Monday, May 28, 2007

Surge Continues To Fail As Iraqi Police Work With Militants and Jihadis Bleed Out Of Iraq Into Surrounding Countries

Initially after Preznut Bush sent an additional 30,000-40,000 troops to Iraq in late winter, sectarian killings in Baghdad dropped. Supporters of the preznut's Iraq war policy like Holy Joe Lieberman and St. John McCain pointed to the drop in sectarian killings as proof positive that the surge policy was working. Critics of the preznut's war policy and honest analysts of the war noted that much of the drop in sectarian killings in Bahgdad was due to the Mahdi Army standing down during the early part of the surge and wondered if sectarian killings wouldn't return as soon as the Shiite militias got back into the streets in force.

Well, guess who was right?

Sectarian violence soared in Baghdad on Sunday, despite the presence of virtually all of the more than 28,000 U.S. troops called up for the U.S. surge meant to calm the capital. At least 44 unidentified bodies turned up, the highest number since the initiative began.

Iraqi politicians worry that the intensified combat could lead to a full-scale confrontation between Coalition Forces and the Mahdi Army.

"It's worrying for us," said Haider al-Abadi, a Shiite legislator from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Dawa party. "We don't want to open an all out war between the Multi-National Forces and the Sadrists. That is opening a new front."

A new front indeed:

On Saturday four militants were killed and one was detained as U.S. forces fought their way out of a nine-car ambush in Sadr City, a military statement said. The Americans called in air support to hit the vehicles, which Sadrists and Iraqi police later said were merely waiting for gas at a nearby station.

In Basra, British forces killed four militia members on Saturday following a Mahdi Army attack on the British and Iraqi headquarters there, according to the British military. On Sunday they killed three more gunmen and detained four.

Notice how the Iraqi police backed up the Sadrists in the battle in Sadr City? The NY Times says this happening more frequently as Iraqi police and soldiers work with the U.S. forces during the day and with the insurgency or the militias against the U.S. forces at night:

BAGHDAD — Staff Sgt. David Safstrom does not regret his previous tours in Iraq, not even a difficult second stint when two comrades were killed while trying to capture insurgents.

“In Mosul, in 2003, it felt like we were making the city a better place,” he said. “There was no sectarian violence, Saddam was gone, we were tracking down the bad guys. It felt awesome.”

But now on his third deployment in Iraq, he is no longer a believer in the mission. The pivotal moment came, he says, this February when soldiers killed a man setting a roadside bomb. When they searched the bomber’s body, they found identification showing him to be a sergeant in the Iraqi Army.

“I thought: ‘What are we doing here? Why are we still here?’ ” said Sergeant Safstrom, a member of Delta Company of the First Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry, 82nd Airborne Division. “We’re helping guys that are trying to kill us. We help them in the day. They turn around at night and try to kill us.”

His views are echoed by most of his fellow soldiers in Delta Company, renowned for its aggressiveness.


With few reliable surveys of soldiers’ attitudes, it is impossible to simply extrapolate from the small number of soldiers in the company. But in interviews with more than a dozen soldiers in this 83-man unit over a one-week period, most said they were disillusioned by repeated deployments, by what they saw as the abysmal performance of Iraqi security forces and by a conflict that they considered a civil war, one they had no ability to stop.

They had seen shadowy militia commanders installed as Iraqi Army officers, they said, had come under increasing attack from roadside bombs — planted within sight of Iraqi Army checkpoints — and had fought against Iraqi soldiers whom they thought were their allies.

“In 2003, 2004, 100 percent of the soldiers wanted to be here, to fight this war,” said Sgt. First Class David Moore, a self-described “conservative Texas Republican” and platoon sergeant who strongly advocates an American withdrawal. “Now, 95 percent of my platoon agrees with me.”

The NY Times also reports that terrorists and jihadis are now bleeding out of Iraq into countries surrounding it to carry on their campaigns of terror abroad.

So here's where the state of the war stands:

1. The surge is not working in any measurable capacity. Violence is as bad in Iraq now as it was before the surge and U.S. casualties are significantly higher as a result of the change in policy. Even when there is a decrease in violence somewhere in Iraq, like w/ sectarian killings in Baghdad, the decrease is always temporary because the U.S. does not have sufficient enough force to really tamp down the violence everywhere in the country. Supporters of the preznut point to Anbar Province as the current success story as Sunni tribalists have supposedly turned against Al Qaeda and are fighting on our side against the jihadis. But experience tells us this "success" will turn again to the same old same old before long.

2. Iraqi police and troops, trained and armed by the United States, are increasingly working to kill Americans.

3. Jihadis and terrorists are leaving Iraq (which is sufficiently chaotic enough for them, perhaps?) and streaming to Jordan, Egypt and other neighboring countries to wreak havoc. The real worry is that Iraqi militants and terrorists, trained in the urban areas of Iraq in the techniques of terrorism, may be able to export that terror to urban areas in the West:

In an April 17 report written for the United States government, Dennis Pluchinsky, a former senior intelligence analyst at the State Department, said battle-hardened militants from Iraq posed a greater threat to the West than extremists who trained in Afghanistan because Iraq had become a laboratory for urban guerrilla tactics.

“There are some operational parallels between the urban terrorist activity in Iraq and the urban environments in Europe and the United States,” Mr. Pluchinsky wrote. “More relevant terrorist skills are transferable from Iraq to Europe than from Afghanistan to Europe,” he went on, citing the use of safe houses, surveillance, bomb making and mortars.

