Hugh points out an informative debate between Max Boot and Victor Davis Hanson on the issue of Iraq strategy.
I'll offer just a tease of each.
Remember that inspired 1994 flick Dumb and Dumber? If I were to make a movie about the Middle East today it would have to be called Grim and Grimmer—and it would be a tragedy, not a farce.
There hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer since the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and the elections in Iraq in 2005. In fact both achievements have been undermined in the past year by relentless violence on the part of anti-democratic militias—Hizballah in Lebanon and various Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq. Lebanon is on the verge of a civil war (as is the Palestinian Authority) and Iraq is already in the early stages of its own civil war.
And Hanson's initial riposte:
The surge, in my opinion, could very well work—if it is the catalyst for a change in tactics. In COMMENTARY and elsewhere, many observers have noted that the number of troops, per se, has not been, historically, the sole arbiter of military success. If the administration sends more soldiers to Iraq without new, clear directives, it will only breed more Iraqi dependency, create more targets for insurgents, and cost America more prestige.
But if we change our way of doing business tactically, operationally, and psychologically—stop the arrest-and-release insanity, eliminate key militia leaders and disband their followers, expand the rules of engagement, accelerate cash payments for salaried Iraqis, patrol the borders, all while maintaining the veneer of Iraqi autonomy—even at this 11th hour we could entice the proverbial bystanders (a majority of the country) to cast their lot with the perceived winners: namely, us.
Each participant offers four posts. The format gives Hanson the advantage, but they don't end up in gigantic disagreement with one another, so the format isn't really a problem.