The Raj of Baghdad
Matthew Yglesias has a good post up likening the ISG's proposal to embed thousands of American military "advisors" in the Iraqi Army (and thousands more civilian administrators in all strata of the Iraqi government) to the old British Indian Empire. I might be tempted to think this could be a good idea; after all, it ultimately worked for India. The Indians (much like America) adopted the British institutions that served them best (not to mention the vast infrastructure) and modified them to suit their culture and situation. Now India, though certainly not without faults, is a stable democracy, as opposed to Pakistan, which is an authoritarian basket-case. BUT Britain did not attempt to conquer India all in one gulp; and they expanded by subverting local princes as much as military might, and there wasn't a persistent, widespread, violent ethnic civil war and resultant terrorism (not until around independence, anyway). With that history in mind, the ISG plan just sounds like setting up the worst kind of "client state": an open-ended commitment of blood and treasure from which (to be brutally cynical about it) we get nothing in return.