Tuesday, May 11, 2010

You Forgot Iraq

If there was any upside at all to the wave of suicide bombings and assassinations that were carried out all over Iraq yesterday, it was in reminding us that Afghanistan is no longer the sole front in the war on terror. Not by default, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Iraq, and the al-Qaida offshoot that loves it, is here to stay.

Indeed, sometimes it's difficult if not outright impossible to think of Iraq in 2005 terms, to not twitch at this distant news filtering down to us and to take George W. Bush to task for his rash, ill-planned and blatantly illegal occupation of Iraq. Yesterday's violence that had claimed over 200 lives and sent hundreds more to already overburdened hospitals was a dramatic spike that made for the deadliest day in Iraq all year long. Back in 2005, such days were virtually commonplace.

But this is no longer George W. Bush's war any more than Vietnam was solely Johnson's or Nixon's war. And the more George W. Bush fades into memory and rightly assumes his place on the ash heap of history, the more it becomes the war of the incumbent commander in chief. It is not George W. Bush to whom we look for answers and solutions to the morass that is Iraq but Barack Obama.

And since the elections late last winter that eerily paralleled those of the January 31st 2005 elections, Iraq's hopes, already battered by violence, increasingly rest on the shoulders of a former spy of the CIA and Britain's MI6, Dr. Ayad Alawi, a man roundly rejected and tossed from his provisional Prime Minister post when Sunnis avoided the polls by the millions. But Alawi's coalition and narrow two seat victory in the last election still leaves his political future, and Iraq's, up in the air. The former physician and spy who'd worked in collusion with British and US intelligence to undermine Saddam Hussein got to whereever he is by triangulating and tapping into the dissatisfaction of Sunni voters who'd rejected him five years ago, Sunni voters who are even less enchanted with the disastrous reign of Nouri al Maliki than they were of the secular Shia helping to oust Saddam.

With a US President and his August 2011 deadline now in a shambles and with pundits and policy-makers now grumbling about having to extend our involvement in Iraq and with the balance of power teetering and the leadership just as uncertain, only one thing is clear: Yesterday's violence all but guarantees that the troop drawdown will be pushed back, that we'll have to violate the SOFA agreement more than we already have and in order to maintain our larger footprint in Afghanistan, we'll have to allocate more troops back in Iraq and further stretch our military to the breaking point it was already at when Bush left office.

It will result in more hardship on American families with loved ones in the Gulf and central Asia, it will result in more trillions disappearing into the various rabbit holes more commonly referred to as the pockets of war profiteers, it will further batter our reputation in the international community that had barely begun being healed with the hands of our once bright and gifted leader.

And as long as the Taliban and al-Qaida in Iraq are idiotic enough to continue slaughtering innocents and guaranteeing an American troop presence they vow to end, we will continue playing the game by their rules, leading with our chin regardless of the cost to innocents in both Iraq and our own nation.


At May 11, 2010 at 1:50 PM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

You are so depressing, because you are RIGHT!!!

Again, JP, I love your writing.

Hey, everybody, please donate something to JP. I did!

At May 11, 2010 at 2:51 PM, Anonymous Pearl said...

A somewhat useful editorial, though one that quite clearly reflects the point of view of American ideology.

1. No honest comment on Iraq can begin without first observing that as a preliminary matter, the U.S. government owes Iraq billions of dollars as reparations for an illegal and immoral invasion.

2. As the aggressor in Iraq, the U.S. has no rights, period. It has only responsibilities.

3. Stop using the expression, "War on Terror"; it is a tool of propaganda.

4. Fuck the "hardship on American families with loved ones in the Gulf and central Asia". Anyone stupid enough to enlist in the U.S. military without realizing they are willingly becoming a participant in an imperial foreign policy deserves everything they get. American citizens who join the U.S. military may tend to come from the lower classes. But they are not incapable of making an effort to understand their own country and history. Moreover, the "families" of such persons are responsible if they raise children too lazy or indoctrinated to understand the most basic facts of U.S. foreign policy.

At May 12, 2010 at 11:50 AM, Anonymous Comrade Rutherford said...

"Anyone stupid enough to enlist in the U.S. military without realizing they are willingly becoming a participant in an imperial foreign policy deserves everything they get."

Exactly - but:

In my rural area of Vermont, there simply are not enough jobs for everyone. For many graduating high-school kids the military represents the ONLY employment option for them.

Of course, if we didn't waste trillions of dollars on the largest military in the world, then we would have plenty of money for domestic development.

But the American ruling class doesn't want a middle class to exist at all, that's why the US is in it's current predicament.

At May 13, 2010 at 8:48 PM, Blogger CP said...

I don't see how we can violate the SOFA if the Iraqis don't want us to stay, hence the "Agreement" part. SOFA is not a new concept. It's in place in Germany, South Korea etc. And you failed to mention the recent death of the two top leaders of AQI. Of course they are all coming out of the wood work now to remind us about Iraq after one bad day in the last 200 or so. Good news doesn't sell.

