There are three
things wrong with the current policy in Iraq: Occupation, occupation and
is the reason why over 90 percent of Iraqis want the Americans to leave their country.
It is the reason why nearly 50 percent of Iraqis believe that it is justifiable
to shoot American troops and why nearly 70 percent of attacks are on occupation
forces. Representative John Murtha was correct when he said, �We are inciting
the problem;� our presence is a lightening rod for violence.
Bush�s promise to
establish security in Baghdad is foolish and doomed to failure. Security cannot
be achieved under occupation because the foreign troops are perceived as the
enemy. This is not hard to grasp. We need only to imagine how we would react if
Iraqi soldiers were maintaining checkpoints or arresting our people on the
streets of America.
There�s no point in
recriminations. There will be plenty of time to examine what went wrong after
American forces are withdrawn from the theater. But certainly there have been
events which galvanized Iraqis against the occupation; the destruction of
Falluja and the abuses at Abu Ghraib are perhaps on top of the list.
we must recognize where we are now in a conflict that is progressively
intensifying and will not let up until the occupation ends.
The security plan
for Baghdad is shortsighted and will not succeed. We already know that many of
the Iraqis feel threatened by foreign troops on their streets and that a
considerable number of the resistance fighters live in Baghdad. They are
Baghdadis; this is their home. They are not leaving.
Will we destroy the
city to liberate it? How many doors will be kicked in? How many buildings will
be reduced to rubble? How many innocent people will be dragged off to
interrogation centers and filthy prisons? How many tens of thousands of people
will be killed?
This is not
liberation; it is �pacification.�
Liberation is not
living in fear for one�s life every minute of the day. Martial law is
There is no
"government" under occupation, just foreign-military rule. Prime
Minister Nouri al-Maliki has no power and he governs nothing beyond
the walls of America�s Green Zone.
administration has begun to criticize al-Maliki for not stopping the sectarian
violence, but no one is paying attention. Al Maliki follows in the long
progression of American stooges; al-Allawi, al-Jaafari, al Maliki; none of them
have any bearing on events, nor will they have any part to play in the final
outcome. No one is fooled by the actions or pronouncements of Washington�s
puppets. It is a public relations scam that has outlived its usefulness.
If we are serious
about concluding the war in Iraq, we must deal directly with the leaders of the
Iraqi resistance, many of whom were part of the former Ba�athist regime. There
are rumors that talks are currently taking place in Amman, Jordan, between
representatives of the resistance and American officials, but there is no solid
confirmation of this.
between the warring parties will not succeed under the guidance of Donald
Rumsfeld. Rumsfeld has shown repeatedly that he is incapable
of understanding strategic or political objectives. Even now, he insists
that we should stay the course and persist on the same disastrous path. The
administration�s newly adopted language; �timetable for benchmarks� is
meaningless. It offers no quantifiable difference from the present policy.
We cannot expect to
succeed by merely intensifying the violence while eliminating media coverage.
Iraq is not the Gaza Strip. It is not possible to surround the entire country
in concertina-wire and fire rockets at anyone who looks suspicious. This is not
a serious approach.
Western elites are
increasingly worried about the long-term effects that the Iraq war will have on
America�s global primacy. The US has sacrificed its �soft power� and moral
authority in an adventure that has produced no positive results.
The army is gravely
overextended and morale has begun to plummet. Soldiers� are tired of tour after
tour with no end in sight and nothing to show for the risks they take every
Force readiness has
also begun to erode as vital military equipment is being devoured by harsh
desert conditions. In a recent article by Andrew Bacevich, �On the Offense� the
author says, �The once crack Third Infantry Division, preparing for its third
Iraq tour, has two of its four brigades without tanks or other heavy equipment.
The Army�s chief of staff complains that army depots are clogged with 600
battle-damaged and worn-out Abrams tanks and 1,000 Bradley Fighting Vehicles
awaiting repair. The army lacks the money to fix them -- this despite the fact
that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have now cost an estimated $500 billion.�
The army is
steadily wearing down while Rumsfeld clings to the vain hope that he will
snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. This unrealistic dream of victory is a
phantom that is perpetuating the violence and putting Americans at risk.
As defense expert
Harlan Ullman (the author of �shock and awe�) noted in the Washington Times,
�our policies are failing or foundering and, unless we take new directions,
events in East Asia could follow the disastrous trajectory of what is happening
in the greater Middle East.�
This is what really
concerns Western elites who, up until a few months ago, fully supported the
Bush agenda. The attention devoted to Iraq is loosening America�s grip on the
rest of the empire, and our influence around the world is in sharp decline. As
we become further mired in an unwinnable war; there is growing sense that we
may have already turned the corner and are headed for an impending tragedy.
The criticism of
the Bush�s Iraq policy is now coming from all sides of the �reality-based�
community. Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham�s blasted away saying, �We�re on
the verge of chaos, and the current plan is not working.� Just hours earlier,
former Intelligence official Wayne White said, �We are not winning. It�s
getting worse . . . The effort cannot be sustained over the long-haul.�
As the criticism
continues to mount, the administration gets more embattled and
mistrustful. Bush equates pigheadedness with steely-resolve, and remains
impervious to reason. He is still in the clutches of his key advisors, Cheney
and Rumsfeld, who refuse to entertain the notion of early withdrawal. They have
already indicated that the recommendations of the James Baker �Iraq Survey
Group� will be ignored. Their stubbornness paves the way for an even greater
tragedy in the very near future.
What happens when
the war is lost but the fighting continues?
We are about to
There are now
650,000 reasons for withdrawing from Iraq and for allowing events to take their
course. Iraq�s militias are presently locked in mortal combat to determine the
ultimate political make-up of the future Iraq. We should stand down and let
that process unfold. The belief that we need to supervise the transition is
just more paternalistic claptrap intended to support the ongoing occupation.
The Iraqis want us out of their affairs and out of their country.
We�ve turned Iraq
into a charnel house; unleashing the full force of the world�s most powerful
military on a small country that never posed a threat to our national security.
That�s enough. It�s time to end the occupation and bring the troops home.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: email@example.com.