Welcome to the New Iraq Theocracy

moqtada sadr.jpg

I think the noise of Bush’s screwing with the NSA and letting them loose on American citizens has drowned out a more important story – that Iraq is about to fall into the hands of Moqtada Al Sadr and his friends.

Early voting results announced by Iraqi electoral officials on Monday, with nearly two-thirds of the ballots counted, indicated that religious groups, particularly the main Shiite coalition, had taken a commanding lead. The secular coalition led by Ayad Allawi, the former prime minister, had won only meager support in crucial provinces where it had expected to do well, including Baghdad.

I never thought I’d link to Pajamas Media, but they are a good resource for this topic, reflecting the true disappointment of all those pro-Bush Iraqi bloggers like The Iraq Vote, who laments:

“The final results aren’t out yet, but things look pretty bad for those of us who would want to see an Iraq that is secular and democratic and not influenced by Iran. The United Iraqi Alliance, as reported here two days ago swept the votes across southern Iraq, so much so that Ahmad Chalabi may well walk away with zero seats. How this happened is for later, but for now, let’s talk about what happened. Ayad Allawi even by the most liberal of counts will not get more than 20 seats, that’s nowhere enough for a UIA-free coalition let alone a PM bid. Unconfirmed reports show that Allawi has left Iraq.”

Longtimers know I got into some serious scrapes with commenters who said my insistence that Iraq was about to become an Iranian-style theocracy increasingly aligned with Iran was delusional, pessimistic and irrational. That was months ago, and look what’s happening. We wanted to give Iraq their democracy, and they got it. But at what cost to America? All that bloodshed and grief, to invest with awesome powers those sworn to our destruction.

The same PJ’s page quotes from the blog Unclaimed Territory:

All of those wild celebrations over the Iraqi elections to which we were subjected last week (and which were mercifully cut short by revelations of lawless spying on American citizens by the White House) would be far more appropriate and understandable taking place in the governmental halls of Tehran.

Tehran, where the newly elected Fuhrer is sworn to the destruction of Israel and far more dire a threat than Saddam ever could have aspired to be.

Iraq Rising is more succinct:

Congratulations America,
welcome to the Islamic devided wartorn republic of Shit hole Iraq. Watch your Petrol Gas pomp prices go up.. A bunch off idiots, the whole lot of ya….
Iraq Rising.. More like Iraq dying..
Blogg closed.

Oh, the sad irony. And we’re going to stick around and die and bleed over there to train their army.

Daily Pundit, who led me to the PJs link, sums it up nicely.

Does Bush – or anybody else – think he can put the genie of a fully armed and aroused Shiite majority in control of the Iraqi government by entirely legitimate, democratic means, back in the bottle? Because that is what it is going to take to appease the Sunnis. And no matter how hard Bush tries, it’s not going to happen. In fact, if Bush doesn’t stop screwing around, what he’s going to end up with is what he fears most: both the Shia and the Sunni in revolt against the “American occupation” amidst a full-blown civil war. And never fear: the harmless, “impregnable” Iranians will be more than happy to aid their Shia religious brethren to victory in that battle. Maybe even with some of those unstoppable nukes we are helpless to do anything about.

And that’s from a pro-Bush, librul-hating warblogger (though one of the better ones, to be fair).

Saddam never had the capabilities for nuclear weapons and never would have. But Iran is a much different story, as we know. And we’ve just handed them the sweetest Christmas present imaginable, the country of Iraq, gift-wrapped and tied with a bow.

And now, back to the war, certain to intensify as seething Sunni rage explodes over their impotence and helplessness. Oh, what we have done to let Little Boy George show he could change the world. Well, he changed it, alright. And now we all have to live with it. Iraq, a disaster in every way, the greatest trainwreck of our lives. We’ll be trying to get out of the rubble for many years to come, so make yourself comfortable and don’t complain about all the soot and filth and fires and blood and the stench of death; you chose Bush to be your president. What did you expect?

