Our troops have done better than anyone could have expected, especially given the lack of support by the Bush administration and the republicans in Congress, the lack of a real plan after “Shock-N-Awe™”, the lack of any direction, the ridiculous decision to disband the Iraqi army, the arming and bribing of Sunni insurgents, the lack of rest, armor, equipment and the minor fact that at least 500,000 troops at the outset of the invasion would have been required in order to do what needed to be done.
However, as we have been seeing, the deadly game of “whack-a-mole” has been played out for well over a year now, and there is still absolutely no foresight into how to address the larger issues of Sunni vs. Shiite civil war, Sunni vs, Sunni fighting, local tribes and sheikhs in places like Anbar taking over, Shiite (as in al Sadr’s militia) vs. Shiite (as in Maliki) vs. Shiite (as in parts of the Iraqi army that are sympathetic to the militias) fighting, the lack of desire for a central government by many who see Maliki as an illegitimate puppet of Cheney and Bush.
Even in a situation where the Bush administration wouldn’t have been arming both sides, ignoring the real threat of al Qaeda and the Taliban, had the support of the international community, and had enough troops to rebuild Iraq, it is still a country that was artificially established with little consideration given to the various factions and sects, the history of violence in the region, the competing goals and was barely held together by a dictator. To expect any semblance of order in the best of conditions is a farce.
In this situation, this administration, backed by the republican Congress for 4 years, has taken sides with the same people who supported attacks on our troops because the Saudis threatened us, has turned against the majority population who has predictably turned on our troops, turned a blind eye to the raging civil war that pretty much everyone that took any critical look knew would happen and aligned themselves with people like Chalabi and Hakim – two people with extensive ties to Iran - all while desperately trying to provoke yet another much larger country (in Iran) while ignoring what is going on in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Petraeus himself said that there is no military solution here. Based on the lack of any progress on benchmarks, there is no political progress, which was supposed to be the point of the ill-fated escalation in the first place. “The surge is working” is not working. Closing your eyes and wishing it so does not make it so.
Sadly, it is this very increase in violence that is forcing the corporate media to finally start doing its job (sort of) by reporting about the violence. Of course, the slant is that the weapons being used to fire into the heavily fortified and now under curfew Green Zone are from Iran, but maybe people will start to realize that there has been a lot of violence all this time.
It is enough of a joke that the temporary decrease in violence was credited to “the surge” when (1) average daily troop deaths have been constant since early 2005 and (2) the decrease was more related to al Sadr’s ceasefire and ethnic cleansing. It is an absolute farce that the increasing violence is also because of the “surge’s success”. It is a travesty that we have to once again hear Bush bumble through another “this is a defining moment” speech of nonsense. It is disgusting that John W. McSame doesn’t care what anyone says, even though his version of success and winning includes his speeches being interrupted to report on more violence.
The other day, I mentioned the Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq that Darcy Burner and more than 40 other Congressional Candidates (including our own Ron Sheptson) have signed on to. Today’s Washington Post has a feature article on this as well, and it is time that the discussion about leaving Iraq got some serious consideration.
Granted, Bush won’t budge, but this summer will be very, very bloody. Hundreds of troops will die, thousands will be injured, and tens of thousands of Iraqis will die, be injured or displaced. The “Responsible Plan” isn’t perfect, but it is a plan. And it should continue to be discussed. If the corporate media won’t report about Iraq, then we need to take the responsibility ourselves to spread the word.
It is too big of a country, there are too many major blowups for our troops to cover all (or even most) of them. We shouldn’t be in the middle of one civil war, let alone 3 or 4 sub-civil wars. If the Iraq forces have their loyalties torn between their country and the militias, then what can our troops do? The only thing that most Iraqis can agree on is that the United States doesn’t belong there. Al Sadr is a nationalist – he doesn’t want Iran meddling, he doesn’t want the United States occupying the country. Nor do most of the Iraqis.
Our troops can’t stop the violence. There is too much violence, too much history of violence, too little planning by those who dreamt up this gawd-awful occupation, and no amount of wishing or repeating the same li
nes will change that.
And if our troops can’t do what they are trained to do, they should go where they can do what they were trained to do. “We” broke it. But our troops can’t fix it.