Postscript - One Year Later
More than a year ago, I recommended that US policy in Iraq be based on the democratic yearnings of the Iraqi peoples. Unfortunately, it looks like the leaders in the US State Department continue to cling to a vision of Iraq that is shared by very few of the people who live there. Specifically, I suggested that the US not fight to keep a unified Iraq – unfortunately, as late as yesterday, Dr. Rice has announced that a unified Iraq was their only choice. As if it is up to the US Secretary of State to dictate the form of government the people of the region will live under.
So much for democracy.
I suggested that instead of fighting the anti-Baathist and anti-Al Qa’ida militias, we work with the local militias to exterminate Saddamist and Al Qa’ida forces in Iraq. Instead of blockading the streets of Sadr City, the US military should be arming and training those same militias to fight in Ramadi, Fallujah, and other Saddamist and Al Qa’ida strongholds. Last week, Senator John McCain has called for an increase in US forces in Iraq in order to “break the back” of the largest Shia militia. Instead of working with the Kurdish Peshmerga and Shia Badr Corps to fight our mutual enemies, the Baathists and Al Qa’ida, US forces are once again taking fire from Shia militias in Baghdad. The largest monthly death toll inflicted on US forces since 2003 is the result. In the mean time, the US military has admitted that Anabar province, where Al Qa’ida and Saddamist forces are strongest, is “not under control”.
So much for defeating Al Qa’ida and Saddamist forces in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the newly elected leaders of the Senate and House are calling for a rapid withdraw of all US forces from Iraq. Senator Levin has even called for a “redeployment” of US forces in the next four to six months. Although the new leaders of Congress are quick to draw parallels between the fight in Iraq and the war in Vietnam, few mention the consequences of the rapid pullout of US forces from South East Asia. Recall, my friends, the utter genocide of the Montanyards in Laos and Vietnam, as well as the extermination of half the people of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge.
I wonder, do the ghosts of the hundreds of thousands who died at the hands of the terrible Khmer Rouge ever keep John Kerry awake at night? Whether they do or they don’t, if Senator Kerry gets his way, they will soon be joined by at least as many Sunni, Shia, and Kurds about to die in the bloodbath unleashed at his bequest.
So much for learning the lessons of the Vietnam War.
Democracy here at home is supposed to be a rational debate of various alternatives, where the public as a whole participates and in the end comes together over one coherent policy. Not a matter of sound bites and bumper stickers, but actual discussion. Instead, the recent election once again looked like nothing less than a bare knuckled power grab between political parties, reduced to all the rationality of a yelling match between opposing fans at a pre-Superbowl tailgate party.
This would not be the first time the national interest during time of war has taken a backseat to party politics. During the Civil War, US Commanding General McClellan, when ordered by President Lincoln to immediately attack Lee's weakened troops in Virginia, refused.
Many believed at the time that McClellan refused in order to further his own political ambitions, allowing Lee's army to escape and prolonging the war to make the President look bad. He wasn't shot as a tratior. He ran as the Democractic candidate for President against Lincoln in 1864 instead.
So, pleased don't be shocked when a political leader puts his, or her, political career ahead of fighting and winning the war. If there is anyone one of you who believes a savage bought of ethnic cleansing will not be the outcome of Senator Levin’s plan for a wholesale retreat, then it is definitely time to pull your cranium out of your rectum. Levin wants Bush to fail, and fail gloriously, so that the Democratic Party can gain control of the White House in 2008.
Is it possible the Democratic leadership of Congress does not know they are aiding the cause of Al Qa'ida when they throw up the white flag of surrender and retreat?
Perhaps it depends on what our definition of "is" is.
Regardless of the motives of others who should be looking out for the Republic and its citizens, perhaps I need to re-iterate exactly what we should be doing in Iraq.
1) Fight your enemies, not the whole world – US forces executed beautifully in the beginning of the war when actually fighting the enemy was the focus. Now, US policy seems to change daily. Don’t get bogged down in trying to solve all the problems of all the people who live there. We are the US military, not miracle workers. We didn't go there to provide health insurance coverage, or fix their bridges, or build their roads. They can do that themselves. They have more oil in the ground than we do. Our focus should be on destruction of our enemies, and nothing else: destroy the Saddam Fedeyeen, destroy Al Qa’ida, period.
2) Work with Shia and Kurdish militias, not against them. The success evident in Kurdistan is the product of years of CIA-Peshmerga cooperation. This model needs to be copied in the South. Attempting to disarm the anti-Al Qa’ida and anti-Baathist militias is foolish in the extreme. US forces should be supplying and training these militias, and readying them for a coordinated assault on pro-Al Qa’ida and pro-Baathist strongholds in Anabar Province.
3) Secure the borders – especially between Iraq and Syria. Arms and troops pouring in across the borders must be stopped. Allowing local tribes and Iraq customs agents to control the border clearly hasn’t worked. This is a war and needs to be treated as such. Mine, patrol, and otherwise stop all traffic crossing the Iraqi-Syrian border – immediately. We have the technology; all we lack is the will.
4) Be prepared for the division of Iraq – the vast majority (80%) of the people who live in Iraq are Shia and Kurds. The vast majority of the Shia and the Kurds want nothing to do with the nation-state of Iraq. We should be facilitating this desire, meaning the division of Iraq into three separate entities, not fighting against it because it does not fit our “strategic interests”.
5) Prepare for the long haul – Tony Blair’s MI Chief stated the war against terrorism will last at least a generation. She’s right. Doesn’t mean troop levels in Iraq need to be as high as they are now for the next 30 years, but don’t expect Iraq to turn into a Swiss democracy in the next four months just because it fits someone’s political schedule.
What am I doing these days? Still a citizen-solider – fiber optics engineer by day, US Army Reserve by night, so to speak. I’m no longer in the 8-229th. I’m in the 7/6 CAV, which is another Apache unit, this one in Conroe Texas.
And what exactly is the 7/6 CAV doing these days, you may ask?
Getting ready for the next round. Because, it ain’t over till its over.
And, Baby, this fight definitely ain’t over.