Update: I absolutely have to give the last word (for the moment) to Patrick Cockburn. Those of you who laughed at the notion of a fundamentalist theocracy a few weeks ago need to get over there and read it all:

Iraq is disintegrating. The first results from the parliamentary election last week show the country is dividing between Shia, Sunni and Kurdish regions.

Religious fundamentalists now have the upper hand. The secular and nationalist candidate backed by the US and Britain was humiliatingly defeated.

The Shia religious coalition has won a total victory in Baghdad and the south of Iraq. The Sunni Arab parties who openly or covertly support armed resistance to the US are likely to win large majorities in Sunni provinces. The Kurds have already achieved quasi-independence and their voting reflected that.

The election marks the final shipwreck of American and British hopes of establishing a pro-Western secular democracy in a united Iraq.

Islamic fundamentalist movements are ever more powerful in both the Sunni and Shia communities. Ghassan Attiyah, an Iraqi commentator, said: “In two and a half years Bush has succeeded in creating two new Talibans in Iraq.”

The success of the United Iraqi Alliance, the coalition of Shia religious parties, has been far greater than expected according to preliminary results. It won 58 per cent of the vote in Baghdad, while Iyad Allawi, the former prime minister strongly supported by Tony Blair, got only 14 per cent of the vote. In Basra, Iraq’s second city, 77 per cent of voters supported the Alliance and only 11 per cent Mr Allawi.

The election was portrayed by President George Bush as a sign of success for US policies in Iraq but, in fact, means the triumph of America’s enemies inside and outside the country.

Iran will be pleased that the Shia religious parties which it has supported, have become the strongest political force.

Ironically, Mr Bush is increasingly dependent within Iraq on the co-operation and restraint of the Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly called for the eradication of Israel. It is the allies of the Iranian theocracy who are growing in influence by the day and have triumphed in the election. The US will fear that development greatly as it constantly reminds the world of Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Now remind us, please: why should we be so ecstatic about the Iraqi elections? Is this truly what you believe our soldiers should die for and what our tax dollars should be lavished on? Do you really? Are you as happy and enthusiastic today as you were a few days ago, when you were gushing about freedom and liberty?

Oh, the richness of the irony, the vastness of our hubris, the limitlessness of our blindness and stupidity.

The Discussion: 23 Comments

Aaaaaarrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Who didn’t predict this three years ago? Our invasion of Iraq was the biggest victory in the history of Iran.

Michael

December 21, 2005 @ 5:49 am | Comment

And now they want to do the same to Syria. Who’d be an American? Spied on at home, despised abroad, bankrupted by a war to put the Sadr Army in power and your industry shifting to China en masse.
Who’s going to lead you out of this mess? Hilary Clinton?

December 21, 2005 @ 5:54 am | Comment

Don’t worry.

Paint your finger purple, dance triumphantly and carry on about being on the right side of history.

Rant about “leftists”, “liberals” , “traitors” and Bush’s rising poll numbers. The Islamo-facists” are on the run!

Islamic republic? Oh, well.

December 21, 2005 @ 9:21 am | Comment

I’m not ready to say the sky is falling yet because everyone knew the UIA would win the elections. Now if they picked Al-Sadr as the Prime Minister than it is time to panic about Iran taking over Iraq. I don’t see it happening if Jafari remains the prime minister. Jafari may be friendly with Iran but he is no puppet.

2005 under Jafari was much more successful year for Iraq compared to 2004 when Alawi was in charge. Alawi was in charge when I was there and he was thought of as an American puppet. After Jafari got elected and Alawi peacefully stepped down people began to realize that we weren’t trying to emplace puppets in Iraq to steal their oil wealth. We were actually trying emplace democracy.

Have some more patience before declaring the sky is falling. But like I said before if Al-Sadr does end up controling the government than yes the sky is falling because he is no friend of America. Jafari may not be a great friend of America but he is no enemy either which is about how most Iraqis feel about the American presence in their country.

December 21, 2005 @ 9:33 am | Comment

Free Kurdistan!

