Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Iraq Bombing, Afghanistan and the Question that Must Be Asked in Light of It

The war in Iraq, we are told, wasn't going too well until President Barack Obama's predecessor authorized the troop surge General David H. Petraeus sought. Sunni insurgents and Al Qaeda terrorists were bombing Iraq's cities into oblivion while Shia militiamen associated with the Mahdi Army and the Al Badr Brigades were murdering Sunnis, Christians, and gays living in and around Baghdad. The Kurds, meanwhile were forcibly removing or otherwise butchering Turkmen, Yazidis, Shabaks and anyone else with a weird non-Kurdish sounding name near Kirkuk. The troop surge, we were told, ended the civil war and President Barack Obama, apparently agrees.

This newly-found confidence in military might is unfounded. The uneasy peace that followed our surge can be attributed to the opposing factions' decision to bide their time. Once we leave they can re-start their war if the negotiations which the surge was implemented to encourage fall through. They just passed an election law after weeks of haggling yet the fate over Kirkuk (and more importantly) the oil fields that surround it as well as the fate of those non-Kurdish minorities that live around is still in dispute. In a blow to Iraq's Security Forces and the surge which was designed to heal that country's wounds, terrorists (which Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki claims to be affiliated with Al Qaeda and former Baathists) detonated 5 bombs across the city, klling 121 Iraqis.

Today, General Stanley A. McChrystal expressed some optimism for the new, far more sober and limited objective placed before the American troops - to deny the Taliban what it wants to do. In other words, we aren't going to defeat the Taliban and drag Al Qaeda spiritual leader Osama bin Laden from his cave. The occupying power never wins a stalemate. They want to leave by a certain point of time while their opponents, who are fighting for their homeland, wait them out so we will either squander what remains of our financial resources by piling up more debt while forgoing much needed infrastructure programs by keeping while our forces fight the terrorists until the Afghans can train themselves or we will leave the Afghans to their own fate. The president said he wants us to begin (not complete) a withdrawal in 2011. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, condition any withdrawal to the conditions on the ground. And the Afghan president says we'll have to stay until 2014 to get this done right.

Will the president have any resources to fight for the people who elect him?

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