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Iraq: U.S. Public Recognizes Strategic Incompetence

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I think it has been a remarkable success story to date when you look at what has been accomplished overall and I think the president deserves credit for it.”

– Dick Cheney offers his assessment of US policy in Iraq in autumn, 2004.

Statements like this one may have helped George W. Bush to win the 2004 American election (along with those “special” Diebold machines, a very Bush-friendly Ohio attorney general, and scaring the living daylights out of Americans with exaggerated tales of terror), but in the end, they have not helped the Bush administration to convince the public that we are winning the fight for Iraq.

To date, the Bush administration’s war has been a failure, so much so that it is now being said, by some, that the U.S. may be resorting to the act of deliberately initiating civil war in Iraq in order to achieve its political goals.

Here’s the conundrum: A powerful resistance front in Iraq, including the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars (AMS) and the Sadrists, will refuse any kind of dialogue with Iraq’s new Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari unless there’s a definite timetable for the complete withdrawal of the occupation forces. Back in America, the public is screaming for a timetable for a pull-out of U.S. troops, and Republicans like Walter Jones of North Carolina are making public appeals in Congress for something concrete – a date for pull-out; an inkling about an exit strategy – from the Bush administration.

Very few people really seem to want the U.S. troops to be where they are today – except the neocons and the Bush administration, who sent the troops there on the wings of the most dreadful lie ever told to America.

In March, 2004, while President Bush was preparing to return to the UN for the proposal of a new resolution, he had said:

“Al-Qaida wants us out of Iraq because al-Qaida wants to use Iraq as an example of defeating freedom and democracy.” -(LINK)

We know this is not exactly the truth. It wasn’t only Al-Qaida. A healthy number of everyday Iraqis (and the officials who represent them in the new Iraqi National Assembly) would like the U.S. to leave.

Before the public lowers the boom on Bush – seeking to impeach him for the disaster he created when he misled the nation – his administration must find the fastest way out.

The majority of the American public thinks Iraq is a mess. Consult any current public poll and you’ll see for yourself.

Sunni Arabs and Kurds are virtually on the brink of civil war in northern Iraq at this time. The Kurds claim the city of Kirkuk as their own, and they want Kirkuk to be the capital of the Kurdish region, a goal that inspires ire in most Iraqis. Kirkuk has been described, even by U.S. officials, as a “powder keg.” It also happens to sit on top of one of Iraq’s richest oilfields. What the Kurds want most of all is to control Northern Oil – part of the Iraqi National Oil Co, in charge of the oilfields west of Kirkuk. It is apparent that Sunni Arabs will not settle peaceably with the Kurds on this issue.

In the absence of a realistic political solution, Iraq may eventually be forced to disintegrate, which would be a geopolitical nightmare – destabilizing the entire Middle East. Interestingly, a significant number of Kurds would like to see this happen, after years of seeing their people murdered at the hands of brutal dictators. The Bush administration fears that self-determination, desired by most Kurds of northern Iraq, could lead to the establishment of an independent Kurdish state and seriously challenge US control of the oil resources of northern Iraq.

According to a June 10th article in the Asia Times by Pepe Escobar, there are neocon-friendly forces in Washington DC who are planning a “divide-and-rule” plan for Iraq, which would be a way to keep a weakened Iraq from being united and democratic, and this is in direct opposition to what the President has told the American people he wants to achieve. The objective would be “the perpetuation of Arab disunity.”

Escobar says:

The plan would be “sold” under the admission that the recently elected, Shi’ite-dominated Jaafari government is incapable of controlling Iraq and bringing the Sunni Arab guerrillas to the negotiating table. More significantly, the plan is an exact replica of an extreme right-wing Israeli plan to balkanize Iraq – an essential part of the balkanization of the whole Middle East.

The act of the U.S. resorting to ‘Iraqification’ – using Shi’ites and Kurds to fight Sunnis – is a sign that we know we have probably lost any enthusiastic vision we may have had about “winning” the Iraq war. It has been an unwinnable war all along, and President Bush was never up-front with the American public about that fact. (Just as he was never up-front while leading the American masses toward war).

Escobar continues:

“Call it Iraqification; what it actually means is sectarian fever translated into civil war. Operation Lightning – the highly publicized counter-insurgency tour de force with its 40,000 mostly Shi’ite troops rounding up Sunni Arabs – can be read as the first salvo of the civil war……’Iraqification’ means in fact ‘Salvadorization’. No wonder old faces are back in the game.”

Escobar writes that the Sunni-Arab guerillas “have the means to destabilize the country for decades, if they’re up for it.” If I am reading Escobar’s Asia Times article correctly, and I hope it isn’t true, then I can assume he is telling us that the U.S. desires to keep these diverse political terrorist-groups at each others’ throats – which would mean a sustained civil war.

Many Kurds, who have hoped for independence, are dancing with anticipatory joy.

A Kurdish citizen has written:

“…of the Kurds who took part in the elections, a whopping 98 % expressed a desire for a civil divorce. In the branch of science called politics, the fancy name for this kind of behavior is called self-determination. It is considered a political axiom in much of the world except in the lands administered by dictatorships. Now that Iraq is a ward of Uncle Sam, you would think that the Kurdish desire to go it alone would have been respected and accepted. ……to paraphrase Senator John Edwards, help is finally on its way to the Kurds and Kurdistan, and it is with some sadness that I note, not from the children of Jefferson, but from the disciples of enforced ignorance who have vowed to destroy Iraq. When their work is complete, we will take our place behind East Timor as the newest freed nation in the world. Then, and only then, I will rise for the dance of liberation and emancipation in honor of all those Kurdish patriots who shed their blood so that I could see freedom……..I can’t wait for the RIP sign to rise over the abomination that cost five million Kurds of Iraq 250.000 deaths in 35 years on the watch of one monster from Tikrit. When that day comes, and if by some magic I were granted a wish, I would have loved nothing better to do than rush the news to the high heavens and inform Winston Churchill, the British Colonial Secretary, that his out of wedlock bastard has, finally, thank God, died. After rejoicing in his heartache, I would have looked up for Uncle Omar of Halapja and cheered him up with the good news that the flag of Kurdistan now flutters over the memorial that honors him and his friends in the city of Halapja.”
– By Kani Xulam, KurdishMedia.com

Nikolas K. Gvosdev, editor of The National Interest is not so sure that “democracy” will provide the solution to what ails Iraq. He says:

Consider Bosnia, where efforts to forge a unified country among three hostile ethno-religious groups has proven extremely difficult — even when the parties share a common language. We forget today how Bosnia’s first free elections in November 1990 were cited as a triumph for democracy. Sixteen months later, Europe’s most destructive conflict since the end of World War II erupted.

The Bush administration was unprepared for what would happen once they sated their thirst for tackling Saddam Hussein, unilaterally, while lying our nation into the war. What they have done, by going into this half-cocked, is to not only increase terrorism, but also to open Iraq up to civil war (whether it’s intentional, as Escobar contends, or not). The greatly increased risk of political influence upon vulnerable regional Iraqi populations by anti-American forces in Middle Eastern nations (such as Iran) cannot extend a promise of security, stablity, freedom or democracy anytime soon.

Great job, Bush administration.


Related Story:
Brzezinski rips Bush Iraq War policy

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