family site.

At any rate. Iraq did not have WMD and is not threat to the U-S of A nor its neighbors.

Most Iraqis want us out of Iraq. Most of the world wants us out of Iraq. Most Americans want us out of Iraq.

Why the disconnect? Let's get the * out of Iraq.

Dave:

I wish people would stop saying Israel was "created" in 1948. If anything, it was 'created' in 1917, with the Balfour Declaration, by the Brits. And the planning and groundwork started 40 years before that, by Herzl, Ben Gurion, Weitzman and other zionists. America was not "created" in 1776 either, it just underwent a management change and a name change, starting then. Normally, it would be an academic distinction. But in this case, the "Hitler made us do it" rationale for Israel's "creation" falls apart, since effects can't happen before their causes.

I know this post is not exactly on-topic, but reading so many posts here makes clear the level of ignorance involving the zionist occupation of Palestine, aka Israel.

Independent:

Barack Obama has showed sound judgment in initially opposing the invasion and occupation of Iraq, as well as promising timely withdrawal of most military forces from there. He has made the claim he is a different candidate, from the politics of old, one of the centerpieces of his campaign. Barack's opposition to the costly war and occupation in Iraq is one of the key reasons why a slim majority of voters chose him over Hillary Clinton as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Barack, if elected president, will need to show people in this country and the world he is a person true to his word, by beginning withdrawals, as he has promised. The tens of billions each year wasted in Iraq needs to be spent in this country, expanding health care coverage, improving the public schools, enhancing our security by increasing police forces, etc.

President Obama, if he changes his often stated position on the issue of withdrawals from Iraq, would demonstrate his candidacy, based on being the agent of change and a new politics, was a charade. Cynicism among most people about politicians would considerably increase.

Fareed Zakaria says Barack should say: "The president of the United States is responsible not just for Iraq, not just for the Middle East and West Asia, but for America's interests across the globe." I could not disagree more strongly. The countries and people in those regions are ultimately responsible for their well-being and security more than the president of the United States. A Pax Romana revived, as some advocate, as a Pax Americana on the entire world is highly arrogant, morally unjustified, would alienate most of the rest of the people in the world and would be very costly, This is the mentality that led to disastrous intervention in Vietnam and Iraq.

Leo Brux:

Who will decide about US actions in Iraq? - Will it be the new President? - I doubt it.

The "permanent bases" are not built to have the US troops abandon them in the next two years. They are designed for the next decades: to allow better control of the MidEast.

Iraq was conquered to get privileged access to the MidEast OIL. It's the oil, stupid. The USA will not give up these vast oil ressources to those whom Iraqis would chose if they could chose.

I don't know what is the real distribution of power in the USA - what role exactly play the elites, Big Money, Corporations, and how they manipulate politics.

But it is obvious that it is not the people, not the voters who will decide about whether the USA will leave Iraq or not. The voters' opinion is clear, and clear for several years now:
Finish this misadventure!
Two thirds of the voters want the US troops out in at least two years.

Obama will ignore that.
US politics will ignore that.
And they CAN ignore that!

How is it possible for politics to ignore such a persistently outspoken will of the voters and just continue to follow the opposite course, the course two thirds of the voters reject?

Somehow, the USA is no longer a democracy.

Or do you have a better explanation for this weird difference in voter opinion and government politics?

Joshua Hilbert:

Zakaria,

Do you have time to read the Washington Post or the Newsweek. The al-Qaeda and Taliban are not in Afghanistan any more (since a little after 9/11).

They are now based in Pakistan. Obama has already said he will attack Pakis, if need be.

Is that ok with you?

ZZim:

Hey Anonymous, it's not really the worst mess in history. Seriously. And it's really not as big of a mess as George Bush's domestic political enemies have painted it. And the fact that it's messy is not necessarily a point against it.

It is very messy, no doubt about it. Nobody with any brains ever said it wasn't or that it wouldn't be. Nation-building and counter-insurgency are messy. Chocolate cake is chocolatey. Oil is oily. Nation-building and counter-insurgency are messy.

So here's the problem - it's a race against time. Messiness erodes political support over time. So the insurgent's strategy is to keep it as messy as possible for as long as possible until one of two things happens - either (A) all the insurgents are killed, or (B) the messiness erodes political support for the war back home enough for us to quit. A good example of "A" is the Malaysian Communist guerillas - eventually 90% of them were hunted down and killed. A good example of "B" in the Soviet venture in Afghanistan.

This one is turning out quite well. And in record time too, only 5 years. Most of the foreign terrorists and former regime elements have been hunted down and killed. It was just a matter of developing a winning strategy (which we have) and sticking with it (which McCain promises to do and Obama promises not to do).

We'll see how it turns out.

Rev. Raleigh Pimperton:

For Marsha:

I see you're speechless, repeating the same message over and over. "Struck dumb" might be more appropriate.

I believe Dr. Zakaria's a fine man but has been going beyond his capabilities.

Our prayers for you are in progress.

work2play:

The fact is, Obama fired Samantha Power for leaking his plan to hoodwink voters on his Iraq position during this election. Obama has alway been with bush on Iraq when voting. Are the liberals so desperate to take the poison of Obama to "get out of Iraq"? LOL

Marc Edward:

John traveler ought to know that our current prices have nothing to do with how much oil we can produce inside the USA, because the oil produced in the USA doesn't just go into the US oil market, it goes to the world market. I would support drilling in the Alaskan wildlife refuge if 100% of that oil would be sold exclusivly inside the US market at a reasonable profit. We all know that oil producers would love to get that oil and sell it wherever they could get the most money, so it would not lower our prices an iota.
Why don't oil companies pump oil from the gazillions of acres they already have under lease? Could it be they like to keep prices up rather than lower tham and make less money? Why give them more oil leases when they refuse to produce on what they have?
As for McCain being a "man of action", the actions I notice him taking is his constant kissing up to the discredited President Bush, and his consistant flip flopping on every single issue where he's taken a stand.
Better luck next time! You ought to think for yourself rather then recycling dittohead talking points.

Anonymous:

"The surge has produced a considerable decline in violence in Iraq. General Petraeus has accomplished this by using more troops and fighting differently. Perhaps more crucially, he reached out and made a strategic accommodation with many Sunni groups that had once fought U.S. troops. To put it bluntly, he talked to our enemies.