So here we have the preznut and DeadEye Dick claiming we had to take out Iraq to make it a pillar of stability in the region from which we could export democracy of peace and instead the country is exporting terror and killing. The EXACT thing we did not want to happen has happened as a result of the stupidity, lack of foresight and ineptitude of this administration. As Andrew Sullivan noted in this post, if a Democrat had failed so badly at carrying out this war and helped Al Qaeda and jihadism out the way this administration has, Republicans in Congress and the media would have "Carterized" him or her.

Sullivan sums up the horrific failures of this preznut both in Iraq and the overall WOT this way:

The president is right that al Qaeda remains a terrible threat to Americans. He is right to insist on this. But one core reason he is right is because he has been in the White House for the last six years. Al Qaeda surely never had a more helpful man in such a powerful place. After over six years of this presidency, Bin Laden is still at large. Five and a half years after Bin Laden's religious tools murdered 3,000 innocents, this president still cannot find or capture or kill him. Five and a half years after that dreadful day, al Qaeda's reach in the Middle East is more extensive than ever, centered in Iraq, where it was barely existent before the war. Over four years after invading Iraq, the security situation there is as grave as it has ever been. Tens of thousands of innocents have been added to the three thousand murdered on 9/11 - many of them unspeakably tortured and murdered by death squads or Islamist cells empowered by Bush's jaw-dropping negligence. Over three thousand young Americans have died in order to give al Qaeda this victory and this new platform.

Here is Bush's gift to the victims of 9/11: two new al Qaeda safe havens - in Anbar and in Pakistan. He gave Zarqawi a second career, by refusing to kill him when had a clear shot in 2003, and then allowing him to run rampant across Iraq for several years. Islamists, moreover, are far closer now to getting their hands on WMDs than they were when Bush became president - the very casus belli I foolishly bought to go to war with Saddam. Given the financial boost al Qaeda has gotten from the Iraq invasion, the massive propaganda coup they have won by Bush's authorization of torture, and the triumph of Iran as a consequence of Bush's non-existent "strategy", isn't it simply a fact that Bush is the best thing to happen to al Qaeda since its founding? Is not the record now clear that, whatever their intentions, Bush and Cheney have actually advanced the day when Islamist terrorists will kill and murder more Americans?

If a Democrat had been responsible for endangering America in this fashion, the Republicans would have impeached him by now. If a Democrat had bungled a war as obviously as this president - a war, moreover, that he has described as an existential struggle for our survival - the Republicans would long ago have Carterized him. Look how the Israelis have held Olmert accountable for his feckless war in Lebanon. Compared to Bush, Olmert is Churchill. If Bush's record in this war is "offense," then the only sane response is: so was the charge of the light brigade.

Just to anger up the blood some more, it's now clear, thanks to the latest Congressional report, that this president was warned starkly about the dangers of "a surge of political Islam and increased funding for terrorist groups" as a result of an invasion of Iraq. He was told that Iraq was "largely bereft of the social underpinnings" for democracy. He was explicitly informed that there was "a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so." And yet he still sent a pathetically insufficient occupation force in 2003 - and refused to increase it for three years of growing chaos and mayhem. Even if you excuse the original recklessness, the persistence in it - until our current point of no return - is and was criminal negligence - a callous disregard for your security and mine.

The gravity of the mistake this country made in 2004 by re-electing al Qaeda's best bet is only now sinking in as deep as it should. I fear, however, that we have yet to experience the full and terrifying consequences of that historic mistake.

It is now quite clear that when Bin Laden showed up on tape right before the '04 election, it was for a very specific purpose. The greatest ally Bin Laden and the other jihadis have in the WOT is this administration, specifically this preznut and VP.

They really both ought to be impeached, along w/ Condi, and sent to Elba along w/ Rummy, Tenet, Wolfie, Perle and the rest of the neocons.

Unfortunately, not only are they still in power, they are still getting their way on the war even though their policies and strategies are not working. No matter whether we stay or go, things are going to continue to get worse in Iraq, much worse before they get better. One of the soldiers in the Times article on how half of the Iraqi security forces are insurgents sums up what is going to happen in Iraq this way:

In Sergeant Safstrom’s view, the American presence is futile. “If we stayed here for 5, even 10 more years, the day we leave here these guys will go crazy,” he said. “It would go straight into a civil war. That’s how it feels, like we’re putting a Band-Aid on this country until we leave here.”

That's where Bush, Cheney, Rice, Hadley, Rummy et al. have taken us. We created chaos where none existed, we created a terrorist exporter where none existed and we have to spend nearly 3,500 American lives and half a trillion dollars to do it.

I'd say that Bush, Cheney and all their Republican enablers (along w/ Holy Joe) ought to be "Carterized," but I don't think Carter was even close to being as bad as this preznut (and that's saying something...)

Perhaps Bush, Cheney and their Repub enablers ought to be "Bushed"?

There are parallels here with both Darwinian evolution and the progress of an infection against less-than-perfectly-effective antibiotics. Kill off the less capable, less cunning terrorists, and those that survive pass their genes (in this case, their knowledge and experience) on to later generations of bad guys. It's just like treating TB with common antibiotics -- the germs that survive and reproduce are much tougher to get rid of, and will eventually kill the infected host unless wiped out entirely by a super-drug. The same applies to antelope species -- eventually, the only antelopes surviving are those that are faster than any predator, just as the only terrorists that will be around to train their successors are those more capable than any army they have faced.

Absolute suppression of dissent (a la the Soviet Union under Stalin) works for a while, but eventually irreparably damages the organism it's supposed to protect. In that way, it's like treating cancer with chemotherapy.

Ultimately, the only solution is to accomodate the radicals by allowing them to function as they wish, but only within a bounded area. That way, either they and their ideas die off, or they become mainstream and society as a whole evolves.
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