Enough with the Iraq Farce
September 11, 2007
In the most recent poll 70 percent of Iraqis say that the troop surge has made security worse. What really gets me is the statement yesterday from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki that Iraqi forces are not ready to take over security.
Let's face it, America. They are not ready because they have no intention of taking over the security of any country called "Iraq."
Not yet ready to take over security? Think a bit. They have not been ready for YEARS. We need to wake up to the simple fact that "Iraqi security forces" have been precisely where they are now FOR YEARS.
For most "Iraqis" who are armed--i.e. engaged in the political process--"Iraq" as a country is not the issue. It might as well not exist. "Iraq" is rather a patchwork of sectarian militias doing their best to assert power over neighborhoods and resources. Iraq is, in other words, a civil war stuck in slow motion. It's stuck in slow motion only because we are stupid enough to stay there. Most politically engaged "Iraqis" are waiting for us to leave so they can speed things up.
Our traditional interests in Iraq have been two: first, containing Iran; second, oil. At this point our main concern should probably be withdrawing from Iraq in a manner that still might keep Iran from making much of the country an extension of its own power. How to do this? That should be the question.
Instead it is painfully obvious that the Bush Administration is doing its best to hold to the status quo until it can leave the entire mess to the next administration. Rather than take responsibility and begin the process of cleaning up the most ill-advised and poorly managed war in American history, they are simply holding to their absurd assertions of progress. The only progress in Iraq is the progressive increase in the number of Americans killed and the progressive increase in output from our treasury. It is a shame in every respect.
General Petraeus' report is blinkered because he must give it in the context of something called "a democratic Iraq" or, at the very least, a "unified Iraq." The Iraqis themselves are way ahead of us here: they know that neither of these beasts really exists. A democratic, unified Iraq is a Mesopotamian Unicorn. It's time our politicians acknowledged as much and started planning from there.
Perhaps the best thing for American troops to do at this point would be to reposition themselves along Iraq's borders and maintain some control of what comes in and out. This would allow "Iraqis" to handle their own ethnic nightmare while ensuring that the civil war did not overly involve Iran and its Sunni rivals in the region. After the dust in the center had settled, we could then figure out how to establish relations with the new political orders.
When will America wake up and start to insist on a bit of lucidity in our pubic debate? The status quo cannot be held forever.
P.S. -- Check the following fudge recipe.
We're working on an emergency project for Monday to respond to the White House report on Iraq. You're one of our most steadfast supporters and we could use your help right now.
There are new revelations that the administration is cooking the books on Iraq--they're cherry-picking facts, re-writing reports and using misleading data to claim progress.(1) We need to make sure Congress and the American public sees this evidence. If the administration can create a consensus that the escalation is working, they can justify continuing the war--and we could end up stuck in Iraq for another 10 years.
The White House keeps claiming progress, but the truth is that the escalation made things worse, not better. The fact is that independent reports show that the escalation has been a total failure. Violence in Iraq has gone up. This has been the bloodiest summer in Iraq for US troops.(2) Iraqi casualties are running at double the pace of last year(3) and there is evidence of ethnic cleansing in Iraq.(4)
But the White House won't tell us that. They actually came up with their own bizarre formula for measuring violence in the country. For example, deaths by car bombs don't count.(5) The Washington Post reported that assassinations only count if you're shot in the back of the head--not the front.(6)
By gaming the numbers this way, they're able to claim that violence has dropped because of the escalation. It's a bald-faced lie but if they get away with it we'll end up staying in Iraq for another decade.
We're ready to fight back with the facts--can you help?
Nita, Justin, Daniel, Natalie and the MoveOn.org Political Action Team
Saturday, September 8th, 2007
1. "Experts Doubt Drop in Violence in Iraq," Washington Post. September 6, 2007 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2938&id=11203-3483112-avlrLw&t=4
2. Iraq Coalition Casualties, icasualties http://icasualties.org/oif/ByYearGraph.aspx
3. "Violence Appears to Be Shifting from Baghdad." The Associated Press, August, 25, 2007 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20440397/
4. "Baghdad's New Owners," Newsweek, September 9, 2007 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20546328/site/newsweek
5. "Time to Take a Stand," New York Times, September 7, 2007 (subscription required) http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2941&id=11203-3483112-avlrLw&t=5
6. "Experts Doubt Drop in Violence in Iraq," Washington Post. September 6, 2007 http://www.moveon.org/r?r=2938&id=11203-3483112-avlrLw&t=6
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