To the Editor:
Re “Ranting at Reality on Iraq” (editorial, April 26):
Any political settlement in Iraq is now a long shot. To have any prospects for success, there must be a strong and neutral broker.
The United States is perceived as too self-interested to play this role. Hence the need for a high-profile United Nations negotiator like the former president of Finland, Martti Ahtisaari, or the United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who brokered the deal for a transitional government in 2004.
For Congress, an effective role would be to call on the Bush administration to engage in a “diplomatic offensive” to get the United Nations to begin such a process. The benchmarks for progress would focus on whether such a process is taking hold, with the Iraqis engaging in good faith.
If there is real progress toward peace, that is reason to sustain a troop presence. If not, that should be the rationale for a radical redeployment to contain the conflict or withdraw. Contingency plans are desperately needed for both scenarios.
Washington, April 30, 2007