December 21, 2005 @ 10:19 am | Comment

GI Joe, always look on the bright side, as they say in Life of Brian!

December 21, 2005 @ 4:46 pm | Comment

And Hillary Clinton would do a much better job than George Bush. Not my ideal choice, but she’s a competent, smart lady.

December 21, 2005 @ 4:47 pm | Comment

you chose Bush to be your president. What did you expect?

Well, I can’t speak for anyone from that group, but I was under the impression that what they were actually expecting was something more like an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment, oil drilling in the ANWR and maybe ID in the classroom.

What they weren’t expecting was a milItary and foreign policy boondoggle of this scale.

So Richard, when you are feeling really low over Iraq, just remember that, at least on the anti-gay amendment, drilling in Alaska, and ID, the Bush League has delivered zero for three.

Now, go roast some chestnuts in an open fire. I’ll leave the choice of tinder to you, but after today’s ruling by Judge Jones, I suggest some ID tracts. ๐Ÿ™‚

December 21, 2005 @ 8:04 pm | Comment

GI Korea

Jafari is being endorsed by Ayatollah Sistani and religious elements. His UIE’s strong showing is due to the support of Sistani not he himself. Thats a illusion and a worrying sign because it means that Iraqis are increasing polarised along religious and sectarian lines.

Allawi’s defeat is a defeat for a democratic secular united Iraq. Allawi is a secular nationalist, his defeat is something catastrophic for Iraq’s future as a pro-Western democratic secular unitary state. Yet you seem to cheer about Jafari’s victory, which is nothing to cheer about for the US and Iraq’s future.

The Balkanisation of Iraq is the most likely outcome.

Jafari may not be Teheran’s puppet but geopolitical realities and religious affinities would compel him look for Teheran for alliance and partnership. That in itself is a strategic disaster for the US.

Time for some realpolitik rather than Bushist idealism and naivety.

December 22, 2005 @ 12:01 am | Comment

So much for the neo-con dream of happy Iraqis unwinding with margaritas at the Baghdad Hooter’s after a long day at the Baghdad Wal*Mart.

December 22, 2005 @ 6:51 am | Comment

Alawi was never expected to win the election. Everyone knew th UIA would win. Jafari has been in charge of Iraq for one year and has saw much more improvement than Alawi did because he has more legitimacy than Alawi who is thought of as an American puppet. Iraqis are extremely nationalistic and don’t want to be considered American stooges.

It was a fair election and the Shiites won. Now in the coming months we will see if they make the type of social contract necessary to keep the country together. If the Shiite government gets to close to Iran they will never see an end to the insurgency. They have to form a government that is pro-Iraqi, not pro-Iranian because of this.

December 22, 2005 @ 7:13 am | Comment

GI Korea

You are speaking of “nationalistic Iraqis”… without realising that Iraq is a colonial relic with no national sense. People first see themselves as Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis before they considered themselves as Iraqis. There is little to hold Iraq togehter. I find that you seriously lack knowledge on post 1945 decolonisation and the consequences, problems of artificial entities and nationalities.

Jafari’s victory is a victory for a Shia revival in Iraq and a blow to Iraq as a united entity. People voted according to sectarian allegiance, not Iraqi self-conscious. Don’t you realise that we are heading towards another Post-Tito Yugoslavia here?

The insurgency will burn as long as the US troops are there. A Shia govt does not give a damn, they are more interested in having an autonomous Shia region with secure oil revenue. If Iraq breaks up into three pieces, so be it. Didn’t the Serbo-Croat war and the war in Bosinia taught you all these lessons?

December 22, 2005 @ 9:26 am | Comment

Actually the US military and the Kurds, Shia, and Sunni would probably prefer to have three states instead of one but the international paradigm of keeping borders no matter how flawed is part of the problem of the current Iraq.

How many countries in the world would support a divided Iraq. Very few because that would create incentive for seperatists in other countries to push for their own states. The country most worried about this is Turkey and Iran with their large and restless Kurdish minorities. Russia would be another country that would not approve of dividing Iraq because they have restless minorities themselves in their country. It is ironic that the international pursuit of stability by keeping flawed borders is what is creating so much instability in the world.

