Department of Analogies

On the subject of analogies between the idea of establishing an enduring US military presence in Iraq and establishing one in Germany, mostly what Andrew said. But more broadly, you have to ask yourself what the point is of bothering to construct analogies across obviously non-analogous situations. Nothing about the trajectory of US policy in Iraq since the fall of Saddam has resembled the years 1945-1950 in Germany at all. One hardly needs to enumerate specific points of difference.

The problems with this strategy, meanwhile, have nothing to do with analogies. The problem has to do with the fact that there are large and influential segments of Iraqi opinion that are fundamentally opposed to a permanent American military presence in Iraq and other segments of opinion that are deeply skeptical of it. Meanwhile, the major Iraqi social movement that does favor a permanent US presence is Kurdish separatism. That's the problem right there. When you define the mission in Iraq as, in part, the construction of an Iraqi government that will be amenable to an intimate long-term security arrangement featuring a permanent American military presence you make the mission much, much more complicated. The pursuit of this policy by the Bush administration makes the American military in Iraq a divisive, destabilizing force int he country despite the best efforts of our soldiers to be playing a constructive role. And as long as we're there, our presence will always be a divisive, destabilizing force.