Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hey, Do You Feel A Draft In Here?

There's an "atmosphere of reconciliation" in Iraq. So says Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A spate of car bombings and shootings across Iraq killed at least 55 people on Sunday, but Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said violence was on the decrease and that the country would never slide into a civil war.


Car bombs exploded in Baghdad, the town of Khallis north of the capital, the northern city of Kirkuk and Basra in the Shi'ite south, a day after Maliki met tribal leaders to urge them to help stamp out sectarian violence and defeat insurgents.

"Violence has decreased and our security ability is increasing. We are not in civil war and will never be in civil war," Maliki told CNN in a recorded interview on Sunday. "What you see is an atmosphere of reconciliation."

In Khallis, a religiously mixed town, gunmen also stormed a market on Sunday night, attacking a cafe and killing 14 people, police said.

In one of the worst attacks of the day, a bomb blew apart a minibus in a busy commercial road in central Baghdad, killing nine people and sending black smoke billowing into the air.

The minibus blast followed a car bomb attack on Iraq's best-selling newspaper, the government-owned al-Sabah, that killed two employees and badly damaged the building.


In Basra, where Maliki has imposed a state of emergency to deal with increasing violence fueled by tensions between rival Shi'ite Muslim factions, seven people were killed by a motorcycle bomb in a market, officials said.


Police said 20 bodies had been found in parts of Baghdad on Saturday. Some bore signs of torture and most had been killed by gunshots to the head, a typical feature of the sectarian bloodshed between Iraq's Shi'ite majority and Sunni Arabs.

This is an atmosphere of reconciliation? Geez, I'd hate to see an atmosphere of sectarian violence.

Maliki also announced he'll be purging "disloyal or poorly performing ministers" just 100 days after his coalition cabinet was formed.

Things don't seem to be going so well over there. In fact, they seem to be worse than ever.

Yet Preznit Bush said this week at a press conference that "Leaving before the job is done would be a disaster."

Fair enough. But what is that job? I think he said some weeks ago that the mission was to create "a stable and free Iraq" and that's fine as far as it goes. But with Iraq becoming less stable month-by-month, it must be stated openly that the preznit is failing to get the job done. Still, the preznit refuses to change course and figure out a way to get the job done. If he believes, as he stated this week, that if "we leave before the mission is done, the terrorists will follow us here," then surely he can find the political will to "get the job done in Iraq."

The preznit is very big on accountability for others. As a teacher who works under the guidelines of the No Child Left Behind law, I can tell you that he's big on accountability for public school teachers. But it seems when it comes to getting the job done in Iraq, he's not so big on accountabilty. After all, many of the architects of this disastrous policy (starting w/ Rice and Rummy) are still working in his administration. And as the United States gets further away from completing the mission in Iraq, he sits on his hands, begs for patience from the American people ("I know the war is straining the pysche of our country" he said this week), and refuses to change policy.

You know what, Mr. President? If completing the mission in Iraq is so important and vital to the national interest, then why don't you do as John McCain, Bill Kristol and other war supporters have asked for and send in more troops to handle security. You had to pull troops from Anwar Province in order to implement a new security plan in Baghdad. Tom Lasseter in the McClatchy newspapers reports that "many U.S. officials in Baghdad and in Washington privately concede the point...that there aren't enough troops to do the job." It is quite obvious that a more visible American troop presence would help tamp down sectarian violence and keep a lid on the militas. Any extended period of relative calm would certainly be helpful in giving the Maliki government time to unify and grow into an effective political entity. So why not do the manly thing and send another 100,000 or 200,000 troops into Iraq in order to complete the mission and keep the terrorists from following us over here?

Now of course you don't have another 100,000 or 200,000 troops to send in, so you'll have to either bribe allies into ponying up some troops (which probably isn't going to happen) or institute a domestic draft. This isn't the easiest thing to do in an election year, so I can understand why you might want to wait until after the midterm elections before announcing the draft, but the longer you wait, the more unstable Iraq grows and the weaker the Maliki government gets. Waiting to do the right thing and send in more toops is frankly cowardly, kinda like "Standing and Bleeding" instead of "Cutting and Running." So I think you ought to do the right thing now and announce tomorrow that you're instituting a draft and plan to send 200,000 more American troops to Iraq in the next 9-12 months as the additional forces become available. I know this may sound like a hard task to accomplish, but after all, your hero, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, managed to get millions into the armed forces by early 1942, so I'm sure you can get these mass inductions done soon. And as you yourself have said, "War is not a time of joy...these are challenging times and these are difficult times."

Yes, sir, they are. And that's why a big brave John Waynesque preznit like yourself is just the man to break the news to the American people that you'll be bypassing the Congress and creating an executive order that reinstates the military draft for all Americans under the age of, say, 34 (that ought to provide enough troops for both the Iraq and Iran wars...and the Afghan war too, come to think of it.) Sure, the executive order reinstating the draft is probably extra-constitutional, but so is the NSA domestic spying program, the rendition program, Gitmo and the military tribunals. Heck, during war we just have to be willing to sacrifice some civil rights. And I think the American people understand that.

So I'll look forward to hearing from you tomorrow about that executive order reinstating the domestic draft for all Americans under the age of 34. As Wilford Brimley, another cowboy type, is so wont to say, "It's the right thing to do." And I'm sure the American people, the Republican Congress and Karl Rove/Ken Mehlman will all agree with you.

And if not, so what? You're the decider. Decide what you want. And if the mission in Iraq is as important and vital to the national interest as you say, then surely providing hundreds of thousands more American forces for the mission is the way to go.

Hey, weren't Jenna and Barbara looking for something to do with their lives? Maybe a military career and service in Iraq is just what they're looking for?

No draft ahead. The major problems in Iraq are occurring in Baghdad and the Anbar province. Better use of existing forces is sufficient to handle the task.
The LA Times today has an article entitled "Deaths Drop In Iraqi Capital" that reports the Baghdad morgue this month has received a quarter of the bodies it received last month (1800)

US Army Major General James D. Thurman, commander of military forces in Baghdad, attibuted the declining fatality rate and violence to "a sweep involving 8,000 U.S. soldiers and 3,000 Iraqi troops aimed at stopping sectarian violence...The troops, many redeployed from hot spots around Iraq, have patrolled the capital, searched houses and made arrests since Aug. 7."

The LA Times article says that US forces have made similar sweeps in the past and such sweeps have also reduced the levels of violence and bloodshed. Unfortunately, the US has never had enough force to keep the sweeps up for long and once the sweeps stop, the violence and bloodshed returns to pre-sweep levels. U.S. military leaders say they hope Iraqi police units, paired with American training teams, will be able to maintain security once the troops leave. But since they have never been able to maintain security after past sweeps have ended, the implication is that they will not be able to do so this time.

Would another 100,000 or 200,000 troops sent over to Iraq not have helped quash the burgeoning insurgency and sectarian violence back in 2003 and 2004? Would not another 100,000 or 200,000 troops sent over to Iraq now, even at this late date, reduce the levels of violence and bloodshed all around the country, as the US would have enough troops to handle BOTH Baghdad and the other hotspots around?

Of course more troops were and still are needed. But the preznit doesn't have the political courage to acknowledge this. So you are right, n_s, we will get no draft. I guess the preznit doesn't want to win in Iraq as much as he says he wants to win.

LA TIMES link:,0,5085663.story?coll=la-home-headlines
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