Tuesday, November 14, 2006
BRAC for Iraq...................
Watching Fred Barnes on Fox News this evening got me thinking about this. His standard reply of "You either win or you lose." Got my head spinning.
Easy for you to say Fred. You fucking don't have the threat of getting shipped off to that hell hole hanging over your head. Plenty of people I really care about ( of which you are not one) have that problem looming in their lives. Yes you did your two years in the Army, but then you moved on to other pursuits. Its easy for you to be gung ho about this war-you don't have to fight in it. Dickhead.
You are probably surprised to hear me say it, but I am more than slightly concerned about all the hype being given to the Baker study commission on Iraq. It makes me very concerned that because of the recent elections and the bull-headedness of the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, people will rely on it to solve all of the problems just like people want the BRAC process to solve military infrastructure problems-without closing bases in anyone's districts.
BRAC by the way may be face saving for politicians, but it hardly makes intelligent decisions. They did not in 1995 and they did not in 2005. As a result the services are left making some pretty silly consolidations and massing people in just a few areas of the country, while the majority of the population does not get to see or deal with "real" military people.
Iraq, in the same way could be like BRAC. It will offer a face saving way to get out, allowing the commission to be blamed-but it won't bring Iraq any closer to solution.
I mean, what can they really offer?
If they give a phased withdrawal time table, then of course the insurgents will simply wait us out. Personally, if I were them, that is what I would do now. Take a vacation, go train in Somalia, take a trip to Mecca, go gambling in Macau. Go see all your buddies in the protected state of Waziristan, and let the violence subside. Just keep the burner lit at a high enough level to make sure the Iraqis and the US know they are out there, and wait for the illusion that Iraq is becoming more stable to kick in.
That's right I said illusion. Because the idea that Iraq is somehow going to become a nice stable democracy is just that. These people are not, and were never ready for that, and it will be at least 50 years before they are. More if they do not jettison their useless religion that enslaves them. Democracy in an Arab country means who can steal the most.
One of the great fallacies of thought today is that democracy is somehow made for every population on the planet. One would have thought, that after watching the abortion the former colonies in Africa and the Middle East had made of it, we would have know better. Democracy requires the people to be at a certain level and the Iraqis are not there yet............Surprise, surprise. I'll say it again, the really stable countries in the region are not true democracies. Same thing could be said for most of Southeast Asia.
So even if we train the Iraqi Army to an acceptable level of proficiency, all we are really doing is giving them the tools not lose a coup de etat, and put a benevolent strongman in place. Which might not be such a bad thing in the short term, provide he is our strongman. There are examples of that in the world.
As I see it, there are really only a couple of options:
1) Go all in. Mobilize all of our reserves, commit more brigades and dramatically up the combat power in the region. Very publicly make it clear to the Iraqis that if they don't get their act together we are going to show them what it really means to anger the United States. If need be, impose a "Dresden solution" on Mugtada al Sadr and his slum in Sadr city.
Of course we cannot do that-now. The only opportunity to do that was during the invasion when with enough force, we could have done what occupying Armies do. Subdue the population and conquer them. Then rule the territory.
Now having told the Iraqis we really care about them and their worthless ways, it would probably be bad form. And don't forget, who ever survives would remember-and seek revenge.
2) Keep going as we have? The insurgents have already demonstrated a remarkable ability to wait us out. Further more unless you stop the resuply of arms and other materials by effectively closing the Iranian and Syrian borders they can keep it up. Plenty of historical precedent for this, by the way.
3) Pack up and leave? Well that has been tried before too. With less than optimum results. The Shiites and Sunnis will turn upon one another quicker than you can say Mohammed was a goat fucking apostate. And lest you think the Kurds would get a free pass on that one, remember if they get two big for their pants, Turkey would swoop in and cut them down. And well they should-since Turkey's interests are far more important to the United States than the Kurds.
Furthermore, it would give Iran an open invitation to come in and try to save the day. Since, because they are Persian and not Arab, it would lead to ANOTHER insurgency, but it might finally unite the Iraqi people because I hope and pray they hate the Iranians more than they hate us.........
4) Partition the country? E.G. Return to a colonial solution, so much in disfavor these days. Namely creating a Sunni State, a Shiite state and a Kurd state. I think it would only work if one can return to the idea of a mandate or protectorate a la the League of Nations. And lets look at the choices, shall we? Iran is the only nation capable of being the guarantor of the Shiite state, Saudi Arabia or Syria the Sunni one and there is no one to guarantee the Kurdish state save Turkey. The Kurds would never accept that, and the Turks would want guarantees the Kurds would stay inside their borders. Which would put the Kurdish region at the mercy of idiots inside Turkey. Then again 400,000 Turkish troops in Iraq would go along way towards providing stability without getting Americans shot at. The Turks don't fuck around.
Now here is where I let the cat out of the bag. None of these solutions are good, although the Turks invading and re-conquering Iraq is starting to sound pretty good.
The real issue here for me, is that if outside forces are needed to keep peace in Iraq besides the United States, why doesn't Egypt, as the leading nation of the Arab League-as well as other nations pony up forces. THAT is in their long term interest, because it reduces the total number of US forces in the region which in turn gives them more of a free hand in dealing with their own wackos. Problem is 40 years of oil wealth, and out sourcing their wars and conflicts to the United States has made them lazy. Ask your self this, why is it not one of the Arab nations has forces in Iraq? The little fuckers speak the language, they understand the culture and they hated Saddam as much as us.
The reason is they don't have to. They get a free ride off of the US so long as they play ball on oil. And as is typical for Arabs, they like being lazy-so long as the money is rolling in.
So don't get your hopes up about the Baker commission. If you do you will just be disappointed.
My solution? Split the country. Let Syria guarantee the Sunni piece. Let Russia and Iran be part of a joint occupation force in Shiite land, relying on the Russians to spank the Iranians if they get out of line. Keep a US presence in the Russo-Iranian region of about 50K. Ergo there is a trip wire if either side gets out of line and if anything happens we will just assume the Iranians started it. As for the Kurds- tell Turkey they will be autonomous and make it clear to them that if they don't stay in their box, the roof will cave in. Make Turkey guarantee their sovereignty with a back up of a US promise to intervene if the Turks break that. Make Baghdad the equivalent of Danzig.
Sometime the old ways are the best ways. Colonialism was not so bad when it came to Africa or the Middle East and the US made a serious mistake by not supporting its European allies in their attempts to keep it that way.
Since we did not, I'm a total pessimist about the ability to find a way forward. None of these options will work, I fear, so what will really happen is the region will continue in its same manner till, like the British we grow disgusted with it. Then, as in India, the Muslims will make other rivers besides the Ganges grow red with blood. Its what they do. God forbid they might actually make something of the opportunities given them.