Wait. We become extremely unhappy when Pakistanis want to talk to the militants to contain violence in that region. Infact, so unhappy that we bomb both militants and pakistani at the same time. If only we know the best strategies, how come we are in the worst mess in our history?

mzbond:

First and foremost, the President of the United States is responsible to Americans, here in America and Americans everywhere in the world. The USA president, nor the the United States should be responsible for other countries - ever. Bush has negleted the U.S. citizens for 8 years, it's time to fix things in this country first. The middle east has been at war with each middle east country at one time or another since life on this planet as we know it began. That is what we are voting for. Not to spend our tax money in any other country. Goodby and Good Luck to the Middle East.

Your statement: " The president of the United States is responsible not just for Iraq, not just for the Middle East and West Asia, but for America's interests across the globe. We must make our commitment in Iraq one that is limited, temporary and thus sustainable

Anonymous:

"The surge has produced a considerable decline in violence in Iraq. General Petraeus has accomplished this by using more troops and fighting differently. Perhaps more crucially, he reached out and made a strategic accommodation with many Sunni groups that had once fought U.S. troops. To put it bluntly, he talked to our enemies. These reversals of strategy have had the effect of creating what General Petraeus calls 'breathing space' for political reconciliation. And he has always said that without political progress in Iraq, military efforts will not produce any lasting success.

Wait. When Pakistan talks to the militants, we want to drop bombs on them; both militants and Paksitanis. What's going on there? If we have the best strategies for everything, how did we end up creating, probably, the worst mess in our history?

Anonymous:

"The surge has produced a considerable decline in violence in Iraq. General Petraeus has accomplished this by using more troops and fighting differently. Perhaps more crucially, he reached out and made a strategic accommodation with many Sunni groups that had once fought U.S. troops. To put it bluntly, he talked to our enemies. These reversals of strategy have had the effect of creating what General Petraeus calls 'breathing space' for political reconciliation. And he has always said that without political progress in Iraq, military efforts will not produce any lasting success.

In Iraq, we don't have any problem talking to the militants. When Pakistan talks to the militants, we want to bomb them; both militants and Pakistanis. What's going on here?

christi:

We do not owe the Iraqi people? That is nothing short of sheer American arrogance! We stomped on their land....yes, Sadaam was a madman..but no one invited us to come over there, but us. We Americans have not learned our lesson in the "you break it, it is yours". We owe the Iraqi people a lot for an unjustified, criminal war.

Venkat:

Fareed, don't forget that you were one of those in the forefront justifying the Iraq invasion, and now you turnaround and write this. It is this sort of unscrupulous and opportunistic "foreign policy expertise" in the media from those such as yours that contributed to the dire situation facing this country and Iraq. If I do this in profession, I will lose my license, and you, in your job could write anything as an "expert" and get away with it. What is pathetic situation that we are in.

christi:

Forrest:

We do owe the American people, but you are wrong...We owe the Iraqi people. We were the warmongers who decided to trample on their land. Yes, Sadaam was a madman...but who asked us to come and "solve" their problem for them? We were not greeted as the "hero" like the Bush admin said we would be. Yes, things in Iraq may look a little better...but how dare we think that the "we think we are almighty" U.S. did them a favor. That is the the same type of arrogance that always gets us in trouble. We ought to be ashamed for even supporting this war in the beginning.

njr:

Zakaria's piece appears to be an application for a position as one of Obama's speechwriters.

I'd grade it as incomplete until he apologizes for his early support of the invasion and occupation, and treats his recent change of heart.

Fortunately, Obama writes a pretty fine speech himself.

Allat:

Nice article, Fareed, except that you assume Obama knows what you are talking about.

christi:

Forrest:

We do owe the American people, but you are wrong...We owe the Iraqi people. We were the warmongers who decided to trample on their land. Yes, Sadaam was a madman...but who asked us to come and "solve" their problem for them? We were not greeted as the "hero" like the Bush admin said we would be. Yes, things in Iraq may look a little better...but how dare we think that the "we think we are almighty" U.S. did them a favor. That is the the same type of arrogance that always gets us in trouble. We ought to be ashamed for even supporting this war in the beginning.

ZZim:

Yes, Turningfool, Obama should become Bush/McCain lite.

Obama played you for a fool all these years. He knew that the antiwar rhetoric was overheated,, overblown, and just plain bad advice. But he supported it all along because it was in his best interest to do so.

Now, however, he faces the very real prospect of sitting in the Oval Office and making decisions that History will judge him for. He's not going to give anyone the satisfaction of destroying his legacy for the sake of of anyone's ideological purity.

After all, he's got to look out for himself.

Andrew:

Iraq has been a disaster ever since the British created it to advance their economic and colonial interests. If nothing is done it will continue to be a disaster. Now, being the altruistic America that we are, wouldn't it be good to fix the mess that is Iraq? The current insurgency is on the way out. The course of events is pretty close to what happened in Chechnya. The Russians have effectively crushed an Islamic insurgency there and we are doing so in Iraq. Mistakes have been made, however many have also been corrected. We should stay the course as the Russians did and only leave once Iraq is healthy, vibrant and secure. Period. McCain has a much better idea of how to achieve that so nothing that Obama can say will suggest otherwise.

The oil issue that many have brought up is a moot point. While there are many factors that play into the price of oil, one of the largest is inflation. The price of oil has risen at a rate almost identical to the rate at which the dollar has declined in value against other major currencies - which makes since because oil is traded in greenbacks. Rampant government spending of the type Obama wants to do it not going to help us in that regard.

turningfool:

So Obama should become Bush/McCain lite?

Mohamed MALLECK,Swift Current, Canada:

JANSEN,

You argue : " We completely broke Iraq. Not only broke it, we pulverized it - so it is ours".

Cut out the last phrase, and you could not be more right.

How to fix what you have pulverized? Pay war reparations and send the warmongers to the ICC! There is only one way -- ONLY ONE WAY.

Yuri Lipitzmeov:

The last thing Obama should do is to listen to Muslim apologists like you Fareed.

J.D.Solano:

Not long ago, MoveOn called Gen. David Petraeus "General Betray Us".

Now, MoveOn has already launched a nasty attack on John McCain.

What Obama should say is:

"MoveOn's adds were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity, at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems - two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change".

"Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with MoveOn in the first place, they may ask? And I confess that if all that I knew of MoveOn were the snippets of those adds that have run in an endless loop on the television and the New York Times, or if MoveOn conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way."

"I can no more disown MoveOn than I can disown Tony Rezko, Jeremiah Wright, Michael Pfleger, or William Ayers".

"Moreover, I can no more disown MoveOn than I can disown Illinois farmers, who have pocketed billions in federal subsidies to divert crops from food to biofuels -which has been a major cause of the global food crisis we are now experiencing- thanks to the Bush/Cheney 2005 Energy Bill... which I voted for".

