The war in Iraq: The best way forward is….what?

On the Drudge Report just now, the following item took my attention –about The War in Iraq, which Mr. Drudge covers in a very selective way. He delights in pointing out supposed negatives about the Democrats, as in the following pairing of supposedly contraditory statements by Majority Leader Harry Reid. (In this one Drudge positively CROWS):


‘…the surge certainly hasn’t hurt. It’s helped. I recognize that’ — Sen. Harry Reid, 12/21/07

‘…this war is lost and that the surge is not accomplishing anything’ — Sen. Harry Reid, 4/19/07


If Senator Harry Reid or Drudge had been reading my blog, they would already know the Simple Truth about The Surge.
Here it is again (and you can search for the fuller version in the Archives of my blog.)

1. The Surge was Mr. Bush’s unwilling response to the severe Republican losses of the 2006 Election. It was his desperate way of keeping the war going, (after the unwilling firing of Rumsfeld.)

2. In his Surge Speech of January 10th, 2007, he laid out the two phases of The Surge
–(a.) Additional military forces of 22,000 men for three months in the rough no-go parts of Baghdad, with 5000 going to Anbar province. The idea was for American troops, WITH Iraqi forces, to SECURE Baghdad. And for what purpose?: see phase two below.
–(b.) The Iraqi goverment under Mr. Maliki would immediately Step Up and make the political changes necessary, so that the U.S. could withdraw its forces from Iraq.

In short, we pacify, so that Maliki & Co. step up.

3. Mr. Bush spoke of The Surge as lasting for 3 months, from March to June. Bush Watchers like myself were aware that he would have preferred not to have given any date, but the desperateness of his situation did not permit that.
But you will recall –possibly– that I had warned of WEASELS and WEASEL-WORDS to come. Mr. Bush –I contend– saw the situation as “buying time” so he could come up with something else later on, when our lazy eyes were off the ball.

4. But, “We step down when they step up” has not worked.
We hear intermittent sotto voce bleats from various administration and military types about how nothing or virtually nothing is happening on the political front.

Nothing will happen. At least, nothing will happen for years.
Why should it happen? We’re doing all the heavy lifting. We’re dying, we’re spending, and we’re paying Maliki+’s way just so they can hang out in that Green Zone. (Green from our dollar bills? Or green to match ineptness and lack of experience?)
Maliki will not act; will not resolve the 3-way arguments about oil resources, and power-sharing, and all the other myriad things to resolve.
Maliki+ has no incentive to do so.

On the Bush formula, the U.S. is stuck in that Bush/Republican War, in that Bush/Republican Mess –bleeding life and spending treasure– FOREVER. No end in sight.
Our military pacifies, their Maliki prevaricates. FOREVER.

So –My Question:
Was, or is, the Bush/Republican Surge a success? Has it succeeded or failed in its aims? Has it produced the political success that Mr. Bush wanted?
Has Phase One worked? Well, American soldiers are still dying, but not at the same rate as pre-surge. And though the reduction in deaths is claimed as a success, we are all aware that it could easily be reversed. Remember my Arabic Proverb: “Three people, if they unite, can destroy a town.”

At this point, forgive me reiterating a few basic facts of life:

1. Remember, there is no Iraq. There are no Iraqis. There are only Shia, Sunni and Kurds.

2. Iraq was invented by the British in 1922. Before that there were no Iraqis. There were only Shia, Sunni and Kurds.

3. In 30+ years of tyrannical Saddam rule, THERE WAS NO IRAQI REVOLUTION, no attempt to get rid of Saddam (Yes, there was one small one, so let me amend that to: no SUCCESSFUL attempt to get rid of Saddam.)
Not one, not by Maliki, not by any one else.

4. Before we accuse “The Iraqis” of a lack of courage, let us remember: there are No Iraqis. Furthermore, Iraq is a creation of The West, of The Brits. There was no Iraqi Revolution. How could there be?

Under the Bush/Republican plan, we will be, or could be, in Iraq forever, with the Bush/Republican “success”, –still dying, but at a lower rate; but if you’re there forever, “lower rate” is meaningless. We will still be paying out huge amounts of money. And the rates of U.S. military suicide will continue to increase, as will the divorce rate, as will the exhaustion of morale –that, we learned today from a leaked Pentagon (I think I’m right in saying) survey. (Odd, isn’t it, we’re having all that success, all that “almost-victory”. Hasn’t anybody told our soldiers? My heart bleeds for those poor souls.

Under the Bush/Republican plan, this “success” –more death, more spending, more suicide, more divorce, lower morale– will go on forever. OK…will go on for many years, with no incentive for Maliki to step up and bring about the required resolutions.

No incentive for Maliki to act. Despite all the bleatings of Bush and Rice and Gates –who once upon a time seemed to get it– and McConnell and McCain and Rudy Giuliani and Podhoretz and the rest of that musclebound bunch. No incentive for Maliki to act.


Inept and fumbling and divided and disorganized.
And posturing and preening and whoring after the votes of people who only want successful wars.

The Democrats need conviction, and they need the courage of their convictions.

And what should their conviction be?
I’ve just spelled it out, almost:
Now that Phase One of The Surge has worked –pretty much, though “not pretty”– the only incentive that will get Maliki to Step Up, is for us to Step down.

Start pulling out, seriously.

Force Maliki to command a resolution of the Oil Question in the current Parliament. Let them agree on a 3 Year agreement, to be revisited –and revised if necessary– in 2010. (I see the oil, the division of profits, as the main question for resolution. Or, at least, as the one that’s holding everything up.

Democrats: Give Maliki a deadline of 3 months, or 6 months. It doesn’t much matter. That will be time enough, in a pacified Baghdad, for an interim Oil Agreement. That is as much success as we can hope for. We are not pulling out, defeated: we are bringing about the requisite action, where Bush and The Republicans have failed.

That’s the Democrat Plan.

And here would be my parting shot to Mr. Bush. The so-called Surge was your pathetic response, four years late, and utterly insufficient, to Generals Shinsecki’s and Colin Powell’s stipulation of not going into Iraq with less than 300,000 troops –remember, the overwhelming force!
But you knew better.

Think of the agony –in our soldiers, in their families, in the nation, you would have saved.
Think of the lives you would have saved.
Think of the treasure you would have saved.
Think of the reputation you would have saved.

(No, not your reputation. The nation’s.)

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