Thursday, September 21, 2006

Why the U.S. is Losing/Lost Iraq

Informed Comment

On the current "mission" in Iraq. BTW, have many people realized that the Generals are already assuming that beating the insurgency is impossible for U.S. forces? And that our "mission" now is to train Iraqis to fight...Iraqis.
"The US Department of Defense has done some opinion polling that indicates that 3/4s of Iraqi Sunnis now support what the Pentagon calls the 'insurgency'. When the DoD started doing polling on the subject in 2003, they found that 14 percent of Sunni Arabs supported the insurgency. If there are 5 million Sunni Arabs, let us say that 1.5 million are less than 15 years of age. Of the 3.5 million left, half are women and less likely to actually engage in violence, though they might offer support for it. So that is 1.75 million men. At 75%, that is 1.3 million male supporters of the guerrilla movement.

Of the 147,000 US troops in Iraq, a very large number of which now seem to be in and around Baghdad itself, I don't know exactly how many are fighters. The traditional rule of thumb is 10%, but I read somewhere that the percentage is much higher in this war. A reader who served over there challenged the latter assertion and said that no, it is just 10%.

If we really just have 14,700 fighters facing 1.3 million Sunni guerrilla supporters, it isn't any mystery why things in Iraq are as they are and why Gen. Casey openly admits that we are not there to win, just to keep a lid on. I can't imagine how they could hope even to keep a lid on. Given the figures released today, I'd say it isn't much of a lid (though remember that the death figures could easily be twice or ten times as bad.)

The other thing to remember is that the Sunni Arab areas have been under US military occupation for the past over 3 years, and that this vast increase in support for the guerrilla movement is therefore in some large part the fault of bad counter-insurgency tactics by the US military. They were all reading that stupid, racist tract, Raphael Patai's The Arab Mind, which says you can control Arabs by humiliating them. What Patai didn't tell them is that yes, you can for a short while, but then in order to recover his self-respect, the humiliated Arab has to spend the rest of his life trying to kill you, and so do his 5 brothers and 25 cousins. "
UPDATE: What it's like in the losing/lost Iraq.
BAGHDAD — On a recent Sunday, I was buying groceries in my beloved Amariya neighborhood in western Baghdad when I heard the sound of an AK-47 for about three seconds. It was close but not very close, so I continued shopping.

As I took a right turn on Munadhama Street, I saw a man lying on the ground in a small pool of blood. He wasn't dead.

The idea of stopping to help or to take him to a hospital crossed my mind, but I didn't dare. Cars passed without stopping. Pedestrians and shop owners kept doing what they were doing, pretending nothing had happened.

I was still looking at the wounded man and blaming myself for not stopping to help. Other shoppers peered at him from a distance, sorrowful and compassionate, but did nothing.
It used to be a nice upper-middle-class neighborhood, bustling with commerce and traffic. On the main street, ice cream parlors, hamburger stands and take-away restaurants competed for space. We would rent videos and buy household appliances.

Until 2005, we were mostly unaffected by violence. We would hear shootings and explosions now and again, but compared with other places in Baghdad, it was relatively peaceful.

Then, late in 2005, someone blew up three supermarkets in the area. Shops started closing. Most of the small number of Shiite Muslim families moved out. The commercial street became a ghost road.

On Christmas Day last year, we visited — as always — our local church, St. Thomas, in Mansour. It was half-empty. Some members of the congregation had left the country; others feared coming to church after a series of attacks against Christians.

American troops, who patrol the neighborhood in Humvees, have also become edgy. Get too close, and they'll shoot. A colleague — an interpreter and physician — was shot and killed by soldiers last year on his way home from a shopping trip. He hadn't noticed the Humvees parked on the street.
Read the whole thing.

Finally, what we've "accomplished" in Iraq.
ARBIL, 20 September (IRIN) - Humanitarian organisations and local authorities in Iraq's northern Kurdistan region have expressed concerns over the living conditions of more than 900 families who have been displaced from their villages on the border strip between Iran and Iraq as a result of heavy artillery shelling by Iranian forces.

"The situation has not yet reached the level of disaster," said Jalal Mahmoud Saeed, the head of the Iraqi Red Crescent Society's office in the northeastern province of Sulaimaniya. "But if the bombardments continue in future, it may reach disaster level."

Since last May, parts of Kurdish-dominated northern Iraq have been the targets of sporadic bombardments by Iranian and Turkish armies, for the alleged presence of Kurdish rebels there.
We have, in the Kurdish north, created a safe haven for terrorists (they've been blowing up people in Turkey rather regularly) that attack both Turkey and Iran.

Given the "Bush Doctrine", both Iran and Turkey are now completely justified in invading Iraqi Kurdistan and establishing a new government therein.

Yes, the "Bush Doctrine" is retarded.

UDPATE: Here we get to see how frickin' retarded the namesake for the "Bush Doctrine" actually is.

I love how he says the U.S. ambassador and top general are "on the ground". But really, I like how the reporter uses the phrase "divorced from reality". That was one of Gannon's catch phrases.[1]

[1] Jeff Gannon was an ultra-conservative plant in the White House (and gay call guy on the side) that was used by Bush to avoid real questions during a press conference.

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