Thursday, March 08, 2007

Necessary but not sufficient - No military solution to Iraq - U.S. chief
U.S. and Iraqi security forces cannot solve the problem of violence in Iraq without political action and reconciliation with some militant groups, the U.S. commander in Iraq said on Thursday.

General David Petraeus, in his first news conference in Baghdad since he took command last month, also said he saw no immediate need to request more U.S. troops, but reinforcements already requested would likely stay "well beyond the summer."

"There is no military solution to a problem like that in Iraq, to the insurgency of Iraq," Petraeus said.

"Military action is necessary to help improve security ... but it is not sufficient."

He said political progress would require talking to and reconciling with "some of those who have felt the new Iraq did not have a place for them."
It sounds to me like the General is right on the money with that one. The military, by itself, is not going to solve the problem. Unless the current Iraqi government is just going to kill every group that disagrees with them (which we certainly would not advocate), they are going to have to find a way to bring them into the political process or the problem is never going to go away. Unless the insurgent groups can be convinced that they have a chance to gain some influence through legal, political channels, the violence is going to continue.

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