This is kind of a classic "middlebrow" rightwing rant. As analysis, it's worthless. As an example of the ugly rhetoric about killing and violence that colonial-type wars generate, it's banal and depressing. As an example of the contradictory, foolish floundering around to position oneself to use a "stab-in-the-back" excuse for the loss of Bush's Iraq War, it's sad but instructive. Ace writes:
With the American forces departed, the restraints come off the Shi'ites entirely. What, precisely, will all those militias do when they no longer have American patrols to dodge, or American soldiers to snipe at?
Of course the full force and fury of decades of hatred and desire for vengeance will be visited upon Sunni men, women, and children. What we are seeing as far as "sectarian violence" now is nothing compared to what will transpire when the moderating force of American troops is removed from the equation.
It's unlikely that the role of hated foreign troops is more "moderating" than inflaming, on the whole. What will Ace be saying if Bush makes the threatening tilt toward the Shi'a side in the civil war? This is probably an indication:
That's [surrendering to the Shi'a] their [the Sunnis] best option. The other option - the one they may finally have brought to fruition - is to have no power at all, and to be driven out of the cities into the barren (and oil-free) wastelands of the western deserts, to live out their lives in misery and privation, and to occasionally have these sad lives cut short by Shi'ite gangs raiding villages and killing them by the dozens.
It's time to use that fact to our advantage. It's time to get "realistic." And the realistic way to settle this is to announce - couched in diplomatic language that makes it seem less vicious than it actually is - that unless the Sunnis disarm immediately, and before the Shi'ite militas do, the US can no longer justify the cost in lives to protect the Sunnis from Shi'ite militas. Compliant Sunni areas that give up or drive out their Al Qaeda or Ba'athists terrorists will have US/coaltion garrisons to defend them, and vigorous patrolling to protect them from murder.
Areas which do not comply will be left to the tender mercies of the law of superior firepower.
I hate to treat this like it's more reality-based than it is. But I will point out that the Sunnis have reason to be dissatisfied with the level of protection they are getting against Shi'a militia. And vice versa.
In fact, Ace sounds like he's already in favor of the escalation, tilt-to-the-Shi'a option:
The warplan should be the opposite of that suggested by Baker. Baker claims we must stop making fighting Al Qaeda the priority, and instead seek peace. That's quite wrong. We should refocus on killing Al Qaeda and Shi'ite militiamen who attack US troops, and let peace seek itself, through the brutal methods by which peace is usually ultimately had.
The word "pacify" has a nice connotation, suggesting coddling a baby by giving it warm milk to suckle on. In historical reality, populations are "pacified" through extremely brutal, dirty, and nasty means, killed, raped, butchered, and driven out of their homelands until they ultimately lose all hope of military victory and all desire to fight. ...
In any area where the US is not so welcome by the locals, then they have chosen the manner by which their dispute shall be settled, and such disputes are never settled happily. One side is simply killled and brutalized so badly they're no longer capable of fighting at all.
Let that be the victory in Iraq.
I guess Ace has gotten beyond all that girlie-man talk about bringing democracy and liberating the Iraqis and being their friends and yadda, yadda. He's ready for the let's-teach-the-ungrateful-natives-a-lesson phase that all colonial wars get to, if they go on long enough. It really sounds like that's being partially put into practice already.