Victory in Iraq
Democracy in action
The Bush Administration and their cowardly chickenhawk allies in the media, keep pretending that there is a victory osomewhere on the horizon in Iraq. The Washington Times is even dedicating their editorial page to showing "good news from Iraq".
The problem is that if there is a tipping point, it isn't in our favor.
Bob Baer, a former CIA officer, who had worked with the Kurds and other Iraqi resistance groups, was on Hardball tonight and when asked if there could be a victory, he said no. Basically, he said, the next president of Iraq was going to be fundamentalist favorite Moqtada Sadr.
Which means he's got all the smart money on him.
Why victory is impossible in Iraq?
First: There is no government
Elections don't mean much when the parties manipulate who runs and wins. Sadr stands off, the Sunnis don't vote and SCIRI is arming their militias and calling it the Iraqi Army. Armies can only fight effectively when they serve a government.
Sure people turn out, they vote in who they're told is approved, and work against them.
Every time an American officer talks about Iraqi patriots, the effect is about the same as Soviet officers praising the loyalty of Poles. You have to know that it isn't a sign of praise if you're Polish.
The fact is that most Iraqis, whether openly or tacitly, approve of the war against the Coalition and supply intelligence to the resistance.
The simple fact is that without US bodyguards, there would be no parliament, no courts or anything else resembling a government. The mayor of Baghdad was forced out by armed gunmen.
That means, simply, that the Iraqi government is for show
Second: They tell us what we want to hear
Iraqis came to age in a system where the truth was what people wanted to hear, not what they needed to know. Yet, Americans take the smiling Iraqi kids and occasional kind words from people as a sign of both progress and fidelity to a "democratic" Iraq.
The Shia joined the "Army" because it was a route to power, not because they wanted to defend the politicians of the Green Zone
Iraqis swear that they will uphold our principles of Democracy and go on plotting.
Has anyone ever asked why so many Iraqi recruits are executed coming home? Why you get mass graves of 10, 20, 50 people? Because their neighbors betray them. When you can kill the french fry delivery guy, that's no accident. Someone close ratted him out.
The vast majority of those arrested so far, have been innocent. Great fodder for the guerrillas and their recruiting drive. Unlike the US Army, they meet their quotas with ease.
Chalabi isn't even subtle in this. He lies like most people, even Judy Miller, breathe. He sits on 60 Minutes and acts like how dare someone accuse him of lying this country into war.
Americans take Iraqis at their word where there is every cultural and intellectual reason not to do so. We are talking about a nationalistic, deeply proud people who have every reason to hate the United States. They only want to use us as long as they get what they want, Baer says the Shia will evict us as soon as they gain control of the government. Unlike the corrupt exiles and the pundits, Sadr wants us gone and has the ability to make us go. SCIRI, currently using the US on their path of power, has many Shia enemies, because of their habit of torturing people, specifically, Iraqi POW's.
Looking back, I bet that the smartest move of the entire war was Sadr standing with the Fallujahans when the US attacked. The Sunni know they can talk to him, but they have to kill SCIRI to survive.
Third: We haven't got enough troops and the clock is running
The Army is desperate for bodies to serve in Iraq and the troops are running into their third and fourth tours. Nightline had the story of a soldier who came home to the Gulf Coast, but denies he has PTSD, but is wracked with guilt about the men he lost. His wife made him take his Silver Star from their damaged home. An award he didn't tell her about for months.
Every day, you hear story after story of soldiers and Marines treated with cruel indifference. Does anyone think that helps enlistments?
Iraq neede hundred of thousands of troops to secure it. The Iraqi Army under Saddam was a Soviet-style force where officers lorded over men. The new Iraqi Army is militias under arms.
We have artillerymen and engineers and mechanics on foot patrols, there is way too little infantry for that job.
So, now with the talk of even fewer soldiers to a job there are not enough men to do now, and the colonialist and insulting expectation that the "Iraqis have to stand up", there is a lot of insane wishful thinking.
Iraqis might take that to mean that they should stand up....against us.
Fourth: the resistance is larger than we think
There is a constant refrain of dead enders, Ba'athists and terrorists which is as silly as it is untrue. The Iraqi resistance is a widespread network of Iraqis of various religous and ethnic groups. While the majority are Sunni Arabs, they are not the exclusive members. The resistance is too widespread and informed for that.
The foriegn jihadists are a minority of the guerrillas and always have been. The US has never wanted to admit that the resistance crossed all kinds of social lines. There isn't an office or US base that doesn't bleed intelligence to the resistance.
The fact is that you cannot have any sort of victory when your enemy reads your language, your media and you can't do either. They know the location of every US unit, every supply route, maps of most major installations down to the foot.
How can you assume this? Look at their attacks and how often they escape. How anyone working for the government is in fear of their lives.
I'd look at it this way: a termite cannot harm you. A couple of hundred can be killed. A hundred thousand can eat your house to the foundation. Well, the reason I use the term resistance is because the vast majority of Iraqis opposing us, will never, ever lift a gun at an American.
All they do is pass on office chatter, mention who is looking to marry an American to escape Iraq, what kind of paper the American boss uses, who has a mistress. Gossip in peacetime, but vital information to guerrillas.
I think the most dangerous Iraqi is not a guerrilla or a jihadi, but the neighborhood gossip. The old lady who notices that someone's son now has money, or their daughter dresses nicer now. Little details which add up to something. It is the neighborhood gossips who have lead to the car bombings and assasinations. They've lead to penetrating every office of the government.
And there is nothing we can do about it, much less stop it.
Now you have some guerrilla groups little better than the Crips or Bloods. But others, those with their roots in the Shia resistance to Saddam or the Army, know their business and are successful.
What's even better is that they just have to watch the innocent get arrested and then ask if anyone in the family wants revenge.
The only victory possible in Iraq is an honorable exit after negotiating with the new Shia overlords. As far as influencing Iraq or "finishing the job", that's way off the table.
posted by Steve @ 2:49:00 AM