Ravi:

Mr. Zakaria, alongwith the likes of Mr. Tom Friedman of the NYTimes & Sen. McCain, were in the forefront of tha bandwagon that proclaimed how important it was to address the "Iraq situation" and how easy it would be to do so. They were _wrong_.

And, none of these stellar characters have ever accepted their role in the initial "sounding of drums". Now all these people talk of how Sec. Rumsfeld and his cohorts messed it up. While this is true, it masks the flaw in the original thinking (if it was ever original) of these folks.

Thus, even if what Mr. Zakaria says now makes sense, why on earth should anyone take him seriously? Why are all these people even holding jobs that permit them to influence the policy? In an honest, profit making enterprise these people would have been fired and not taken seriously anymore.

Take care. Regards.

The last western power to leave the middle east was France after they were pressured out of Algeria in the early 1960's. The last western people to enter the middle east were the Jews when they set about creating the State of Israel in the 1949. Israel in the middle east is somewhat connected to 9/11, not that they caused it to happen but that their presence in the middle east was a factor in how the United States shaped it foreign policies in the middle east.

If and when the US leaves Iraq,Iraq will be involved in a power struggle between the Sunnis, supported by the Saudis and the US, and the Shiites supported by the Iranians. Given Iraqi history, the Sunnis will once again come out on top. Another brutal Sunni regime will emerge to govern over the British created Iraqi state in the aftermath of the First World War. Iran will have nuclear capability and will become a significant threat to its neighbors in the middle east. The Saudis, with US assistance, will become a nuclear state to off-set the Iranian threat. Hamas will rule Gaza and the West Bank and will govern a Palestnian state comprising 67 % of the land east of the Green Line.

Bush went to war against Iraq because Sadam tried to kill his father, Bush I, aka Bush 41. The Iraq war has cost us around 1 trillion dollars. It will cost us another trillion and one half as we work our way out of the chaos we created.

Bush II and his administration, including top military leaders will be pursued for war crimes until the day they die, as is happening with war crime perpetrators in Argentina and Chile. The worl community will not allow war criminals to go unpunished. Each one will be hunted down and brought to justice. The torture tactics that came out of the Iraq experience will hover over every citizen of the world as they ponder who is next. Amrican are not out of this loop. We too must consider if the torture that was tried on America's enemies are not also tools to be applied to us if we become to restive with our government.

SA:

Good column. I enjoy reading your books & columns & agree with much of what you have written. A couple points though that I would question:

1 - You write that Petraeus & the surge have generated a "considerable decline in violence", as a result of "using more troops and fighting differently" & talking to our enemies. I have heard Senator Hagel & others on NPR state that we have also been giving monthly cash payments to many Sunnis to win them over. And also without Muqtada al-Sadr's ceasefire, there would have been much more violence.

2- You do not mention oil & permanent bases as being primary reasons for our adventure. The US is now in negotiations with the Iraqi government for an agreement to keep forces there with immunity for our armed forces & contractors from any Iraqi prosecution & for permanent bases. Also American companies are in negotiation for no-bid contracts to service the oil fields.

I do not honestly think McCain or Bush have any interest in exiting Iraq. Even if Iraq's democracy was totally stable, does anybody really believe we went there for WMD or to establish democracy?

clement joseph:

Please don't blast Mr. Zakaria for this article. He was PAID by the Bush administration to spread the Iraqi invasion gospel like so many other 'journalists' that they forget that they initially wrote articles supporting and defending the indefensible.

Republican Failures:

U.S. CONSTITUTION - WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES


DEMOCRAT $24 BARREL OF OIL


OIL WAS $24 A BARREL WHEN DEMOCRATS LEFT AND REPUBLICANS TOOK OFFICE AND NOW IT IS $145 A BARREL.


REPUBLICAN $145 BARREL OF OIL


YOU DO THE MATH AND DECIDE IF TEXAS OIL MILLIONAIRES WARRANT INVESTIGATIONS TO PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE


REPUBLICAN WALL STREET CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND STEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES TREASURY.


REPUBLICAN WALL STREET MILLIONAIRES ARE PAYING THEMSELVES $10,000,000 BONUSES FROM MONEY STOLEN FROM THE U.S. TREASURY, WHILE SENDING OUR AMERCAN JOBS OVERSEAS. RECKLESS OUTSOURCING IS DESTROYING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY.


NO MORE REPUBLICAN LIES, CONSPIRACIES, AND GRAND LARCENIES.


REPUBLICAN $145 BARREL OF OIL SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $175 BARREL OF OIL SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $195 BARREL OF OIL SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $215 BARREL OF OIL SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $235 BARREL OF OIL SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $255 BARREL OF OIL SPECULATIONS


REPUBLICAN $4.50 A GALLON GASOLINE SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $5.00 A GALLON GASOLINE SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $5.50 A GALLON GASOLINE SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $6.00 A GALLON GASOLINE SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $6.50 A GALLON GASOLINE SPECULATIONS
REPUBLICAN $7.00 A GALLON GASOLINE SPECULATIONS


WHEN DOES IT STOP IF EVER?


REPUBLICAN WALL STREET GREED SPECULATION DOES NOT WORK.
REPUBLICAN WALL STREET GREED SPECULATION IS HURTING AMERICA.
REPUBLICAN WALL STREET GREED SPECULATION IS HURTING OUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.


STOP REPUBLICAN WALL STREET OIL SPECULATIONS TODAY
STOP REPUBLICAN WALL STREET OIL SPECULATIONS TODAY
STOP REPUBLICAN WALL STREET OIL SPECULATIONS TODAY


REPUBLICAN WALL STREET MILLIONAIRES ARE PAYING THEMSELVES $10,000,000 BONUSES FROM MONEY STOLEN FROM THE U.S. TREASURY, WHILE SENDING OUR AMERCAN JOBS OVERSEAS. RECKLESS AMERICAN JOB OUTSOURCING IS DESTROYING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY.


The laws of economics do not promote idealism or higher consciousness. The logic of profit and loss in a market-driven culture reduces the grandeur of the human species down to one role, that of “consumers.” And all along, the pleasure principle is saying, “I have products I can sell you to take care of all that.”

NATIONALIZE U.S. OIL FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE.
NATIONALIZE U.S. OIL FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE.
NATIONALIZE U.S. OIL FOR NATIONAL DEFENSE.


CLEAN NUCLEAR ELECTRIC ENERGY IS THE ANSWER


WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES.


