The Bush administration’s mishandling of Iraq has brought us to the brink of a national security debacle. To solve the situation, the administration must change its course inside Iraq, in the region and at international level.
Stabilizing Iraq is a political and military challenge. Currently, the U.S. is drafting a referendum for Iraq’s constitution. But the Sunni Iraqis are likely to vote against this text, although they will be unable to prevent it from being adopted. This will stir up the resentment in this community, and sectarian divisions and violence might escalate into a full-blown civil war across the region. The Constitution will not be a factor for unification.
The Sunni Arabs can only blame themselves for sitting out elections and supporting the insurgency. But it would be a mistake to force-feed them a constitution they cannot stomach. The referendum must be rejected and a new one has to be drafted. It is necessary to establish a new drafting committee based on the December elections, thus encouraging the moderate Sunnis, who are willing to participate in the process.
We should also consolidate international support to our actions in Iraq. A contact group should be created with countries such as France, Japan, Great Britain and Russia, along with organizations such as the European Union, NATO and the United Nations. We should also develop regional contacts. The Bush administration must restore the confidence of the American people and better explain its policy. We can no longer be happy with imprecise formulas.
“For Success in Iraq, Change Course″, by Joseph R. Biden Jr., Washington Post, September 14, 2005.