Wednesday, December 20, 2006

In For The Long Haul

Preznut Bush finally admitted what every military person already seems to know - the current size of the United States armed forces is not large enough to handle simultaneous permanent conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the overall WoT. He has asked the new Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, to permanently increase the military, perhaps by as much as 70,000.

Preznit Bush has also admitted something every sane person watching their TVs or reading the newspapers already knows - we're not winning the war in Iraq. While he can't bring himself around to say that we're losing (and we are losing - the longer the United States stays in a sectarian/insurgent conflict in a foreign country, the more likely the outcome will be defeat - and the signs are already there that that's exactly what is happening), at least he's acknowledging some form of reality now that the midterm elections are over.

Still, the old Bush administration spin machine remains in full-force on the troop surge front. The Washington Post reported yesterday that the Joint Chiefs are opposed to Bush's Iraq troops surge plan because they don't believe the mission is sufficiently defined enough and are concerned that more troops for a short period of time will just make things worse afterward. Tony Snow, the White House Bullshit Officer, tried to quash that notion at the the gaggle yesterday by saying there was no argument between the WH and the Joint Chiefs on the troops surge plan. Snow also said no decision had yet been made by the preznit on what to do with Iraq.

And yet, watching Hardball last night and listening to retired General Barry McCaffrey (one of the military men who just spoke w/ Bush as part of his "I'm listening so we can find a New Way Forward" tour) , I could see that he believes the administration will be going forward with the troop surge plan at the end of next month and just as fervently believes it will be a mistake. The transcript for the show is not up at yet, but when it goes up I will post it and you will see just what a mistake McCaffrey thinks the administration is making by escalating the war with American forces. His point was this - by placing 20,000 extra troops into Baghdad to police the Sunni/Shia civil war that has a political and religious origin, you increase American casualties without actually stopping the civil war and even if you can stop some insurgent activity for a little while, it will return after U.S. forces leave.

The previous Baghdad build-up is a prime example of why a 20,000-30,000 temporary troop surge won't work. Remember back in August when the U.S. pulled forces out of Anbar province to handle security in Baghdad along with additional Iraqi forces. Security got better in Baghdad for two weeks until the insurgents and the militias shifted their tactics and went right on back to killing each other and innocent Iraqis. Many people feel this is exactly what will happen with Bush's proposed troop surge.

But we'll know soon enough. With his call to increase the overall size of the military yesterday, I don't think there's any doubt that Bush intends to increase troops in Iraq in January. He's doubling down and going in for the long haul. Unfortunately, many military people say that "the long haul" plan he's pursuing isn't actually going to change any conditions in Iraq. And so all we're going to get is more American casualties and the continued onslaught of civil war in Iraq.

If you were to sit down at a roulette table, and bet on black 17 times in a row, and lose every one of those bets, it would certainly seem wise to consider the possibility that the wheel just might be rigged. Similarly, if the President's policies result in horrific consequences EVERY TIME, it's not irrational to think the policies were rigged to give those exact results. While I give full credence to the adage, "Don't ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity", I have to take into account the laws of probability -- "Even a blind pig finds an acorn every once in a while."

For example, why did the administration disband the Iraqi army and the Sunni bureaucracy? The only explanation I can imagine is that they wanted to insure there was no central institution around which the Iraqi people could re-form and eliminate the need for US control. Similarly, why was looting of the National Museum permitted, if not to crush the idea of a national heritage of dignity and culture. Our armies are there today because of sectarian violence -- yet any effort we may have made to nip that in the bud or to control it later has been spectacularly unsuccessful -- could that possibly be by design? The huge Green Zone enclave, with its 24-hour power and potable water, stands as a daily reminder to the Iraqis outside with neither, that we are the masters, they our bitches. Far from encouraging peace, that seems to me to be designed to inflame any murderous passion the Iraqis might have. The torture scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo seem designed for the same purpose.

To control Iraqi oil, we had to install a puppet government (rather than to allow a strongman coup to remove Saddham). To install a cooperative government, we had to invade; to invade, there had to be an imminent danger -- to wit, WMD. We couldn't allow the UN the time to establish there weren't any WMD -- thus the timing of the invasion.

Any one, two, or even half a dozen of our "mistakes" can be attributed to stupidity, but such a litany of "failures" can only be the result of design.

It can only be that our original purpose was to crush Iraq beyond any hope of self-sustainability, and that we planned from the beginning to occupy the country for a decade or more. And that, to control the flow of Iraqi oil.

Initially, I had planned to describe the mission in Iraq as a complete and utter failure to follow elementary principles of project management, which lectures Bush might have missed as a freshman in an alcoholic haze, but I was shocked to realize it was easier to explain as intentional.

I tend to agree that too many mistakes have been made to seem plausible.

Try going to a right wing blog and asking if Cheney and Rumsfeld are evil or just completely incompetent.

Do that, that is, if you like silence.
Great, thoughtful post, Kicksiron.
kicks iron, I found myself nodding more and more as I read your comment.

I have always wondered myself if the Bush WoT policies haven't been designed to set up whatever biblical pre-requisties are supposedly needed to bring the Second Coming of Mr. Jesus or the Rapture or the Four Horsemen or whatever it is the Christ nuts believe is coming to take them up to heaven and subject all the rest of us to hell.
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