Here's a way to win hearts and minds, or get us involved in a centuries old tribal conflict of biblical proportions that could spread all over the region.
"Police and security units, forces led by Kurdish political parties and backed by the U.S. military, have abducted hundreds of minority Arabs and Turkmens...Seized off the streets of Kirkuk or in joint U.S.-Iraqi raids, the men have been transferred secretly and in violation of Iraqi law to prisons in the Kurdish cities of Irbil and Sulaymaniyah, sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. forces. A confidential State Department cable...said the 'extra-judicial detentions" were part of a 'concerted and widespread initiative' by Kurdish political parties 'to exercise authority in Kirkuk in an increasingly provocative manner...The abductions have 'greatly exacerbated tensions along purely ethnic lines' and endangered U.S. credibility, the nine-page cable, dated June 5, stated. 'Turkmen in Kirkuk tell us they perceive a U.S. tolerance for the practice while Arabs in Kirkuk believe Coalition Forces are directly responsible.'"
Our little bastards in Iraq and our ticket out.
This goes along with our sudden tolerance of various Shiite militias roaming around Iraq killing Sunnis.
President Talabani thinks a combination of militias and the "security forces," if there any left alive, could roll up the insurgency in no time.
"In my opinion, Iraqi forces, the popular forces and government forces, are now ready to end the insurgency and end this terrorism," he said. "But there is a kind of thinking inside the [outgoing interim] government that they must not use [them].
Asked how long it would take for Iraqi security forces to be in a position to replace the US-led coalition, President Talabani said the transition could take place straight away if a new strategy were adopted.
The Kurds have in the past offered the use of their estimated 80,000 Peshmerga guerrillas for security tasks but have been turned down. So, too, has the Iranian-influenced Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (Sciri) and its Badr brigade, another well-trained fighting force.
"We cannot wait for years and years of terrorist activity because we haven't enough government forces," the president said."
The Council On Foreign Relations [CFR] web site explains:
"There are a growing number of small, homegrown, paramilitary-style brigades being formed by local tribes, religious leaders, and political parties. Some battle Iraq's largely Sunni insurgency alongside official Interior and Defense ministry troops; others operate without official assistance or sanction. The larger, more established militias, such as the Badr Organization and peshmerga, are tied to Iraq's leading political parties, organized along sectarian lines, and enforce order in their respective regions. The relationship of these groups to the official U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces is variable and complex."
[There are also 20,000 American security contractors operating in Iraq from various companies who are beholden to no one. There is no law that covers their presence there. What happened in Fallujah with the arrest of 19 contractors by U.S. Marines last week is just the tip of the ice berg, when it comes the massive mess Rummy and Co. have gotten us into.One might image what happens when we actually do get out of there and all these war hardened contractors come back home and can't find a comparable job paying $100,000 a year. There's always Venezuela I guess, or a newly "liberated" Cuba.]
The Wolf Brigade was the target of the suicide bombing in the groups cafateria yesterday that killed 25 and wounded 30. The CFR says of them:
"Last December, the Wolf Brigade--backed up by the Iraqi army and U.S. military--achieved notoriety after launching a series of counterinsurgency operations in Mosul, a Sunni stronghold northwest of Baghdad. Their popularity was further buoyed by the success of Terrorism in the grip of justice, a primetime show on U.S.-funded Al Iraqiya television that features live interrogations of Iraqi insurgents by commandos. In one recent show, Abu Walid questioned around 30 shabbily dressed suspects, some clutching photos of their victims, waiting to confess their crimes."
Nice guys these.
Bring the troops home.
"WASHINGTON -President Bush would have to start bringing home U.S. troops from Iraq by Oct. 1, 2006, under a measure a small bipartisan group of House lawmakers — including a Republican who voted for war — proposed Thursday.
Among the resolution's sponsors are Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C., who voted for the Iraq war but now says the United States has done what it can in Iraq and the reason for going to war —Saddam Hussein's alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction — has been proven false.
'After 1,700 deaths, over 12,000 wounded, and $200 billion spent, we believe it is time to have this debate and discussion on this resolution,' Jones said.
Two years ago, Jones helped lead an effort to ensure Capitol Hill cafeterias retooled their menus to advertise "freedom fries" instead of french fries to protest France's opposition to the war.
The other resolution sponsors are Ron Paul, R-Texas, who voted against the war, and two Democrats who've opposed it, Reps. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio and Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii."
Pretty powerful stuff. I feel a tipping point approaching.
The beat goes on...
"The deaths of...six U.S. troops came Wednesday during insurgent attacks that killed 58 people, making it the deadliest day of violence in more than a month. At least 1,714 U.S. military members have died since the war began in 2003, according to an AP count.
Five Marines were killed after their vehicle was attacked near Ramadi, 70 miles west of Baghdad, the military said Thursday. Officials in Ramadi had reported a roadside bomb blast in the pre-dawn hours. [That's not the same 5 marines killed last thursday in the same manner.]
A sailor attached to the Marines' unit also was killed Wednesday in Ramadi by gunfire, the military said."