So that leaves the US military to try and make these three groups work together in Iraq. Will it fail? Possibly but it is to soon to declare it a failure yet. Federalism is definitely the way to go.

SP is right about the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds having alliegances to their own people before Iraq. It is naive to think these allegiances will break down over night. Look at America not to long ago. White people would have never voted for a black person. Now you have white people wanting a black woman Condoleeza Rice to run for president so a white woman Hillary Clinton doesn’t get elected. How times have changed.

Things in Iraq can change too but it will not come over night like everyone expects. If it doesn’t happen overnight everyone thinks the sky is falling.

Let’s have some patience see what the Shiites do and how the government is formed. If a bunch of Mullahs take charge screaming the US is the Great Satan than we know it is time to pull out. On the other hand if the government is taking legitimate measures to create a social contract that includes all Iraqis, why should the US abandon them?

December 22, 2005 @ 7:03 pm | Comment

GI Korea:

“Actually the US military and the Kurds, Shia, and Sunni would probably prefer to have three states instead of one but the international paradigm of keeping borders no matter how flawed is part of the problem of the current Iraq.”

Its not in the interest of the US to have a divided Iraq. A Shia state would almost immediately align itself towards Teheran because it would be encircled by a Sunni state in the north and the hostility of Sunni Saudi Arabia. An independent Kurdistan would almost warrant Turkish military incursion into Iraq, further complicating the problem and strained ties with a Nato ally. If Kurdistan emerges, Turkey would be destabilised, certainly not the interests of both the US and Israel., the latter having close ties with Ankara.

Contrary to your claim, the Sunnis would oppose a dissolution of Iraq. Their regions have few oil wells compare to the Kurdish north and the oil rich Shia south. With the Kurdish and Shia regions going separate ways, they would be left with no oil wealth, just like how Serbia had used the Yugolsav army to fight Croatia because Serbia is poorer than Slovenia and Croatia. Thats why the Sunnis opposed even federalism in post-Saddam Iraq.

“So that leaves the US military to try and make these three groups work together in Iraq. Will it fail? Possibly but it is to soon to declare it a failure yet. Federalism is definitely the way to go.”

Federalism is a dead end in itself. Unless there are special amendments in the Constitution of Iraq to protect the Sunnis, they would fuel more violence and support for the Sunni-led insurgency because the Sunnis would feel marginalised by federalism as mentioned by the oil wealth issue. The Sunnis had opposed Kurdish and Shia demands for autonomous regions in the north and the south.
“SP is right about the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds having alliegances to their own people before Iraq. It is naive to think these allegiances will break down over night. Look at America not to long ago. White people would have never voted for a black person. Now you have white people wanting a black woman Condoleeza Rice to run for president so a white woman Hillary Clinton doesn’t get elected. How times have changed.

Things in Iraq can change too but it will not come over night like everyone expects. If it doesn’t happen overnight everyone thinks the sky is falling. ”

How long did that political maturity emerge in the US? From 1776 to roughly the 1970s… Almost 300 years to reach that kind of political maturity. Even progressive Islamic countries like Malaysia, the ruling coalition had to do power brokering among the races till today, and the country has gained independence since 1957. So are we going to have the US forces in Iraq for 300 years or even just 50 years in order for political maturity to emerge in Iraq? GI, as a soldier, you should know how to answer this better than us. As long as Iraq cannot stand on its own, US forces would have to stay, but how long will that take? The US does not have the luxury to station over 100000 combat troops outside for either 300 or just 50 years.

December 23, 2005 @ 1:20 am | Comment

I would be surprised if more than 50,000 troops are in Iraq in 5 years. We still have 32,000 US troops in Korea 55 years after that war. I seriously doubt we will have that many troops in Iraq in 55 years.

With that said when we reduce troops and Iraqi troops take over expect the claims of human rights abuses to rise because the Iraqi police and army do things different than what the US military does.

