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On April 1, 2007, Henry Kissinger, former National Security Advisor and United States Secretary of State during the Nixon and Ford Presidential Administrations, told the Associated Press regarding the current situation in Iraq that “A ‘military victory’ in the sense of total control of the whole territory is no longer possible.”
Mr. Kissinger is respected worldwide for his successful diplomatic perspective, largely because of the dominant role he played in United States foreign policy between 1969 and 1977, and his help in orchestrating the U.S. troop withdrawal from Vietnam after negotiations with the North Vietnamese.
In comparison to the conflict in Vietnam, the former Secretary said Iraq is a “more complicated problem.” The Vietnam War concerned nation-states, which had leaders who controlled defined areas, with whom you could negotiate directly. The faceless, ubiquitous nature of Iraq’s insurgency, as well as the religious divide between Shiite and Sunni rivals, makes negotiating peace more complex. Based on this assessment, Mr. Kissinger said he was “sympathetic to President Bush” and his current predicament.
One week after Mr. Kissinger’s remarks, the violence and unrest relentlessly continues in Iraq.
On Tuesday, April 10, 17 police recruits were killed and 33 others wounded outside of a police station in Muqdadiya by a female suicide bomber.
In the first nine days of April, 45 soldiers have been killed, putting the month on pace to be the deadliest for American troops so far this year (Reuters).
On April 9, the fourth anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein, hundreds of thousands of Shiite Muslims congregated in the city of Najaf at the request of radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr to desecrate a U.S. flag, and to demand an immediate withdrawal from the country.
Mr. Kissinger emphasized his belief that violence in Iraq is going to continue for years. He concluded by stating the only possible solution would involve both an end to “partisan bickering” at home in the United States and cooperation with other countries, including Iran, to end the internal strife in Iraq.
Based on history, it seems inconceivable that either of these will happen in the near future.