BARACK OBAMA WILL BRING BACK OUR UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION AND RIGHTS OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.


REPUBLICAN WALL STREET MILLIONAIRES ARE PAYING THEMSELVES $10,000,000 BONUSES FROM MONEY STOLEN FROM THE U.S. TREASURY, WHILE SENDING OUR AMERCAN JOBS OVERSEAS. RECKLESS OUTSOURCING IS DESTROYING AMERICAN MANUFACTURING AND THE AMERICAN ECONOMY.


STOP REPUBLICAN MCCAIN FROM SELLING OUR AMERICA.

TomM:

Back in 2003, Mr. Zakaria wrote a 2-part article in Newsweek, justifying the war in Iraq and also predicting it would not be particularly long nor difficult. http://www.fareedzakaria.com/articles/newsweek/032403.html

To my knowledge, Mr. Zakaria nor any other international expert that I can recall, has come clean by writing a follow-up article explaining what they got wrong and why they were wrong.

Although I find myself agreeing with many of his positions, I'm hoping when one of these guys gets it dead wrong, they would at least own up to it and explain their mistakes. Unfortunately, it never seems to happen.

In the case of this particular article, there was no new ground uncovered nor were there new ideas. Obama has been careful to talk about the need to be as careful getting out as in going in.

For those supporting McCain, I would like to hear justification rather than just plain "gut feeling". Why is it that McCain believes the threat of terrorism is so much worse than 8,000 nuclear warheads pointed in our direction. Or why is it that our only option is to stay the course -- why doesn't he outline what would happen if we left over the next 18 months? I'd be interested in McCain's assessment and willingness to cite specific evidence rather than throw out generalizations (like this is the most transcendent issue facing the US in a generation. What makes it the most? What are the consequences other than, "dire"?)

Forrest1:

There is only one thing wrong with this otherwise excellent analysis -- and it's a BIG thing. It talks about what we "owe" the Iraqi people -- or at least how to improve their chances of a better life. What it DOES NOT talk about is what we owe the American people. And THAT should be the bottom line that matters most. With a sinking economy, a soaring deficit, and all manner of unmet domestic needs, we just can't afford nation building in Iraq or anyplace else. We have been more than generous. The American people deserve to have their tax dollars spent on THEIR pressing needs, not on optimizing an outcome in the Middle East. Zakaria points out all the things we might have done with the money "sunk" in Iraq. It's time to stop "sinking" more and doing those things. If, after 5 years of American charity, the Iraqis can't or don't want to run a halfway deecent country, so be it. It's time for US to run a halfway deecent country.Get out as soon as we can move the troops.

David Kent:

Stellar! Absolutely stellar!

gunboat diplomat:

Obama needs to give a speech on the larger issue of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East - but he won't, because the U.S. press would likely attack him for doing so.

That's because any honest assessment of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East has to take into account the fact that 90% of existing global petroleum reserves are in the Middle East, and also that the U.S. is tied into long-term relationships with Israel and Saudi Arabia that revolve around military and economic issues (certainly not around "democratic or humanitarian concerns").

The press has done the American public a grave disservice by failing to openly discuss these issues. For example, we know that European concerns about Iran and Russia and nuclear power have a lot to do with Gazprom's stranglehold over European energy supplies, and we know that European interests hope to start importing gas from Iraq via Turkey - and so they are supporting U.S. goals in Iraq - which are still mostly about making sure that a "U.S.-friendly regime" is installed in Iraq, for purposes of oil & gas control, military base installation, and the rest of what the Iraqi oil unions call "the colonial program."

Similar considerations explain why the U.S. press will never mention the Israeli nuclear program in the same article with the Iranian nuclear program (although these are the two leading candidates for the "rogue nuclear state" label).

I suppose the reason the U.S. press won't discuss these issues is that it would lead, inevitably, to a discussion of the real U.S. military-economic agenda in the Middle East - and that would result in the press presenting an image of the U.S. as an aggressively militant nation bent on controlling the resources of the region.

It could be that the press hates to be accused of a lack of patriotism - but since when is it patriotic to deceive the public? Our current government has bypassed the robber baron administrations of the 1890s in greed, crime, and general incompetence - and yet the press is mostly running with the see-no-evil routine.

Ibrahim Mahfouz:

Marsha tells The Reverend Raleigh:
"I think he (Zakaria) is brilliant and you are a stupid redneck preacher who knows nothing!"

With friends like this Marsha, Zakaria does not need any enemies.

Hypatia:

IIRC Mr. Zakaria supported the Iraq invasion. But that is left unmentioned in this piece.

And saying "He will need to implement a serious policy on Iraq" reminds me that so-called SERIOUS folks came up with the invasion idea....as contrasted to the DFHs who were against it.

So it goes.

Boston Blackie:

Mr. Zakaria should have started his article acknowledging his support for the Iraqi War! At the time of the US invasion, Hussein was not a threat to anyone except some of his own people and he was cooperating with the UN inspectors. We were lied into war and Fareed chose to ignore the only source of information that was accurate, the inspectors! To paraphrase some of the commentators, he is so brilliant, not! He has failed to discuss:
1. The importance that oil has played in this
conflict.
2. The regression of womens rights.
3. The payoffs to sunni militia.
4. The roll that Magtada al-Sadr and his army has
played in the cease fire and what that roll
will be in the future.
5. The most important person in Iraq, Ayatollah
Ali al-Sistani!

an alternative speech:

If we had a presidential candidate that actually supported and defended the Constitution as they promise to do in the Oath of Office, I would expect an Iraq policy speech to go something like this:

Iraqi people, we have engaged in war against your nation because the cruel tyrant that formerly ruled you threatend his neighbors, allies of ours, with annexation and conquest. Now that we have defeated this tyrant and battled relentlessly the people that would replace his autocratic rule with religious rule, we are leaving.

You have been provided advice for establishing a Federal Democracy with a Just Constitution, and have implemented it, although it still needs some work. We are confident, that if you work hard and overcome your differences, you will find a way to live in freedom with each other. We truly wish this for you.

We will begin our withdrawal immediately. It will take us at least 6 months to complete the withdrawal, but in the meantime, we are going to confine ourselves to our TEMPORARY bases. We hope that you will continue to trade with us as you produce products that our people need and desire.

On the same note, we are simultaneously withdrawing our troops from Europe, Japan, and South Korea. Our Constitution does not allow for indefinite occupation of foriegn lands and our volunteer soldiers wish to return to the lives they had before preparing for endless war. We sincerely love the peoples of these lands and wish to be great friends and trade with them. It is just an unfortunate set of circumstances that our deployment of forces globally, damages the economic viability of our State.