I think Sunnis would prefer their own state compared to if a Shia theocracy that is suggested will take over Iraq.

That is why I think federalism can work because look at the success of the Kurdish state in the North. I didn’t even have to wear body armor up there. The shiites have created a some what similar security situation in the south though not perfect. If these areas can keep the terrorists out than that would leave the Sunnis to car bomb themselves and shiites that live in Baghdad which is pretty much what they are doing right now.

Slowly but surely they are realizing that terrorism will not get them the oil wealth and place in society they want and they will have to come around and create a national reconciliation in order to share in the oil wealth and political power. This is not going to happen over night. It is definitely not going to happen if we pull all the troops out now.

We need patience and I don’t mean 300 years of patience. The next year will give us a good indication of the direction of things in Iraq. By the next Presidential election we will be able to make an accurate analysis of if the invasion was worth it. If not than people can be held responsible in the American voting booth.

December 23, 2005 @ 9:34 am | Comment

GI, I agree that it’s too soon to tell how things are going to work out in Iraq. Here’s where I have a problem: By the next Presidential election we will be able to make an accurate analysis of if the invasion was worth it.

Even if things in Iraq evolve towards the better end of the best case scenarios, this does not and cannot prove that the invasion was “worth it.” We have no way of knowing how Iraq would have evolved without the invasion. As for the invasion itself, you will never convince me that it did not violate international law and diminish the United State’s standing in the eyes of the rest of the world.

Put Abu Ghraib and the whole torture issue on top of that, and we have seriously eroded any claims we have towards any kind of “moral authority” that would enable us to positively influence other countries towards a more democratic direction.

December 23, 2005 @ 2:03 pm | Comment

GI Korea,

“I would be surprised if more than 50,000 troops are in Iraq in 5 years. We still have 32,000 US troops in Korea 55 years after that war. I seriously doubt we will have that many troops in Iraq in 55 years.”

It is mistaken perception to think Iraq and Korea are Siamese twins. The US can maintain 32000 troops in Korea because of the threat from Pyongyang and it is still present 55 years. South Korea today will not collapse if the uS pull out all its troops, Iraq on the other hand, will collapse almost immediately. Yet the ironic fact, as in Vietnam, was that the presence of foreign troops is a factor in the support for the insurgents.

“With that said when we reduce troops and Iraqi troops take over expect the claims of human rights abuses to rise because the Iraqi police and army do things different than what the US military does.”

Then good luck to the Iraqi army and police if we failed to train them into a professional force. Look back at 1963, how South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem had done himself in by persecuting the Buddhists using the ARVN and the ARVN razed Buddhist pagodas, or even Thieu’s forces, which knew nothing except for desertion of looting, despite the fact the ARVN and its air force was the fourth largest at a time with tons of US aid.

I don’t see the US military setting a good example for a new Iraqi army with Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, with none of the Pentagon officials apologising and taking responsibility for that. Instead, they continue to justify ill-treatment and torture.

“I think Sunnis would prefer their own state compared to if a Shia theocracy that is suggested will take over Iraq.

That is why I think federalism can work because look at the success of the Kurdish state in the North. I didn’t even have to wear body armor up there. The shiites have created a some what similar security situation in the south though not perfect. If these areas can keep the terrorists out than that would leave the Sunnis to car bomb themselves and shiites that live in Baghdad which is pretty much what they are doing right now.

Slowly but surely they are realizing that terrorism will not get them the oil wealth and place in society they want and they will have to come around and create a national reconciliation in order to share in the oil wealth and political power. This is not going to happen over night. It is definitely not going to happen if we pull all the troops out now. ”

Thats really something lacking in depth and understanding of the whole situation. We are talking about Sunni politicians who participated in the peaceful democratic political process, not the terrorists out in the streets. Yet, all these Sunni leaders bitterly opposed federalism and autonomous regions for the Kurds and the Shias. There is no way for the Sunnis to feel that at least they are protected and empowered in a new Iraq and the whole political process is in a deadlock. As long as the Sunnis felt marginalised and victimised as a minority in the political framework, the fuel for violence will continue to burn. The peace you have mentioned in the north and the south is irrelevant as long as the Sunni problem is not resolved and the Sunnis continue to feel estranged in the political framework and terrorist act will continue. Didn’t the Tamil Tigers or Chechnya teach you all these history lessons about minority problems?

