Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Meanwhile, in Iraq...

Talking Points Memo's Steve Benen analyzes a Washington Post article which shows what a failure the surge is, and what a farce the President's rhetoric is. Benen states-
Apparently, U.S. forces have not only aligned themselves with dozens of Sunni militiamen, we're also now cooperating with sectarian militias, working outside the Iraqi security forces, that include insurgents that have attacked Americans in the past. What's more, we're allowing them to procure weapons and we're granting them the power to arrest other Iraqis.

He adds that all of this makes it hard(er) to tell which side is which and who we're fighting. This is, of course, the heart of the problem of this war in many ways.

On one note, the President speaks as if we're in a war against al Qaeda in Iraq, when-- even ignoring that they weren't a presence there until we invaded and opened the floodgates-- it's really a sectarian/civil war between Iraqis (al Qaeda-related fighters make up only a fraction of the fighters there). But he can't say we're at war with Iraqis, because the revised rationale is that we went in to help them. And we can't be at war with Iraqis since the military is so worn down that we can't actually accomplish anything without help from... the Iraqis. Who are fighting us because they want us gone. And 'round and 'round we go.

Secondly, this makes clear that, ultimately, it's the Iraqis who are better suited to take of their own problems, both politically and military. Whatever aid our presence there provides-- in stop-gap security measures-- is outweighed by how our occupation gives the Iraqis an enemy in U.S. forces when, without us, their attention could be focused on the external threats aiming to increase instability.

This is the underlying reality many have understood for some time.

Except, of course, for the idiots in charge-
U.S. military officials here are increasingly envisioning a "post-occupation" troop presence in Iraq that neither maintains current levels nor leads to a complete pullout, but aims for a smaller, longer-term force that would remain in the country for years...

"One of the guiding principles," of this strategy says the article, "is that the United States should leave Iraq more intelligently than it entered." I doubt we could possibly leave as dumb as we went in, but yea, this is still pretty dumb.

As the Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum noted last week, this sort of idea is the worst of both worlds. It's "a big enough number to keep the Arab public convinced that we intend a permanent imperial presence in the region, but too small a number to accomplish anything effective... A much better option would be to draw down nearly to zero, keeping troops and air support nearby but not physically within Iraq. Otherwise the pressure to intervene will rear its head constantly and Iraq will remain the festering centerpiece of American foreign policy, preventing us from devoting our attention to more serious issues. We can't afford that, and neither can Iraq."

Instead, the strategy here seems to be to control the oil, I mean to appease the military industrial complex fools who started this war in the first place by maintaining it as long as possible, and in as half-assed a manner as possible, so that nobody will have to admit we made a mistake.

Not exactly a cause worth fighting and dying for, in my humble opinion.


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