We understand that you will have to shift funds from your generous social programs to provide for your own defense, and we regret that this must be done. We have received the message from around the world that no one wants American troops to be global policemen, interfering with the soveriegnty of other States.

We will however, reserve the right to continue hunting Al Qaeda in Afghanistan until they are defeated and OBL hangs from our Washington Monument, as they instigated war upon us with the support of the former Afghanistan Government. Furthermore, in the event of an attack on American citizens or our territory, we will reserve the right to make war upon the offending Nation(s). Beyond that, do not expect to see American soldiers beyond our own borders.

We deeply regret the harm our occupations have caused the world. It was with your best interests at heart that we established these bases. Perhaps our motives swayed over the years. That is for History to decide. Good luck and much prosperity to all the Nations of Earth.

Tom Murphy:

Very thoughtful article on Iraq, always a welcome find in today's usual bumber sticker commentary e.g. "the surge succeeded" which requires one to forget entirely what the surge was designed to accomplish in the first place -- allow for Iraqi political reconciliation. While I agree that Gen. Petraeus deserves positive recognition for his tactical field adjustments -- beyond paying enemy Iraqi fighters with taxpayers money not to fight us -- and in comparison to disappointing past leadership performances of the the likes of Myers and Pace, Mr. Zakaria should be mindful that Gen Petraeus was in charge of US/Iraqi military training "for years" before assuming military command of Iraq. The progress and success of this training was wildly overstated by Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney,and the Pentagon to bolster flagging public support for this unpopular conflict and perpetuate the myth of success. The training effort continues to suffer serious performance problems today (e.g. reliable vetting of new/past recruits) but the hype continues. Petraeus did little to ever set this record straight, and has continued to act far beyond his military account to accommodate the political designs of this White House. Only one senior military commander, who was also Petraeus's boss, Admiral Fallon, opted recently to stiff-arm the White House's political gamesmanship in Iraq and Iran, and he was forced to resign, a rather dramatic development that the media reported in hushed tones. Mr. Zakaria may wish to speak with Admiral Fallon to get his take on Gen Petraeus before Petraeus assumes his next Bush/Cheney promotion --as Fallon's successor, a not to subtle reminder to those in uniform.....

Tom Murphy
State Dept
Foreign Service (Ret)

Richard:

The U.S. has no continued legal standing in Iraq. The U.N. authorization is set to expire. Bush's strategy to negotiate a "status of force" agreement with Iraq is unacceptable to Iraqi's because it violates the respect of a sovereign nation. Bush wants his storm troopers to operate with impunity. Mercenary operations, like Blackwater, have operating without military code of uniform justice. Prisoner abuse and torture methods have side stepped international law. If you accept that the occupation is corrupt, and benefits OIL companies, at the expense of ordinary Iraqi's, then there is no political authority to continue the occupation.

Given that western Christian cultures have no understanding of Middle East Muslim cultures, there is no moral authority to continue the occupation.

The U.S. has neglected domestic issues, and squandered resources on foreign adventures. The idea of victimization by "Islam extremism" is destructive. The U.S. must return to creating Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness

SSHOBBS:

STOP!!! You can't change the world from the sidelines, just look at the ineffectual UN and remember Bosnia, Dar fur, Rwanda and now Mozambique, no one has done JACK &*%#. Get off your ivory tower butts, get in the game! To change societies you must meet us eye to eye on the ground face to face, we have won the war just by being their, it is worth 5 Trillion and Iraq & Afghanistan will never be the same again! Freedom has planted it seed in the middle east, our military men and women have shown the true face of America to Muslims, we are a gracious giving people, just meet our finest. AMERICAN TV IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING ON THE GROUND! These are the two greatest victories in the history of war, no nation has ever fought with one hand tied behind their backs and lost so few. We American's should be proud of our monumental accomplishments; free the Muslim women free the world! To turn Iraq from a dictatorship to function democracy with an entirely new Army trained by the best, equipped by the best, will be the stabilizing force in the middle east for centuries to come, thank goodness we bungled the initial aftermath, because it has forced us to say longer and deal more comprehensively with the long term implications of changing a society in the modern age....no more "Charlie Wilson's war" the long term aftermath will be are greatest success, this ain't no New York Minute, we will be everywhere forever!!! God bless those who finally put us on the ground and the Forces who have carried out our never perfect strategy. Perfection only exists in Ivory Towers, get over yourselves and get in the game of life, the game of hard knocks, tremendous failures; but most importantly the ability to pick your self up and come back stronger and wiser! That is America and I am dam proud to be an American.

Jansen:

The White House should have listened to Colin Powell. He was a soldier and knew the Pottery Barn principle " if you break it - it is yours"

We completely broke Iraq. Not only broke it, we pulverized it - so it is ours. Of course we would all prefer to leave tomorrow but the reality is - we can't. Stating otherwise is just simply naive and dishonest.

We need to talk with all the different fractions, Sunni's, Shias, Iranians, Kurds, Turks, Saudis, Syrians and everybody else in the region. We can't impose conditions for the talks. USA would not listen to the rest of the world and broke Iraq so we are not in a position to dictate to others what they should do.

Start talking !

Burt:

One correction:
"The price tag in dollars has also been staggering. In the last five years, the United States has spent close to $1 trillion on the invasion and occupation of Iraq. "

WE have spent the money by borrowing it. It is future generations that will have to pay it off. Anyone who wants to stay, be it McCain or Obama, should say how they are going to pay for it now, instead of just putting it on the tab!

Dr. Gerry B.:

Dr. H. is correct on all points. Our job is to look out for US interests. The only sure thing is the longer we stay the more Americans will die and money we will be spend. We have little control over what will happen in Iraq when we leave and its an illusion to think that whatever political establishment we put in place before we leave will remain in place afterward. As bad as he was, Sadam kept a lid on Sunni - Shia distrust and hate. The inability of commentators like Fareed (and Bush) to anticipate that civil war would erupt with the removal of Sadam suggests that they analysis isn't worth much. The best approach is to get out and then deal with the consequences that were set in motion by the illegal invasion.

Dr. Gerry B.:

Dr. H. is correct on all points. Our job is to look out for US interests. The only sure thing is the longer we stay the more Americans will die and money we will be spend. We have little control over what will happen in Iraq when we leave and its an illusion to think that whatever political establishment we put in place before we leave will remain in place afterward. As bad as he was, Sadam kept a lid on Sunni - Shia distrust and hate. The inability of commentators like Fareed (and Bush) to anticipate that civil war would erupt with the removal of Sadam suggests that they analysis isn't worth much. The best approach is to get out and then deal with the consequences that were set in motion by the illegal invasion.

