Actually, the full line from Fareed Zakaria’s new article is “We’re in the middle of a civil war and are being shot at by both sides”. And while the “responsible” media has finally been smacked in the face by the brick of reality and has “made the official call” that Iraq is in the midst of a civil war, it is even more clear with each passing day that our troops have absolutely no business being in Iraq any longer.
Zakaria lays out some chilling facts with respect to the violence that our troops are caught in the middle of, and coupled with this first hand diary by TO the First, really makes you wonder if even we here realize the severity of the situation.
If our troops are fighting the “insurgents”, then surely that must mean that they are supporting the “democratically elected” government. After all, if we are spreading democracy™ then we would want to support what the Iraqi people voted for. Otherwise, we would be giving the proverbial finger to all of those “purple fingers”. Right? Right?
Um....not so fast.
If you want to understand the futility of America's current situation in Iraq, last week provided a vivid microcosm. On Thursday, just hours before a series of car bombs killed more than 200 people in the Shia stronghold of Sadr City, Sunni militants attacked the Ministry of Health, which is run by one of Moqtada al-Sadr's followers. Within a couple of hours, American units arrived at the scene and chased off the attackers. The next day, Sadr's men began reprisals against Sunnis, firing RPGs at several mosques. When U.S. forces tried to stop the carnage and restore order, goons from Sadr's Mahdi Army began firing on American helicopters. In other words, one day the U.S. Army was defending Sadr's militia and, the next day, was attacked by it.
The problem here is that al-Sadr’s party holds at least 30 seats in the Iraqi Parliament and is part of a coalition that holds 128 seats in the Iraqi Parliament. And in “BREAKING NEWS”, Sadr loyalists are now boycotting the Iraqi government because of Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki's summit with Bush. But putting all that aside for the moment, if our troops are being shot at and attacked by militia associated with someone who holds influence in the Iraqi government, as well as those who are fighting against said government, what does that say for our troops and “the mission”?
Granted, this is a bit of an oversimplification, but it does make you wonder just who the “insurgents” are and who they are supported by. And Zakaria asks that very question as well:
To speak, as the White House deputy press secretary did last week, of "terrorists ... targeting innocents in a brazen effort to topple a democratically elected government" totally misses the reality of Iraq today. Who are the terrorists and who are the innocents?
The other problem here is that even with all of our troops in Iraq, we STILL are supposed to be listening to what the Iraqis want. Remember this incident from last month?
On October 23, gunmen reportedly abducted the Iraqi-American soldier as he visited relatives in the Karada neighborhood of Baghdad. A large-scale manhunt ensued, with U.S. forces erecting barricades and checkpoints around the Sadr City section of the city, where the soldier was believed to be held. The United States maintained this cordon for eight days, until Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki issued a public declaration on October 31 insisting that the checkpoints be dismantled. U.S. commanders reportedly acceded to al-Maliki's demand and abandoned the checkpoints within hours of his request.
So if our military, and all of the troops committed to Iraq are being shot at by “the insurgents” as well as the militia which is backed by one of the more powerful and influential people (and his political party), then what? Who are we fighting with? Who are we fighting against? Surely, the Iraqis must see the value in what the troops are bringing (and this is NOT meant to, in any way, disparage the troops who are caught in this no-win situation).
To the contrary, both sides now see American troops as the problem. The Shiite ruling coalition and the Sunni insurgency both believe that if only the United States were to get out of the way, they could defeat their enemies outright. That's why, in the most recent poll of Iraqis, taken in September, 91 percent of Sunnis and 74 percent of Shiites said they wanted American forces to leave within a year.
I’ve been saying it for many months now. This has been a loser of an invasion and occupation from the start. When the premise is built on lies, it can’t be sustained. When there is no true mission or goal other than catchphrases and slogans, there is no chance of victory. When our troops are being shot at one day by people that they were “fighting with” the day before, that is the most unfair to our troops. Our troops did all that they could, given the tools, training and equipment they were provided. This can’t be “won” with guns and tanks and bombs.
Bring them home now. It is the only fair thing to do. Not only for our troops but for the Iraqis.