The Chechens and the LTTE knew that violence had yield them little, but so far, no political solution is attractive enough to make them lay down their arms. As long as the politics is not solved, armed violence will continue.

The Shias are not American-loving people either, should the US troops continue to stay, they will also incur the increasing enmity of the Shias. Any Shia leader will feel the heat from the ground and is then obliged to tell the US to get out. Already there were a group of leaders discussing the request to tell the US to leave.

“We need patience and I don’t mean 300 years of patience. The next year will give us a good indication of the direction of things in Iraq. By the next Presidential election we will be able to make an accurate analysis of if the invasion was worth it. If not than people can be held responsible in the American voting booth.”

The invasion in itself is a serious political mistake and we do not need to wait for the next elections to conclude that. An aggressive war built on lies and deceit and totally pushed the opposition from the UN aside, grossly violating international law and human rights, tainting the US image far and beyond. Where are the WMDs? How come no one is mentioning about them? And the biggest war criminal, Mr Bush, will not be facing the electorate anymore, leaving his succesors, be it a Dem or a Rep, to pick up the pieces.

December 23, 2005 @ 11:34 pm | Comment

Great comments, SP, thanks. Unfortunately, I think GI Joe is in love with this war and the only thing that might get him to realize just how catastrophic it is in every way will be Iraq’s collapse, which now looms imminent. That’s not a liberal’s viwepoint – check the neo-con Iraqi blogs quoted in this post above!

December 24, 2005 @ 12:20 am | Comment

The debate over if we should of gone to war or not is legitimate but now that we are in it we need to win it not cut and run. The easiest way for Iraq’s collapse to happen is the pull all the US soldiers out like some are suggesting.

A phased withdrawal coinciding with events on the ground as our military leaders suggest is the way to go.

As far the Iraqi security forces no matter how much American training they are given they will provide Iraqi solutions to problems as long as they are in an insurgency situation and the media will jump on it as being the US military’s fault which has been the case with the secret Iraqi prisons. We have police brutality in America yet we are expected to turn the Iraqi police in a culture built around violence into perfect policemen overnight? Sorry it is not going to happen and everyone knows it but the US military will get blamed for it anyway.

As far as Abu Graib the American military is getting blamed for what a few knuckleheads did. We got briefing after briefing and training about handling POW’s before the war even started. Those idiots claims of not being properly trained rings hollow. They knew what they were doing and were held accountable for it. The media and the anti-war crowd know that Abu Graib was not part of a systematic process of torture by US GI’s across Iraq but the story exploded and was replayed over and over again to slime Bush. I spent a year in Iraq not once did I see anyone get tortured by US GIs yet I’m part of a systematic effort to torture Iraqis while no one is concerned by beheadings by terrorists. According to Cindy Sheehan they are freedom fighters.

I’m not in love with the war which anyone who has been to war can tell you it is not a pleasant experience, but I think we have no choice but to win it. Winning it means a stable Iraqi government that respects the will of the people and respects minority and human rights. Are we there yet, no but I think we are reaching a tipping point to get to that goal.

Opponents of Bush to me seem like they just look at things to criticize because they hate him so bad while completely ignoring things that are going well. For example a successful Iraqi election with high Sunni turnout gets criticized when the same people criticizing it criticized the last election because Sunnis did not turn out. Plus the success of the election has been overshadowed by a timed NY Times article about domestic wiretapping.

All the hardwork the GI’s and Iraqi security forces did to have the most successful election in the history of the Arab world is overshadowed by a timed article planted by people against the war about wiretapping of suspected terrorists phone calls?