Wm. Donald Clifton:

The tone and substance of your suggested comments are very good. I would add something along these lines.

"It has been counterproductive that the Bush administration has used false and misleading arguments and tactics in pursuit of their strategy which has brought us to this point. They have avoided accountability for behavior that is egregious and has caused the American people to lose faith in their government.

An Obama administration will uphold the constitution, work with Congress, and communicate with the American people to restore our country to a place of honor and dignity around the world, and accountability at home. We will make government work in all facets, includng foreign policy, so that our citizenry will once again have government of, by, and for the people."

Desi Woltman:

Mr. Zakaria,

As always, I enjoyed your wise and nuanced view of the world.

Intellectual spin aside though, your bottom line to Sen. Obama is to stay the course. I couldn't agree more. (I think all practical-minded and informed people understand this.)

I suspect Sen. Obama has had his epiphany on this issue as well by now. But I doubt he'll be sharing it publicly before the election.

He's probably already crafting the next brilliant speech which will transmute staying the course into the politics of change -- he's amazingly good at that.

GrueSchenka:

Very insightful. It didn't help John McCain much talking about a lasting military effort when people kept saying it meant we would be in there for 100 years, and a big part of that is not the plan but the planner. The difficulty will be in how that is perceived, but the plan is sound. It resets the board where our plan is to leave unless given a good reason, much different from we plan to stay unless given a good reason.

Because it adds aggressive diplomacy and full discussion with neighboring countries, McCain will not do as well because of how he is connected to Bush and the original invasion. He loses that trust that is needed when discussing how long a foreign military can remain on a country's own sovereign soil. If Obama says that is needed to maintain a stable country, it will be believed. If John McCain says it - with his connection to Bush - it will be seen with a much more tainted motive.

Matt Connolly:

If Obama gave that speech I would be less than pleased. It is a recipe for the endless presence in Iraq.

First, we owe the Iraqi people nothing. We have expended a trillion dollars and lost four thousand troops over the last five years. We have 140,000 of our troops still present waiting for the Iraqis to stand up on their own. This will only happen if we leave quickly and safely and fully with no remnants remaining. If at this time the Iraqi people cannot get along and defeat the minuscule number of Al Qaeda forces in their country they never will.

As for Iran, its role in the destabilization has been highly exaggerated for political purposes. It has had little impact in the Iraq war. Most of American deaths came at the hands of Sunnis who fought us. The Sunnis are not backed by Iran.

General Petraeus's strategy is a recipe for disaster. It consists of limiting the number of American casualties, using overwhelming force in very secure situations, and paying American money to former Sunni enemies. It is best described as a "hire and hide" program. It has succeeded because it has pushed Iraq off the network news so that it is covered less than 2 minutes per network a month.

Obama must realize much of his support comes from us who still want American forces out of Iraq. I agree that Obama must come out with a statement on Iraq. It must be that we will be out of there totally and completely within his first year regardless of the what the generals say since they will always advocate more time, money, and forces.

Obama must realize that a great part of his support came from Democrats who did not want to have Hillary at the top of the ticket and not from those who want him. His support of the billions of subsidies to the ethanol industry, of the use of ethanol itself, and the tariffs on cheaper and better ethanol has already made some of us pause in our support. Any weaseling on getting out of Iraq will make us sit out the election.

Anonymous:

There are two lethal flaws in the argument:

(1)"The best pressure remains the threat of troop withdrawal"

(2) " We face threats in Iraq, but the two greatest ones, as General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker have testified, are Al Qaeda (which is wounded but not dead) and Iran. Both are a direct consequence of the invasion. There was no Al Qaeda in Iraq before 2003, and Iran's influence has expanded massively since then."

If Obama was right that the invasion of Iraq was one of the biggest foreign policy blunders ever --- and only an utter idiot would today deny that he WAS right --- then the conclusion is inevitable. Leave NOW, so that we can back soon enough on a more honourable footing that does not evoke memories of invasion but offers credible hopes of a mutually-beneficial relationship that seeks to secure Iraq's sovereignty and stability on the basis of trust-building among all sections of Iraqi society and with all neighbouring countries, while reinforcing preferential security-trade-and-development relations with the United States.

Secondly, portraying al-Qaeda and Iran as "the greatest threats" evocative of "axis-of-evil" rhetoric is disingenuous and constitutes an implicit lie by disavowing the role of past US foreign policy flaws that led to the stand-off against al-Qaeda and Iran. Here, what Obama should do is to re-affirm his conviction that, at the beginning of the third millenium, the United States, as the clearly-leading even if no longer sole superpower, does not need to have enemies to assert the loftiness of its values; it only needs to spell out very clearly these global-welfare-enhancing values, if necessary in stark contrast with the possibly divergent intersts of other powers, and thus reach enlightened solutions.

Becky:

OMG! I was thinking the same thing about him becoming Obama's running mate. He gives off the same vibe as Obama - intelligent and magnetic. He knows the history of the places that he's talking about - and didn't read it off some notecards that an intern whipped up. It's just a shame that he's working for the media instead of the government - especially in the diplomatic corp. But he would have never gotten hired. He has a brain and that makes him unqualified to work for the Bush administration. I'm hoping that Obama can bring him around though.

Dr H:

Barack Obama's pledge on Iraq has consistently been to be as careful getting out as Bush was careless going in. Zakaria's piece conforms with that pledge. But it isn't anything new.

What this piece simply does, is reiterate all the important work of the Baker-Hamilton Commission on Iraq. The fact that it is over a year since we've known the proper way forward, and that Bush has ignored it and used a measely 17% surge to delay its implementation is criminal.

I applaud Fared's points, but they are nothing new. They simply highlight the stupidity in the Bush Administration that the American people have tolerated for 7 years.

One final point, I don't think Obama or any new president needs to profess some "passionate" support for the Iraqi people. Our president should be a passionate supporter for the United States and help the Iraqis understand there time is substantially limited. Our military objectives should have been to provide the Iraqi people an opportunity for self-government, not to install the government for them. Self-determiniation cannot happen for the Iraqis if we are there determining for them. Our obligations to the Iraqi people should have been to provide them the opportunity for governance, and as of April 2006, they've had the Maliki government in power. Everything we've done since is excessive.

