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Lets's talk about democracy
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Tuesday, 28 June 2005
Operation: "stay the course."
Topic: Iraq
Gosh, I’m really looking forward to president Bush’s Iraq speech tonight from Ft. Bragg. [Wasn’t that the base Jesse Helms warned Clinton to bring plenty of bodyguards to?] I’m really interested to see how he spins 1,300 Iraq deaths [700 in Baghdad alone!) and over 100 U.S. solders dead since April 28th into a mission almost accomplished speech.

On the one hand he’ll say we’re not going to be there forever because there’s over 170,000 Iraqi troops ready to take up the fight, but on the other hand we can’t abandon the Iraqis because they’re not ready to defend their democracy yet. Let’s see how he assures the Shiites and the Kurds we’re not leaving and at the same time convinces the American people we are.

Just as soon as the Iraqis get that pesky constitution written, which will be happening anytime now, we’re out of there. The insurgents are clearly desperate seeing all this success, so they’re going to be even more deadly so we have to stick to it because our national security depends on a democratic Iraq. That message ought to go over in the heartland.

Perhaps not, it appears the old adage, “you can’t fool all of the people all of the time,” might be catching up with Dubya’ and Co. A Washington post poll says only 22% of those asked thought the insurgency was getting weaker. Not that the White House pays any attention to polls or anything, (This speech has nothing to do with the polls), but I think using the 82d Airborne as a backdrop—just like the “Mission Accomplished” banner on the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln--- just might be a calculated move. You can’t argue with the Commander-in-Chief’s position on this because the troops are behind him (Literally) and if you’re not, you’re against the troops. (The Post poll also found 51% now believes the war wasn’t worth it. Pretty sobering numbers, but nothing a few hundred uniforms and a bunch of American flags can't fix.)

More signs of progress!

In a strange bit of timing, the military began a new offensive today, code named “Operation Sword,” along the Euphrates River, once again aimed at routing out insurgents and those “rat lines” we hear so much of. So far these big offensives, beyond leveling houses and displacing civilians, don’t seem to be doing much besides leaving other areas unprotected, which the insurgents then re-deploy to and attack. Doesn’t anyone in the pentagon know Bedford Forrest’s old insurgency axiom, “hit ‘em where they ain’t?”

There’s a report today from the AP that the U.S. military, not the Iraqis, is going to expand its prisons to help contain the more than 10,002 detainees it already has plus another 4000 more its expecting. Guy Rudsill, a spokesperson for detainee operations in Iraq is quoted as saying, “We are past the normal capacity for both Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca. We are at surge capacity.” The AP report says Rudsill attributes the rise in the number of prisoners to, “successful ongoing military operations against the insurgency and terrorists.” Right. You can really tell the insurgency is in its “last throes” by the vast numbers of prisoners you’re taking, who are, naturally, all guilty. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be there, right?

Rummy says, by the way, there are different ways of interpreting what “last throes” means. Rummy told FOX, “last throes could be a violent last throes, or placid and calm last throes.” (What the meaning of “is,” is.) He expects, though, “you’ll see an escalation of violence between now and the [next round of Iraqi] elections.” (Never heard that before. At least, he didn’t say “run-up.”)

Kill them. Kill them all.

Maybe, instead of getting overcharged by Halliburton for all this construction of new warehousing for “the usual suspects” we should take a page from the Iraqi security forces’ playbook. It appears that since the election they’ve been rounding up 100s of Sunnis and killing them. An article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer claims Iraqi Shiite commandos are “arresting” Sunnis, beating and electrocuting them, then putting a bullet in the back of their heads. They just don’t dump the bodies though, oh no, their police after all, they drop them off at the hospital. The Inquirer relates the unsolved murder case of Anwar Jassim, a Sunni welder, who was taken from his home by “a large group of men dressed and equipped as police commandos:

“The abductors dropped Jassim’s body at Baghdad’s Yarmuk Hospital the next day, hospital staffers said. According to hospital record, Jassim had a bullet wound in the back of his head and cuts and bruises on his abdomen, back and neck. The man in charge of Yarmuk morgue…said he remembered the day the commandos brought Jassim’s corpse. The commandos told me to keep the body outside the refrigerator so that the dogs could eat it because he’s a terrorist and he deserves it.” (More democratic “untidiness.”)