December 24, 2005 @ 8:41 am | Comment

GI Joe: The media and the anti-war crowd know
that Abu Graib was not part of a systematic process of torture by US GI’s
across Iraq but the story exploded and was replayed over and over again
to slime Bush. I spent a year in Iraq not once did I see anyone get
tortured by US GIs yet I’m part of a systematic effort to torture Iraqis
while no one is concerned by beheadings by terrorists. According to
Cindy Sheehan they are freedom fighters. “

What an infuriating and stupid comment. I lived in China for a year and never once saw anyone being tortured by the government. So why all this liberal whining about torture? GI Joe, how stupid can you get??

Abu Ghraib soldiers followed directives issued first to MI in Afghanistan in extracting information/confessions from “terrorists” (most of whom were innocent bystanders). As to no one caring about beheaded hostages, go do some research and see how many news articles were generated about Nick Berg and the others. Go look. Then come back and make your argument. And this goes back to that infuriating tactic of claiming the bad guys do monstrous things so we can too. We are supposed to be above that, winning hearts and minds, no? It’s this kind of attitude that has made us loathed and detested. Most GIs are good, decent people. Most don;t torture. But all you need are a handful to derail pour entire mission, and when their orders come from the top (which they definitely do; check into John Yoo and and Gonzales’ approval of torture memos) it demolished our claims of good intentions. So pathetic; we could have really succeeded, but we decided we were omnipotent and could bypass all laws and conventions. Now we’re fucked, and Iraq is the next Iran. I state that as a matter of fact after reading a slew of articles about it this weekend.

December 25, 2005 @ 9:19 pm | Comment

GI Korea,
“The debate over if we should of gone to war or not is legitimate but now that we are in it we need to win it not cut and run. The easiest way for Iraq’s collapse to happen is the pull all the US soldiers out like some are suggesting.”

The legitimacy of the war is eventually tied to the success of the war. If the war is illegitimate, chances are that success would be out of sight. The thing is Bush has deceived the whole world.

Ultimately, the pull out will have to come and sooner if possible. We have to accept that the war on the ground is somewhat unwinnable. If the US stays, the only thing we achieve will be more US casualties and political objectives is unlikely to be reached. It just wasting more lives and money on something doomed to fail, so why continue to do that if the US does not seem to achieve anything? The Iraqis are already in the process of showing the US the door.

“A phased withdrawal coinciding with events on the ground as our military leaders suggest is the way to go.”

It will be a Vietnam-style withdrawal that the US had little choice. The sentiments on the ground calls for withdrawal and all the speeches made by the military leaders are just face-saving tactics for the US.

“As far the Iraqi security forces no matter how much American training they are given they will provide Iraqi solutions to problems as long as they are in an insurgency situation and the media will jump on it as being the US military’s fault which has been the case with the secret Iraqi prisons. We have police brutality in America yet we are expected to turn the Iraqi police in a culture built around violence into perfect policemen overnight? Sorry it is not going to happen and everyone knows it but the US military will get blamed for it anyway.

As far as Abu Graib the American military is getting blamed for what a few knuckleheads did. We got briefing after briefing and training about handling POW’s before the war even started. Those idiots claims of not being properly trained rings hollow. They knew what they were doing and were held accountable for it. The media and the anti-war crowd know that Abu Graib was not part of a systematic process of torture by US GI’s across Iraq but the story exploded and was replayed over and over again to slime Bush. I spent a year in Iraq not once did I see anyone get tortured by US GIs yet I’m part of a systematic effort to torture Iraqis while no one is concerned by beheadings by terrorists. According to Cindy Sheehan they are freedom fighters. ”

More and more evidence is coming out to show that the Pentagon approves of torture with Rumsfeld coming out to defend these un-American measures. See the secret cells run by the CIA in Europe? How about Rumsfeld’s rejection to treat Guantanamo detainees without any regard to the Geneva Convention? They are not given trials or anything, the US seems to exercise extra-territorial judicial powers and they are suspects only.