The only other remaining obligation we have to the Iraqi people is to hold accountable the criminals who fraudulently started the war, and tortured their people, and killed innocent Iraqis under the guise of "shock and awe." Until we hold Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Gonzalez, Wolfowitz, Feith, and the other minions in the Bush Administration accountable for their war crimes, U.S. citizens will all remain complicit in their war crimes.

William Dollar:

Fareed is a brilliant and insightful journalist and his column is right on target. Hopefully, his new TV show will find an audiance.

Marsha:

Rev. E. Raleigh Pimperton III, Ph. D Wrote:

Where does Mr. Zakaria get off lecturing Obama or, in fact, any presidential or other candidate? Since 9/11, the media has been giving this lightweight a free pass as an "expert." Finally, I suppose Mr. Zakaria has become a US citizen but, indeed, has he? Enough, already!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What a true idiot you are!

Zakaria was born in Mumbai, India. His father, Rafiq Zakaria, was a politician associated with the Indian National Congress and an Islamic scholar. His mother, Fatima Zakaria, was for a time the editor of the Sunday Times of India.

Zakaria, 44, is an American citizen born in India of Muslim parents. He studied at Yale and Harvard and taught at Harvard, Columbia and Case Western universities.

Zakaria attended the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, India, where he was School Prefect and House Captain for Palmer, one of the four school Houses. Zakaria subsequently attended Yale University where he was a member of Berkeley College, Scroll and Key Society, President of the Yale Political Union, and a member of the Party of the Right. Zakaria received a B.A. from Yale and later graduated with a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University, where he studied under Samuel P. Huntington and Stanley Hoffmann.

Boy are we on opposit side of the fence. I was hoping he could be the Vice President. But he isn't qualified because is not born in America.

I think he is brilliant and you are a stupid redneck preacher who knows nothing!

COL.[retd] A.M.Khajawall:

From one concerned citizen of U.S.A,

Contrast " The Presidential Temperament VS Judicial Temperament ".

Dear American Voters, reporters, media. professionals, political parties, and presidential Nominees,

Hon. Senator McCain and Obama, besides each having many attributes and characteristics.
The critical differences between the two of these presidential presumptive nominees in my opinion are as under:

1. Presidential "Temperament and Caliber".
2. Little Washington "insider Versus outsider" experience.
3. "Vision and mission" for our nation future rather than past.
4. American policies, " first U.S.A Centric" than any other country [ ies ] centric.

In my professional opinion Senator Obama leads in all above qualities and attributes.

Senator Obama and his administration along with congress will address all the critical current and future domestic and foreign issues, challenges, and opportunities in coming years.

Let us remember and recite following concepts:

" Family, Friends, Fellows, Faith, Funds, Foundation [s], Fun, with Freedom & Fairness and without Fear, Favor, & Failure" . It applies to every citizen of our Greatgrand Nation.


Please stay involved, stay engaged, and stay informed. Please do not allow any seduction, deception, and or confusion by some partisan media and leaders effect your vote [ Psychological Terrorism ]..

Yours truly,

COL. [retd] A.M.Khajawall
Disabled American Veteran
Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas


PS: Please talk about the " Presidential Temperament And Caliber " of our presumptive presidential Nominees. We do talk about the "Judicial Temperament" of our Supreme Court Justices nominees and so far we have failed to talk about the " Presidential Temperament " of our presumptive presidential nominees. The " Presidential Temperament " is the ultimate and in my opinion only requirement of our president as that effects every living soul here and around the world.

Thanks again.

Rev. Raleigh Pimperton:

For Marsha:

Now we know who heads the Fareed Zakaria Fan Club! I just think he's overrated, not completely irrelevant. Your insults aside, thanks for the complete bio. My congregation and I will pray for you.

Richard Hartley:

It is interesting that oil was never mentioned in this article, as it was largely absent when commentators such as this one urged us to invade Iraq. Come, now, lets get real. With Mugabe imposing terror, Darfur continuing and many other conflicts active or festering, could we have a little more honesty and say, yes, oil was one of the major reasons we invaded Iraq. Iread Mr. Zakaria's recent glib assessment about how the US is nothing like the British empire and it is precisely this kind of hubris and a lack of introspection and self-criticism which is now threatening American hegemony.

Anonymous:

"But finally, I would return to my original concerns. General Petraeus has successfully executed the task he was given, to shore up a collapsing situation in Iraq.

Yeah General Petraeus succeeded because of the what John McCain pushed for the surge that Gen Petraeus said he needed to succeed. If we had followed what Obama wanted us to do in 2006 Iraq instead of approving would be a moving to a full blown civil war by now.. But yeah I see can why Obama wouldn't mention that in his speech. Bottomline Fareed makes some good points, problem is they're much closer to what McCain believes then Obama. And lastly I'm glad to see that Fareed points out the true hero in all this.. General Petraeus!!! You know the guy the Left has berated as General Betray-ous...

Amb. (Ret.) P. Dumbarton Oakley IV:

My many years in the Foreign Service, especially in the Middle East and South Asia, lead me to confirm Prof. Zakaria's points. Indeed, they've been common knowledge for some time. I suppose bringing them up again - and again - is useful but I doubt Sen. Obama and his team are ignorant of them. Really, it's time for something new.

Marsha:

Rev. E. Raleigh Pimperton III, Ph. D Wrote:

Where does Mr. Zakaria get off lecturing Obama or, in fact, any presidential or other candidate? Since 9/11, the media has been giving this lightweight a free pass as an "expert." Finally, I suppose Mr. Zakaria has become a US citizen but, indeed, has he? Enough, already!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
What a true idiot you are!

Zakaria was born in Mumbai, India. His father, Rafiq Zakaria, was a politician associated with the Indian National Congress and an Islamic scholar. His mother, Fatima Zakaria, was for a time the editor of the Sunday Times of India.

Zakaria, 44, is an American citizen born in India of Muslim parents. He studied at Yale and Harvard and taught at Harvard, Columbia and Case Western universities.

Zakaria attended the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai, India, where he was School Prefect and House Captain for Palmer, one of the four school Houses. Zakaria subsequently attended Yale University where he was a member of Berkeley College, Scroll and Key Society, President of the Yale Political Union, and a member of the Party of the Right. Zakaria received a B.A. from Yale and later graduated with a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University, where he studied under Samuel P. Huntington and Stanley Hoffmann.

Boy are we on opposit side of the fence. I was hoping he could be the Vice President. But he isn't qualified because is not born in America.

I think he is brilliant and you are a stupid redneck preacher who knows nothing!