An American advisor to the Iraqi Interior Ministry says the claims of Iraqi commandos carrying out these killings is, “either rumor or innuendo. You can buy a police uniforms in 20 different places in the market.” Oh that’s good, nice to see they’ve really got a handle on the problem. The article points out, however, the insurgents must be pretty well off to be able to afford the Toyotas they drive around in, which cost $55,000, the Glocks they carry, about $500 each, and the sophisticated radio gear that “are rarely used by anyone other than Western contractors and Iraqi security forces.”

The problem says Ghathanfar al Jasim, an attorney general on Iraq’s national judicial council is that,“ We cannot admit that our police are doing it; it would make them weak” After all, you must understand, the Sunnis are attacking groups like the Wolf Brigade: “When a man kills another man [from their group] what you think will be the result? How do you think the Wolf Brigade would behave?” (Indeed, we’d better keep them sweet, they’re going to be our new freedom fighters when we bug out.)

Sounds like a Lebanese style civil war in the making to me.

Bush will frame the issue of us “staying the course” as a fight of us against them. Profeesor Steven Biddel of the Army War college describes what’s going on there as really a “covert civil war masquerading as an insurgency against American occupation." Both sides in this inter-sectarian brawl are playing us and the masterminds at the pentagon are getting suckered again. No wonder Jaafari doesn’t want us to leave, we’re there to prop up him up until he can solidify his position. We need the Peshmerga 80,000 fighters, so we’re looking the other way while they ethnically cleanse Kirkuk, which could lead to even more serious consequences when the Turks get involved; which they will, because Kirkuk is a red line for them and we’re really playing with fire if we think regime change in Syria is a great idea. If everything falls apart there, what happens to the Syrian Kurds? Ever think of that Condi?

Who said it would be a “cake walk?” Not us!

Not that anyone in the administration ever said it was going to be easy in Iraq before they dragged us into this. In March of 2003 Cheney said he thought the war would go “relatively quickly…weeks rather than months.” In February of 2003 Rummy said, “It could last six days, six weeks, I doubt six months.” Seven months later Rummy said, “Never said that. Never did…you’re thinking of someone else.” He never said the threat from Iraq was “imminent” threat either. He said “immediate.” There’s a big difference there. There are various interpretations you can get from that. (That’s what I heard a New York Times editor say on Washington Week about the Downing Street memo.)

In any case, we never talk with terrorists. No, we do, we don’t negotiate with them, I forgot. Even though the pentagon has been denying for months that talks are going on with insurgents, Rummy had to admit yesterday that they are because of a Sunday Times article revealing the U.S. had met “face to face” with insurgent commanders at a villa in Balad, twice. Now, Rummy says “there probably have been many more [meetings] than that.” Rummy says these meeting “go on all the time.” (I like how he makes it sound like this is just common knowledge.) It’s all up to the Iraqis because we’re just “facilitating” these “talks.” The Iraqis “will decide what their relationships with various elements of the insurgency will be.” OK, so if they want to talk with Zarqawi, that’s cool too, right?

There are reports the insurgent negotiators are asking for a timeline for U.S. withdrawal as a starting point for discussing an end to fighting. Hmmm…our presence in Iraq couldn’t be what’s keeping the recruiting numbers up for the rebels, could it? There are no good solutions to this situation, but us getting out would take the wind out of the foreign element’s sails, at least. Then the Shiites and the Kurds could divvy up the country into their respective zones of influence and get on with it, although the question of the Kurds taking the northern oil fields is still a potential causas belli for an entirely new war. And I’ve got to think the Saudis and other Sunni countries wouldn’t be happy with Iraq getting all cozy with Iran, their Shiite brothers. This is a decades long disaster of our making, but it doesn’t have to include losing 100 troops every month for as far as the eye can see either. We have to cut our loses and go, a proposition the naked emperor and his tailors will resist until they are inevitably forced to make the choice between staying the course in Iraq or seeing their political aspirations at home go down the toilet.


Today's news:

AP:

"BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide car bomber killed an influential Shiite member of parliament and his son as they drove to the capital Tuesday, an attack likely to stoke ethnic tensions on the first anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis.

The attack that killed Dhari Ali al-Fayadh, his son and two bodyguards was one of several around the country carried out by suicide bombers. Other attacks killed one U.S. soldier in Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, and one in Tikrit. Two soldiers were wounded. At least 1,743 members of the U.S. military have died since the war began in 2003, according to an Associated Press count."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 4:05 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 28 June 2005 4:07 PM EDT
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