The President has invited suggestions for solution to the Iraqi conflict. Being bold beyond logic, I will wade in with the following advice. (And since Americans are still dying there, I will try to avoid being humorous or flippant in this analysis … a temptation that many TV personalities can’t seem to resist.)
I view the mayhem in Iraq consisting of three distinct belligerent activities:
1) Bad guys killing bad guys
2) Bad guys killing innocents
3) Jihadists (and paid thugs) killing Americans
The strategies that I suggest we might use in dealing with each of these categories are:
1) Ignore them, and discourage the front-page reporting of these incidents … since the American public can’t seem to differentiate between this category and the other two. I see the torturing and killing of bad guys as just doing the jobs that American troops are forbidden from doing. Sunnis capture Shiite bad guys, torture them to get the names of other Shiite bad guys and then go kill them all … and dump their bodies in Baghdad. And the versa for Sunni bad guys killing Shiite bad guys. After about ten years of this bloody attrition, there should be a lot fewer bad guys … and/or the appetite for such revenge killing might be somewhat abated.
2) Retaliate brutally against the specific group that sponsors each incident by killing one or more of its leaders (e.g., Al Sadir, etc. if Shiite and Ibrahim, etc. if Sunni) or spice up one of these militia demonstrations with a Hellfire missle. Make sure that Al Jazeera understands and publicizes our reason for such retaliations. And use the Iraqi forces to capture any specific perpetrators not already dealt with. Measure the Iraqi forces effectiveness by how often they succeed in these missions (and reward them accordingly).
3) Concentrate all American hegemony against the Jihadist incidents. Use focused air power and Special Forces against these Jihadists and their protectors. Be as brutal as possible, and don’t stop until at least ten Jihadists or their protectors are killed for every American casualty.