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Can Iraq work out like Korea?

By DelbertPGH ·
A number of politicians, including Bush's spokesman Tony Snow, and several military officers are saying that we should think of Korea when we think about the Iraq war. Following the Korean war (1950-53, 4 million dead, of which approx 30,000 were American), Americans kept in place a reduced force varying from 30,000 to 50,000, with a promise of many more "over the horizon", that supplemented the much larger Korean army. South Korea was kept safe from invasion, and after 20 years began a state-led capitalist expansion, and 15 years after that held elections. In the 20 years that followed, Korea has become richer, and its economy and government more stable. It has remained a strong American ally, and even contribute 3000 troops to the Iraq force.

So, there's the proposition: after the war, Americans were able to cut their force to 30,000, stuck it out for 50 years and more, and Korea is now a big modern success story. All we have to do to be successful again is repeat the experience in Iraq.

Do you see this happening? I don't see this as any reasonable basis for strategy. In Korea, we were fighting big enemy armies, whose target was our army, and they were on one side of the front line and we were on the other. In Iraq, we're fighting an insurgency, and there is no front, and there is not even an enemy army. In Korea, the local people were on our side, and we could count on the local goverment; in Iraq, the people generally hate us for being there, while half the government is stealing from us and the other half is running a guerilla war against its own people. Thinking the Korea story can turn into the Iraq story seems like wishful thinking to me.

Who sees this as the recipe for victory? How do we get from where we are now, to the point where we can cut forces to three brigades and be a friendly supporting force?

And if you agree that it won't work, what else can we do to pull a satisfactory conclusion out of that sandbox?

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I think all were doing

by TonytheTiger In reply to Can Iraq work out like Ko ...

is continuing to point out the illegitimacy of political borders. Theirs AND ours.

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Korea was a whole different monster to Iraq

by mjwx In reply to Can Iraq work out like Ko ...

Korea was two legitimate governments fighting with the aid of allies the North(USSR) and the south(US/Allies). The war in Korea fizzled out when its main driving force died, in the literal sense, Korea wound down after Stalin's death.

In other words, no, the Korean plan is completely wrong for the Iraqi situation. In Korea, many people supported the South Korean government and it allies in achieving a stable democracy. This is not the case in Iraq. A more apt analogy can be drawn between Iraq and Vietnam. In Vietnam the US and allies propped up the South Vietnamese government when it was under intense internal pressure to change.

The same is going on in Iraq, the Iraqi's never asked for help, they would prefer another Iraqi dictator to a foreign power occupying their country. Iraq is also a different monster (to both Korea and Vietnam) in that it has varying ethnicity and religions which don't particularly get along well with each other.

So we come to the plan, tearing the country in three to attain peace. Problem is that it wont work, who decides which group gets what and I seriously doubt that if the political borders were redrawn that peace would last amongst the intense animosity that already exist between the Sunni's Shiites and Kurds. Things will be Particularly for the Kurds. In addition to the Sunni and Shiite states an independent Kurd state (Kurdistan) is considered a threat to both Iran (Enemy)and Turkey (Ally) who both have stated that they will not allow an independent Kurdish state to exist (as both are keeping large Kurdish populations in check using slightly better means than Saddam), when an enemy and ally say the same thing its time to reconsider that plan.

Unfortunately there is not "satisfactory conclusion" to the Iraq war that I can see, to quote a movie "the only way to win is not to play". There is however some insight given by the Korean war, I said that the war fizzled out when Stalin died. Stalin is widely acknowledged as the aggressor in the Korean conflict so maybe, just maybe this thing will wind down when the main aggressor is removed from the picture. Otherwise another generation of Iraqis will grow up to hate westerners.

But I can see a solution for the Israel/Palestine conflict before I can see a favorable outcome for Iraq, and heck folks, the Israel/Palestine thing has been going on for 40 years.

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Israel,/Palestine thing

by john.a.wills In reply to Korea was a whole differe ...

has been going on since 1948, when the Israelis started driving Palestinians out of the towns two weeks before Partition and then, following Plan Daleth (Plan Aleph, on which indirectly Plan Daleth was based, had been produced in 1940), occupied each of 400 villages, killing the natural leaders in each and then driving the inhabitants out, often bulldozing the buildings of the village afterwards. The "thing" will come to an end pretty quickly once the descendants of those exiles are given their property back. But that will only happen if the U.S. insists.

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