Jan 8, 2007

On Iraq, Deck Chairs, and Calls for New Fodder

(Toledo, OH) The news that President Bush is considering plans that would send up to 20,000 more US troops to Iraq in an effort to quell sectarian violence comes as no surprise. The administration began floating trial balloons about troop surges last month, and it is clear that this leak is intended to send a message to the new Democratic Congress.

That message, of course, is that the Bush administration plans to continue to use US troops in support of its failed Iraq policies; this move comes in spite of heavy opposition from the American public as demonstrated in polls and the November elections. Despite finding no weapons of mass destruction, and effecting the desired regime change, the President continues to stubbornly stay the course with this doomed foreign policy.

The "shakeup" of the administration - Ryan Crocker as the new US ambassador to Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus as top ground commander in Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad as ambassador to the United Nations, and Robert Gates as the new Defense Secretary - was intended to mollify critics of the Iraq war. On the surface, these changes do bring fresh faces into the mix, but I cannot but wonder what real change can happen as Iraq spirals downward into a Titanician descent.

The Iraqi insurgencies are driven by the presence of US troops on Iraqi soil, and the insurgency will not die out until those US troops leave. The US military serves as a tool of recruitment to the militias and terror cells.

The Iraqi security forces have become dependent on the US military, and they will not evolve into a sustainable police force so long as the Americans remain the primary decision makers. Setting a deadline for bringing the troops home will ensure that the Iraqi government takes seriously the need for stepping up self-policing.

Those who support the various surge plans believe this is the only way to "win" the war, but - like the US in the Vietnam War, or the British in the American Revolution - this is a war that cannot be won, at least not in the conventional sense (we already "won" the actual war against Saddam and his armies). The Iraqis are fighting an internal civil war of a political nature, and the US military cannot "win" a political struggle.

It is time to cut our losses and bring the troops home in 2007.


Mark said...

I wonder about the possible political ramifications to staying the course in Iraq. What does staying the course in Iraq do? For one thing, it will increase partisan gridlock between the Democratic Congress and the President. Consequence: the Republican party can point to the Democratic Congress in 2008 and say, "See? You elected these people to change things and they didn't." It's a gamble as to whether people believe that the Dems are the problem, or that, correctly, Bush is. It will come down to who makes better publicity.

But another possible ramification: is there a Republican out there willing to denounce Bush's war policies? If the 2006 elections were an indication to Republicans about the public's weariness over the war, is there a Presidential candidate in 2008 willing to say "I'll bring the troops home?" Hawk John McCain has not been as vocally against the war as he could be, and Bush's "stay-the-course" policies may doom McCain if he runs in 2008, as most people believe he will. The Dems could win back the presidency (yay!) if Bush continues along this line, provided that there is no Republican successor willing to admit that the Iraq war is a mistake.

The best thing for Bush to do to protect his party would be to bring the troops home now. Will he do it though? If he knows that McCain is a front-runner, might Bush have an ax to grind that he wishes to take out on McCain's Presidential run? A showdown is coming, and it will be interesting to watch.

microdot said...

Your Deck Chairs on the Titanic analogy is certainly the buzz this week. Bush is going to ask for 30,000, the Pentagon is claiming that there is only a few divisions available, Congress is going to make him fight for it.
It comes down to the reality that all Bush & Co. can do is to throw more bodies and money in the fire and hope it can keep burning until they are out of office. Then it becomes the next administrations burden. All he has to do is keep it going until the all the ink is dry on the oil deals.
I think McCain is beginning to self immolate. There is a lot about the man that is a little too creepy tto be presidential fodder. Guiliani is a total liability. The rest? The Romneys and other Republican presidential wannabees? They will have a hard row to hoe considering the state of the American people.
Most insane, but yet believable deck chair seating arrangement rumor flying around now is that Negroponte was chafing under Cheney and he really wants to discredit Cheney. Negroponte has stated that he thinks Cheneys obsession with Iran is a big mistake. He is part of a inside cabal to get Cheney out soon. Condileeza, who as you might have noticed, is looking more like Lady MacBeth these days, is going to be promoted to Vice Presidency and Negroponte will have the apple he's always coveted, Secretary of State.
Loony? Well, I guess it sounds that way, but every loony prediction that I've heard about this administration seems to come true sooner or later!
I think the major property purchase the Bush family made in Paraguay a few months ago is beginning to look like a nice retirement option for George Jr....we probably have some kind of non-extradition arrangement still in place after the protected Germans fled there after WW2.
Ponder and discuss amongst your selves.......

microdot said...

Yes, it's the department of "one more thing"
Does the name Captain Queeg ring a bell?

Another man who was unable to admit mistakes...and was quite mad to boot!

Dariush said...

"...is there a Republican out there willing to denounce Bush's war policies?"

If Bob Novak is right, and after having talked to Harlan Ullman last week I beleive he is, there are plenty.

Hagel's just the tip of the iceberg.

Mr. Schwartz said...

Johnson used the same logic in Vietnam, send more troops. It was a failure then and it will be a failure now.

Had Bush Sr in the early 90s finished the job and overthrown Saddam then, I don't think we would have the violence that is happening today there.

There is only 2 solutions for Iraq and none of them involve the US.

1) Re-establish the dictatorship there. Only a strong dictator with complete control can get all these factions in Iraq under control. I love democracies but let's face it, democracy doesn't work everywhere. A dictator allied with the US would work best.

2) Divide Iraq into 3 countries. One for the Kurds, one of the Sunnis, one for the Shiites. Iraq was an artifically created country in the first place by the British. The only problem with this is Turkey will probably invade a newly formed Kurdistan.

Regardless, I believe the US should withdraw troops. I can't see how victory can be achived now, although how do you define victory??

Bush Jr should swallow his pride and call them home.

Saskboy said...

If a "troop surge" can yet make a difference in any place, it's Darfur or Afghanistan. Iraq is going to be whatever Iraqis with big guns decide to make it.

wjohnson said...

Hello History Mike,
Good Subject!
Colin Powell along with other Generals in the Pentagon and on site in Iraq, have come out and spoken against the additional troop build up in Iraq. Colin Powell words were that there were not enough troops to support the build up. Bush has to take troops slated for replacements in the future that were to replace the spent, war weary troops to be rotated out. By sending them into Iraq now, they will not be any to relieve those slated to go home later.

This reminds me of Hitler in all of his full bloom madness right after the last gasp effort of the Battle of the Bulge. He was standing around with his Generals in the war room directing troop movements of divisions to counter the allied troop’s movements into Germany. The Generals first looked at each other then made the reality comment to Hitler that there were no more divisions and those troops he was moving into place did not exist. Hitler did not accept these realities, gave the orders to call up the troops and position them where he had ordered them to stand until the last mans death. He then left the meeting and as far as he was concerned, by his mandate, the problem was solved.

We are now seeing George W. Bush in all of his madness but Colin Powell should feel lucky; because Hitler also ordered Rommel to commit suicide.