And Pearl your right, when I enlisted I got everything I deserve. Great training which allowed me to transition into a great job in civilian life and a chance to serve my country during one the most important times since WWII.

One day in the future someone may ask you what you did in service to your country, I know what I will say, what will you say?

At May 13, 2010 at 10:00 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Well, I could tell them what I did in service to my country... but then I'd have to kill them. Yeah, it's that classified. And I ain't very proud of what I did.

The "good news" that never gets the good press had, in fact, been out there since the Bush administration... and most if not all of it was bullshit.

Yeah, we killed al Qaida in Iraq's top guy. But we did that back in June of '06 when we finally got Zarqawi. They keep replacing themselves like Hydra heads then we have to kill them all over again and usually have to slaughter hundreds of innocent Iraqis just to get the one guy we want. How is that in any way good news"?

I never said the SOFA agreement was a new thing. But even before this spate of violence, we'd already begun violating it by literally redrawing the city lines of Baghdad so we could at last truthfully say, "See? We're out of the capital just like we promised!"

But in reality, our troops haven't moved an inch. And if the Iraqis don't want us to stay, and we do, then how is that not violating the SOFA Agreement?

I'm glad that you got the training you found so valuable and lived long enough to capitalize on it. A lot of kids don't get the chance to do that, especially the ones who were lied to by their recruiters who told them, "Oh, the chances of you getting sent to Iraq are slim to none."

Next thing they know, they're eating sand and dodging bullets in a barren, hostile land that's like an alien planet. I know- I've been there.

Then they get stop-lossed again and again and again until they're either too burnt-out to make a contribution when they're finally allowed to go back to civilian life or entirely dead.

At May 13, 2010 at 10:24 PM, Blogger CP said...

That's a pretty big assumption that we would violate the SOFA without making the case to the Iraqi government first.

Second I disagree the statement that the troops are not leaving. We turned over Anbar to Iraqi control earlier this year and those American troops were not moved to other parts of Iraq, they were redeployed to the states. Iraqis are taking the lead in matters of security all over the country.

The pace may be slow, but I think the real impact will be seen this summer. Afghan numbers will pass Iraq numbers, and it won't be just because more troops are going to Afghanistan.

As far as us slaughtering hundreds of innocent Iraqis to get one guy, that hasn't been US troops setting off car bombs in crowded markets the past seven years. You can't out alot of stock in casualty figures when your dealing with a culture who is willing to kill their neighbor just to prove they are more devout then the next person.

At May 13, 2010 at 10:57 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

OK, pal, you wanna talk collateral damage? Let's dance:

It ain't al Qaida in Iraq that strafes entire neighborhoods with Apache gunships and it ain't al Qaida that rapes girls, kills entire families and levels their homes with, once again, gunships. Al Qaida's not razing homes to the ground using Bradley tanks and al Qaida's not the ones using Willie Pete on innocent civilians any more than they were the ones who used depleted uranium shells during Operation Desert Storm.

We're no better than al Qaida except inasfar as the price of our toys, paid for with your tax dollars earned with military training.

We've never really given a damn what the Iraqi gov't that we'd installed thinks about anything we've done. We agreed with them to get out of Baghdad by the end of June '09. Instead, we redrew the city lines with the Iraqi military that, for some reason, is still onboard with our disastrous agenda.

They outlawed Blackwater after Nisour Sq. What did we do? We gave them more no bid contracts.

They never wanted to sign over their oil drilling leases to us and we insisted they did.

Since when does the US ever listen to any government that doesn't sell us oil, practice Judaism or loan us billions each day to float the debt that Bush created out of thin air? Since when did we ever seriously listen to the puppet gov'ts that we create?

The "Iraqis are taking the lead in matters of security all over the country"? Yeah, and they're doing a bangup job considering how many people were killed the other day. And that's with about 70,000 US troops supporting them, plus "security contractors" and what few coalition forces remain.

The point you armchair warriors keep conveniently forgetting is that we never should've invaded this country to begin with. This invasion, which was planned well in advance despite what Bush was telling us about all options being on the table and entering into war reluctantly, was a shifting, easily-provable pack of lies.

Saddam was not in bed with bin Laden. Iraq had no WMDs. Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

Now we're like that monkey caught in the Bushman's trap, unable to extract our clenched fist from the hole in the tree because we don't want to let go of the nuts that we've grabbed.

It was Bush's Vietnam, now it's Obama's. And the spate of violence, as I'd said earlier, is already making policy-makers openly suggest (which is to say preparing us for the worst) that we'll have to push back the August 2011 withdrawal deadline. This will be Obama's re-election albatross because that's just before an election year.

Yeah, heck of a job battling those insurgents and terr'ists, Nouri.


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