We are not surprised at terrorist beheadings but appalled by US Army’s torture methods, why? Because the terrorists are terrorists, we do not expect any civilized act on their part. The US military is supposed to be a civilised professional army from a first world democratic country, we do not expect them to act like terrorists. If we descend to the level of behaviour like the terrorists, that half of the war on terror is already lost.

“I’m not in love with the war which anyone who has been to war can tell you it is not a pleasant experience, but I think we have no choice but to win it. Winning it means a stable Iraqi government that respects the will of the people and respects minority and human rights. Are we there yet, no but I think we are reaching a tipping point to get to that goal.”

As a soldier, we really salute and respect you GI, but policy making is not as simple as you think it is. Recall the Vietnam years, how many time had the US leaders said about winning the war in Vietnam with every milestones and they are in the midst of creating a stable, sustainable South Vietnam? In the end, we wasted over 50000 US lives and suffered historic inflation and the “domino” still toppled over in 1975. What is presented to us is that there is no ned in sight to this Iraqi quagmire and no way the US is going to achieve its objectives anytime soon, which i mean five years from now. As we think we are recahing there every second, each live is being lost on the ground, as a soldier, you should know what i am talking about.

“Opponents of Bush to me seem like they just look at things to criticize because they hate him so bad while completely ignoring things that are going well. For example a successful Iraqi election with high Sunni turnout gets criticized when the same people criticizing it criticized the last election because Sunnis did not turn out. Plus the success of the election has been overshadowed by a timed NY Times article about domestic wiretapping.”

The truth is the elections are nothing to cheer about. A high Sunni or low Sunni turnout means the same things: the people voted/boycotted along sectarian lines and thats an ominous sign. Both mean that the Sunnis are marginalised in the political process. The Kurds and Shias are not ready to make any concrete concessions to the Sunnis. Thats the real problem. The elections are quite insignificant if this is not resolved. I also do not see the election as a milestone when you have to shut down the whole Baghdad like a ghost town to carry out the process.

“All the hardwork the GI’s and Iraqi security forces did to have the most successful election in the history of the Arab world is overshadowed by a timed article planted by people against the war about wiretapping of suspected terrorists phone calls?”

Bush is now trying to change the democratic legacy of this country to fight his war as a “wartime president”, overturning the principles which the Founding Fathers had founded modern America upon. Using the NSA to spy on its own citizens like how the Stasi did behind the Berlin Wall. If American citizens have to change their lives and beliefs in democracy and civil rights in Bush’s war on terror, then the terrorists had won because they had successfully changed the face and status of the US as the arsenal of democracy.

December 25, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

test

December 25, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

And I’d add, don’t forget about Guantanamo, where many of these “techniques” were developed (check out the excellent New Yorker series by Jane Mayer, available at their website). The order came down at Abu Ghraib from a former Guantanamo commander to “Gitmo-ize” the interrogations there (it’s 2:45 AM, so I’m not going to look up the names right now. Sorry about that. I do have them, though). And there is also the abuse scandal with the Airborne at Camp Mercury. And Baghram Airforce base in Afghanistan. Etc. This stuff came down from the top. As Richard said, John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales helped establish a legal framework for torture by including many techniques most of us would consider “torture” (especially if we ourselves experienced them) and defining torture as only that which would lead to “organ failure or death.” I’m leaving a few other disclaimers out, but that’s the part that’s stuck with me.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney for all their hard work in this area. If there are “heroes” in the establishment of an American torture regime, these guys are right up there in the pantheon.

Check out the excellent PBS Frontline documentary on the subject. You can read about it (and I believe watch it online) here.

The Bush administration has systematically tried to develop a legal framework for abuse, if not outright torture. Combine that with their weakening of habeus corpus, their expansion of the CIA’s rendition program, the use of old Soviet gulag prisons in Eastern Europe…

Well, passing it off as the work of a few bad apples, a few “knucklehead” reservists and National Guard soldiers – that just doesn’t pass the reality test.

December 27, 2005 @ 3:53 am | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.