The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Friday, September 16, 2005


At Belgravia Dispatch, Greg Djerejian has written the post we've all been waiting for. It's quite long (including a long excerpt from a Jason Vest article which Mr. Djerejian calls a "must read piece"), and concludes with 10 (ten) bullet points for maximizing the chances of success.

I will start with a quick carp on Point 4:
Find the right balance between ink-spot and counter-insurgency in the Red Zone, but likely deemphasize reconstruction projects in the Kurdish North or Shi'a South in favor of projects in critical 'tipping point zones' like Kirkuk, or Sadr City, or in towns near the main aiport road to Baghdad.
Like the strongest of true-COIN advocates, I am very reluctant to "reward failure" by reconstructing unfriendly towns or even areas. Mr. Djerejian's idea of emphasizing "towns near the main airport road" sounds good, but I still think of aid to Kirkuk or Sadr City as something to be avoided. Instead, I would prefer to enrich their neighbors, thus offering a visible example of the benefits of American largesse (near enough to be noticed by inhabitants of the aforementioned cities), and allowing opportunity-seekers to move there if they desired. If we can successfully create a visible contrast between the wages of insurgency and those of peace, the benefits should be great.