In the past few days there has been heavy speculation regarding the new Bush policy towards Iraq. As information started to emerge regarding the imminent announcement of today’s new Iraq policy…a very strange story started to take shape.

Most of the people expected that after the Republican defeat in this autumn Congress and Senate elections, which was mostly due to the incapability of USA to deal with the Iraq situation, we would see a shift in the policy of the White House. The fact that the former US Secretary of Defence (Donald Rumsfeld) gave his seat away to Robert Gates, combined with the public statements of President George W. Bush earlier this winter seemed to show that we might expect a change…

However, in the past days, news sources informed that the new US policy would involve the sending of more troops to Iraq, information that was confirmed today by the president of United States through his unveiling of the “Iraq policy”. YES, some 21,500 troops will be sent to Iraq to fight the war on… ahhh… terror/oil/hegemony/something elusive and incomprehensible/etc.

However, when you come to think about it, there is not much of a choice. I believe there are three main options here regarding Iraq: retreat (regardless if immediate or over a couple of years), maintaining of troops and focus on diplomacy to stabilise the region, send more troops in a hope that you will eventually win the war (with a lot of help from God).

Retreat – To retreat from Iraq is not some unthinkable option, but given the current state of the country, it would do little to improve the situation. The country will plunge in a terrible civil war; US will face a similar situation like when it had to abandon Vietnam not long ago, its authority being heavily undermined and probably lead to an even greater destabilization of the Middle East. Hard to say though what effect this will have on the terrorist organizations. Will they see this as victory and become less aggressive? Or will they do the opposite? Either way, overall on the international stage, things will look bad for USA if a retreat would be to take place … the future seems blurry and messy.

Diplomacy – Maintaining the troops while trying to engage with the nearby countries to stabilize the region and so reducing the violence in Iraq and eventually proclaiming victory and pulling out… seems like a good option. However, the countries with which USA will have to start to cooperate are Iran and Syria, both labelled as anti-American and probably having a good role in influencing terrorist movements in the Middle East. This makes cooperation extremely hard. Even if a consensus will be achieved, no one can be sure that the situation in Iraq will improve, not to mention that USA’s reputation, as an all-powerful nation, will be undermined. (I personally support this option)

More troops – Although for some might seem insane, it is still a good option. Sending more troops in Iraq will with no doubt help bring more authority and control to the area, and might eventually bring about the all searched stabilization. If successful, it will boost US authority on the world stage and bring the Republican’s back into the picture. It appears to be the option with the least tradeoffs, that of course if you do not take in account the bloodshed that will take place and its highly improbable chances of success.

So how should one choose?

Bush, although indeed made mistakes (as any human), is still a strong and proud man, with a cabinet mostly dominated by neoconservative ideas. He is advised to promote a powerful and dominant US on the international stage as well as not to disappoint his fellow citizens. To remain in Iraq is for him indeed a good strategy (not for the US citizens though, but who asked the citizens anyway?). A retreat would be like admitting that he spent billions of dollars on a war that only brought tears and chaos, to talk with Iran and Syria would probably mean to bow before them, which no American would stand, so he is left with only one option: send more troops and pray to God. In addition, for the “military-industrial complex”, which somehow managed to get a strong grip on US policy, a retreat spells disaster, especially if the population starts to realize that there is no need for a “military-industrial complex”. Government spending on defence has soared to new heights during the last 7 years, and the economic perspective is crippling with huge trade deficits and external debts, Iraq is still a good way of keeping public opinion away from these internal problems.

What will become of all this, only the people, that master planed this sequence on events and decided that invading Iraq was a good idea, know.

News sources on the issue: