Monday, June 28, 2004

well...iraq is a's official

Well. I'm watching CBS news now officially saying that Iraq's tranfer of power has happened. 2 days or so ahead of schedule. Now - the common analysis is that this doesnt matter since all it really is is a piece of meaningless paper.

This is true in a very "real" sense. The reality on the ground is that Iraq doesnt have an army worth anything, a police force that is widely regarded as rubbish and a government that still doesnt have any real control over anyone or anything. Everything is in effect being run by American troops - but we dont have nearly enough troops to run anything - a situation that wont change because we cant send any more troops over for any length of time or have any other country send any more troops over because we dont get along with them any longer.

= = = = = = What I wrote on May 21 2004 = = = =

"I dont think that the US WOULD pull out overnight, but the US COULD pull out without looking "weak" domestically if a the story can be spun as "handing over to the Iraqis" - a story made much easier by the fact that we technically no longer would control the country after June 30th.

This is almost exactly what we did in Afghanistan - at first we promised to stay, then we "turned over" the power to a hastily thrown together Afghan government, then we pulled out a great majority of our troops to the point that the new government can hardly maintain control outside of the heavily foreign armed parts of Afghanistan.

Nearly the same situation might occur in Iraq, with the difference that Iraq is actually much more violatile because of the Iranian influence, is more heavily urbanized and the long standing hatred between ethnic groups.

Not to rehash "old" arguments here - but what the hell happened to those weapons of mass destruction? Or the Al Queda connection? Or the "All major combat operations are over" statement? And what about Gen. Shinseki's statement that we would need a few hundred thousand troups to control Iraq - why was that ignored? The list of very important questions go on and on.

I'm hardly the first one to say these things - and would hardly be the first to say that the situation reeks of a major blunder."

= = = = = = =

I stick to my orginal statement on this. It was a blunder. I didnt originally think this...

= = = = = = Written on March 21 2003

"In terms of my support or lack of support for this war - I am for this war. The war makes a lot of logical sense. It's hard to be for war, but I think that disarming Saddam, removing Saddam in essence, is an important enough objective that we should expend money and lives for that cause."

= = = = = =

Boy. I certainly do feel foolish to be for this war. Just another reason that my Uncle's judgement on current matters of all sorts cannot be trusted. He's a very good man, and certainly one of the most decent men I have ever met but he's not what I would call exceedingly sharp. On the other hand - neither was I...but in my own's another part of the letter.

= = = = = =

"Urban warfare - we stink at urban warfare. we're great at bombing urban sites, but suck at operating in them. If we have to fight inside cities, watch the casualty counts mount to the (possibly) high hundreds. This is unlikely though; they'll probably give up before they fight. Hopefully."

= = = = = =

So it sort of balances out - oh doesnt much matter. I blame the President on misleading me on this one. It's not as if I had CIA briefings everyday or an entire multi billion dollar apparatus working on this sort of thing. I had a measely cable hookup and the Internet.

But getting back to the point at hand - the transfer of power and it's meaing. I think that it is actually quite meaningful. The US cares a lot about what is written down (when it wants to care it should be added) - this seems one of those things that the American side will tout as "evidence" that it is now "Iraq's problem" and not America's problem. Of course it's a total bunch of BS but that doesnt matter much. What will matter is how it can be sold on Fox News Channel. And I have a feeling that official documents are great documents when it comes to things that help FNC's side (of course, it's just beaucratic paperwork when it happens not to conform to Bush is God rhetoric).

So now we have "handed over" a broken country to a completely inept government. We will stay to provide "support" but will most likely scale down patrol type activities as the "transfer" takes place. I can imagine it now. A bunch of extremely green Iraqi security guys being escorted twice or maybe thrice through a partol, then let go because the US has "shown them the ropes".

The US forces wont totally leave Iraq. They will stay at least in their bases so that we can both make sure that oil doesnt get into the wrong hands (or officially, to support the government) and to (ironically, but hey) foment opposition in the Middle East by being seen as occupiers.

Such is life. I just hope the draft doesnt happen...

And maybe some healthcare wont hurt in the meantime.
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