Richard Royal:

Leaving Saddam Hussein in power could also have been a painful mistake. Serious analysts would recognize that there would have been a range of consequences from inaction, some possibly catastrophic. Would America really be safer today with Saddam Hussein still in power?
At the very least it is a question worth asking in a non-politcal manner, one that we are not likely to hear from Obama.

Clay Bullröhr, Mgysgt USMC (Ret.):

After watching the situation for years and benefiting from Dr. Zakaria's frequent TV appearances, I tend to agree with Rev. Pimperton. In my view, Zakaria would have a lot more credibility had he suited up and served in Iraq, Afghanistan or elsewhere. He still might be young enough to do so; if so, sign up!

kentuck:

Fareed is brilliant. I would like to see him in the Obama Administration in some capacity. He says something that up to now has not been said. The reason there has been some success in Iraq is because we talked with our enemies - the Sunnis. He has laid out a rational discourse for withdrawal.

Rev. E. Raleigh Pimperton III, Ph. D.:

Where does Mr. Zakaria get off lecturing Obama or, in fact, any presidential or other candidate? Since 9/11, the media has been giving this lightweight a free pass as an "expert." Finally, I suppose Mr. Zakaria has become a US citizen but, indeed, has he? Enough, already!

ZZim:

Fareed, an excellent article. Thanks for writing it. I think that would make a good speech from McCain or Obama. I also think that it's actually very close to what we're currently doing in Iraq. Trends are positive in Iraq at the moment and we need to stay the course. McCain has already promised to do so, it would be nice to hear the same thing from Obama.

I don't know if Obama can pivot as sharply as you recommend. McCain could easily make this speech. It's really not much different from his current position. Obama... I just don't know if he can make that sharp a turn without losing a lot of his political support.

There is a significant minority of Americans who oppose any and all attempts to use military force as a policy instrument. Although there are right-wing and libertarian isolationists who fit in this category, most of them are in the liberal camp. They form a key Democratic Party constituency. Obama won the nomination partly because he won this constituency. He has consistantly supported the anti-war narrative. Hillary always left herself some wiggle room, but Obama never did. So if he pivots on this issue, he would alienate this key group of Democratic voters.

I don't think he'll give your speech Fareed, I think he's boxed himself in.

jkoch:

"Petraeus ... reached out and made a strategic accommodation with many Sunni groups that had once fought U.S. troops. ... he talked to our enemies."

Huh? I heard that he paid "insurance" to the Sunni gang leaders, and winked, "I'm outta here net January. If the next guy doesn't pay up, you'll know how to remind him."

Che:

ALICE: You are thinking like an illiterate! Get over the revving Rev because it will not lower the price at the pump. And also, if you support McSame drilling gimmick, rest assured that it will be another 7-10 years before you start seeing oil flowing. By then and with McSame in office, you will not be worrying about $4 a gallon; you will be happy if it dropped to $5 a gallon. Trust me on this one.

So, don't tell us that Obama talks to us like we are illiterates. It is the Bush that drove us to Iraq or shoddy intelligence and McSame who supported it that took us for a ride.

I like the words and I especially like the form, ie, "here is what could be said".
That gives a coherenct, constructive alternative view instead of just a critical dismantling of a failed policy.
Indeed, that is precisely the form that SHOULD be used in replies to the State of the Union: here is what could be said, here is another view.
The press repeats the presidents words, and the opposition comments on them and that sets the mark incredibly low. It is a perfect example of the "Brain Dead Megaphone"
Mr Zacharias responds with new information, a new way, a coherent view, unconstrained by the limited thinking of Bush and his hired, bought and paid for unempowered employees in the executive branch.

George :

I completely agree. This speech would undercut many of McCain's arguments and place Obama once again at the forefront of the Iraq issue. Allowing the conflict in Iraq to slip into the background without seizing upon this opportunity would be a grave mistake. I can only hope this memo reaches the Obama Camp at its highest levels. Thank you Fareed!

George Robertson:

The governments of Saudi Arabia and Syria may now be willing to live in peace with a Shia Iraq, but unfortunately they do not have complete control over their many of their citizens who think otherwise. Eventually, the minute the US lets up, these groups will break out again just like a staph or strep infection that lays dormant until the right moment. The same is true in Israel, where the civilian government is not in complete control over its citizens or its military. In Iran, the ruling religious elite is paranoid about US and Israeli intentions, and as a result is pursuing a nuclear program. Mr. Zakaria's article is too optimistic about the actual situation and the unwillingness of the various parties in the area to compromise.

John Traveller:

I should add on the drilling for oil issue, that the Democrats prattling about drilling not having any effect because it would take years to produce anything so don't do it is like saying you should never work toward a college education because you have to start at 5 year's old and it won't produce anything until decades later. Make sense to you?

John Traveller:

There is a lot of wisdom in these words, but words are not action. The history of politicians is largely one of "short termitis"; e.g. making pronouncements like this and, then, deserting them once an election is over. Obama has just recently reneged on promises he made--in writing no less--so who would believe him on this? His mantra to date on Iraq has been nothing other than "I told you so" with no plan tied to anything. What should really happen is someone who is really willing to do this--be he Obama or McCain--who is actually willing to do what this article suggests. And, like it or not, McCain has a far better record on that than Obama. No one should be so naive these days to take words over action.

alice:

This picture of Obama wagging his finger at us is what we will get if he is elected president. He learned it from Wright. Also his statement stating that drilling for oil will not help in the short term. We know that, he talks to us like we are illiterate. We know we need to be thinking long term to get us away from the dependence on foreign countries. When will he come up with something that makes sense. Does he not have any ideas as to how to help this country. That he is the best the Democrats had is very sad for our country.

rajiv lal:

Couldn't be better! Fantastic Job!!

lensch:

In 2006, Miranda Toft, an historian who studies civil strife, published an article in the Washington Post. She pointed out that civil conflicts from the 30 Years War, through our Civil War to Bosnia, are rarely settled until a great number of people are killed. In Bosnia, for example, 200,000 were killed before a settlement was reached. This is equivalent to about 3 million in Iraq. Furthermore the situation is even more complex in Iraq than in Bosnia. Besides the Shia - Sunni divide, there is the expansionism of the Kurds, the disappearance of two million Christians, the ethnic cleansing of the Turkmen in Kirkuk, the slaughter of the Yazidi, and the intra Shia conflict in the South. One in five Iraqis have lost their homes already. It seems to me that there is a large possibility (if not probability) of a major catastrophe in Iraq, but no one is planning for this possibility, and it is overly optimistic articles like Mr. Zakaria's that are at least partly responsible

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.