"At least 25 people were killed and dozens wounded in a triple bombing in the western Iraqi city of Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province, on Sunday. The bombings occurred during a reconciliation meeting, sparking fears of a resurgence of violence in an area that was the epicenter of the insurgency until local tribal leaders allied with the US to drive out insurgents in late 2007." CSmonitor
The neocons and their auxiliaries (the COINista generals, McCain, Joe Lieberman, etc.) like to cite Iraq as the great success story. A success which they maintain was caused by THE SURGE. What they mean by that seems to be deliberately unclear. I suspect that what they really believe is that history finally went the way they think it should have in Iraq after many fits and starts and that what they need is for the US to tinker with one more Muslim society as a trigger for a general "modernizing" social revolution in the Islamic World. Motive? Ah, well…
If that is the case, the recent "backsliding" in levels of revolutionary consciousness in Iraq ought to be disturbing. What is happening in Iraq is that the mindless, political science inspired belief in the historic inevitability and desirability of nation-states has re-asserted itself among American government people enough so that the US is willing to let the Shia government neglect our "friends" among the Sunni Arabs and other former insurgents. The result is typical Middle Eastern style "signalling" that worse things will happen if the situation continues to degenerate from the Sunni Arab point of view. Life is tough and often tougher than it need be if you are stupid.
Those who think we can abandon our former "friends" to the tender attention of the purple thumbed Maliki government are just foolish.
The same thing will happen in Afghanistan if we succeed in acquiring true "friends" there and then neglect them.
Has no one ever heard the expression sub rosa? pl
PS I am the man in the middle.
How does this strategy being followed by our Army in Afghanistan make any sense or have any possibility of success?
The more we fight, the more we kill, the more we are hated, and the more support the Taliban have. We are just hated aliens. No man whose wife has been killed will ever be our friend. We cannot shoot randomly toward villages and not kill families.
I am not a military person and I simply cannot understand how our approach can work–ever. Please, can some of you who have been in the military explaine why we are doing this?
As usual your analysis is correct. Unfortunately, you among many others, well know that the Foreign Posicy interest of the USA is extremely short term. Our friends of yeaterday are our blood enemies today [Noirega, Sadam, et al], and once the temporary objective is achieved, we go to find other “challenges” aka “new Enemies”, the freedom fighters of Afganistan after the withdrawal of USSr comes to mind as the most recent – not even referring to up and down “support” of Pakistan and various Central/South American”democracies”.
In other words, I think that the USA will be COMPLETELY OUT OF IRAQ, and will look for new areas of conquest, Honduraas, Columbia comes to mind.
Are you referring to the secrecy/confidentiality meaning or to the “mysterious” virginal conception of Jesus?
Do you believe Sir that we can still make “friends” with someone in Afghanistan considering the recent developments in Pakistan?
The last century and probably this one was and will be littered with the dead of former or potential allies of the US! One of many reasons we (US) is not trusted because of the flip flops of our foreign relations, foreign policy, and that same for military involvement. The end for S. Viet Nam did provide a nice caption for how short the friends of the US can be of heliocopters at the end. And of course, the 61 years of largely pro-Israli foreign policy by the USA could very well end tragically for that “nation-state.” What the Jews should always remember is that for the US the slogan is not “never again” but instead “yes, it could happen here.”
“Are you referring to the secrecy/confidentiality meaning or to the “mysterious” virginal conception of Jesus?” No idea what you are talking about.
As for your other question, different tribal groups are no more motivated by cross tribe solidarity than were the Navajo and the Comanche. pl
Not to worry. “There’s a sucker born every minute.” pl
There is an excellent analysis of the deeper context of the current Afghan strategy debate by Andrew Bacevich in the Boston Globe. I would highly recommend it.
The “progess” in Iraq has sapped any American domestic pressure to leave, so the military has not left. That state of affairs can only continue for so long, however, before people start asking about priorities. At some point, things have to get so bad again that we obviously can’t leave.
The Israelis have become masters at exactly these kind of alternating no urgency/urgency tactics to justify their presence in the Occupied Territories forever. American leaders have obviously taken notes–the wrong ones.
Call me a cynic, but as long as we have plane loads of cash, we’ll have friends.
It’s when the cash runs out that things will get very “dicey” as this fellow once said:
Dusty Acres & The Giant Squid
Starting about 8 years ago and going for a couple of years, I enjoyed sending the question to those I thought that it would upset “When will Iraq/Afghanistan become Our Jewel In the Crown” hoping even as I knew better to make some heads explode.I think I’ll start doing it again as it’s all I can do.
I would imagine that to those with a neo-con mission, no amount of adverse news will shake their belief in the righteousness of their approach, and will be ignored. As you point out there is a sucker borne every minute, and I suspect that there is a belief that a new Iraqi sucker will be found after our allies are gone. Of course, its not a game for Americans only, and other regional powers understand culture and language far better to gain the allegiance of said suckers.
Anyway, ignoring reality tends, IMHO, to cause it to bite back, and sometimes not in the long run.
sub rosa: – In Latin America the term means to be placed under roses, is that what happen to those gentlemen standing behind you in the picture? Or a prediction of what will happen to the “Sons of Iraq” after we leave? Or the blow-back to come through our failure to understand a quarter of humanity?
F B Ali:
Thanks for the insightful article.
Do you believe though, like the author that Americans of all ages will come to accept war as a perpetual condition ?
Considering the global economy, and the history of past American military engagements, do you believe Sir that the American people will have the stomach for such protracted commitments?
The Israelis have become masters at exactly these kind of alternating no urgency/urgency tactics
Maybe the saving grace for the American people is that we are not used to such permanent state of war, terror and fear. Whereas, Israelis were born into it and maybe somewhere deep in their collective subconscious, enjoy it. Just like the abused woman who thinks that her husband loves her.
America was built on hope, and construction. Not destruction. This constant state of destruction might not survive the American spirit in the long run.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
with silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
I certainly hope so.
What I am really curious about is the fate of the Kurds.
Since a couple of years (starting in 1991) they are de facto but definitely not de jure independent and this situation is causing more and more tensions in Iran and in Turkey alike among their kurdish populace.
Sooner or later the iraqi kurds want independenca like Kosovars, and then what would the USA do?
1. Favoring Turkey, and denying it? Or even crushing them?
2. Clinging to its long time commitment with them thus enraging a more and more islamised Turkey? Also a long time ally.
3. Asking the security council? Not likely.
Please share your thoughts.
PL! Again you are so right. It is interesting that many do not seem to realize that sunk costs (US military and foreign assistance) have almost nothing to do with our policy flip flops. Usually the argument is most instense when blood by the US and its armed forces has been spilled but even that never is ultimately of much use in predicting the US positon. Still a factor, however.
Col. L- What do you recommend if we pursue a strategy similar to “Sons of Iraq” in Afghanistan as you support (say, assuming a troop reduction/consolidation in bases, also as rec’d)? Specifically, long-term, as to how to prevent similar fallout when we begin to pull out of Afghanistan more.
Granted, the Shiia/Sunni divide isn’t as prominent, equivalent, or concerning in AF, but similar after-effects aren’t inconcievable.
I had a conversation with a French banker today. He said that in France there could be no sub-prime crisis, because mortgages in France are not based on the collateral in the house. The bank doesn’t own the house. It owns the debt, and it makes very, very sure that the owners can pay. The problem with French banks, and they have terrible problems, is that they bought billions of dollars of triple-A rated securitized mortgages from United States banks.
Triple-A rated, fraudulently triple-A rated.
Is our military foreign policy run by the same people as our financial foreign policy and is it just as fraudulent?