So what am I supposed to gather from Charles Krauthammer's column that encourages the US to just let a civil war happen? (tipoff: Iraq'd)
"This is the Shiites' and Kurds' fight. Yet when police stations are ravaged by Sunni Arab insurgents in Mosul, U.S. soldiers are rushed in to fight them. The obvious question is: Why don't we unleash the fierce and well-trained Kurdish pesh merga militias on them? (Mosul is heavily Kurdish and suffered a terrible Kurdish expulsion under Hussein.)
Yes, some of the Iraqi police/National Guard units fighting with our troops are largely Kurdish. But they, like the Shiites, fight in an avowedly nonsectarian Iraqi force. Why? Because we want to maintain this idea of a unified, non-ethnic Iraq. At some point, however, we must decide whether that is possible, and how many American lives should be sacrificed in its name?"
Krauthammer argues that there already IS a civil war, and the US needs to recognize that and get out of the way. That's a viable option, but Krauthammer needs to recognize that it essentially means conceding defeat, because to allow Iraq to go from de facto to de jure civil war will mean the death of Iraq as a sustainable political unit. Krauthammer isn't willing to see this, instead drawing the parallel to the end of the Civil War, when a few ex-confederate states still hadn't fully been reincorporated into the union. But the situations aren't remotely comparable. In 1868 the Union had won a clear and decisive victory over the South, utterly destroying both the means and will for the Confederacy to wage a war. The remaining "insurgents," if you will, were scattered and clearly in an all-out retreat. In Iraq, by contrast, there has been no clear cut victory over the insurgency (which is a very distinguishable entity from Saddam's smashed Baathist government), and the revolt is growing, not shrinking. Krauthammer still seems stuck in thinking that the insurgency is composed of a few Baathist "dead-enders," and that just isn't the case anymore. Until we break out of that mindset and realize that this insurgency is a true and grave threat to Iraq's future stability (not to mention its democratic prospects), we'll never have a prayer of defeating it.