Thursday, April 12, 2007

Al-Sadr Reading Gandhi's Book?

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." -- Sun Tzu

  I am posting an article from Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) who happens to write at his own blog. You can check him out at Pen and Sword.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Al-Sadr Takes a Lesson From Gandhi?

Now here's a sign of real progress in Iraq: on Monday, tens of thousands of Shiites staged a peaceful demonstration in the city of Najaf to protest the American occupation. From the New York Times:

The peaceful demonstration was being held at the urging of militant Shiite cleric He exhorted Iraqi security forces on Sunday to unite with his militiamen against the American military in Diwaniya, an embattled southern city in Iraq where fighting has raged for four days…
…A senior official in Mr. Sadr’s organization in Najaf, Salah al-Obaydi, called the rally a “call for liberation.”

A peaceful call for support in a violent effort to liberate Iraq from its liberators. Ain't that a kick in the head?
Here's another kick. Iraqi soldiers in uniform joined the demonstration. Who's on whose side in this circular firefight? It doesn't appear that anyone is on our side, that's for sure.
With Friends Like These…
The Sunnis want our troops out, the Shiites want our troops out. Most of the American public want our troops out. According to a Zogby Poll from last year, most of our troops want to get out. Our biggest pal in the Middle East, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, has called our occupation of Iraq "illegitimate," so it's a safe bet he wants our troops out of Iraq too.
Like Jack Murtha, I'm convinced the only folks who want us to stay in Iraq are Iran, Russia, China and al-Qaeda. It's a Sun Tzu kind of thing. There's no need to trade shots with your enemy when you can sit on the sidelines and watch him shoot himself.
Our supposed friends want us out of Iraq and our supposed enemies want us to stay there, and the Bush administration's policies continue to play into our enemies' strategy. The gang driving the Iraq escalation policy is the same neoconservative cabal that snake oiled us into our Mesopotamia mistake in the first place. Talk about "friends."
National Interest
The reasons we're admonished by the administration and its echo chamberlains to stay the course change as quickly as the reasons they took us to war to begin with, and few of them make sense.
The "enemy," whoever they are, can't follow us back here. Nobody's going to invade America militarily. Terrorist groups may sneak through our borders and ports in dribs and drabs, but nothing we're doing in Iraq is keeping that from happening. Stopping covert infiltration is a Homeland Security function (Customs, immigration, law enforcement, etc.) We don't "honor" our dead and wounded by adding to their number. We can't achieve "victory" in Iraq because we're not in a war with Iraq, per se. Iraq is in a war with itself and we're in the middle of it. Our presence in Iraq has killed more innocent Iraqis that it has saved. We're not stabilizing the Middle East, we're destabilizing it.
Iraq's neighbors, including Iran, will not invade Iraq. After watching the quagmire the "best-trained, best-equipped" military in history has bogged itself down in there, who else wants to repeat the experience? Also keep in mind that no country in the Middle East has a world-class military. They have, at best, border skirmish armies, swimming pool navies and commuter class air forces. For that same reason, an outbreak of general regional war is next to impossible. When it comes down to projecting conventional military force, these countries can barely throw a pillow across their bedrooms.
The only real reasons for us to stay the course in Iraq indefinitely are the reasons we went there in the first place, and as the paper trail of the now infamous neoconservative Project for the New American Century reveals, we invaded Iraq for oil and Israel. I certainly don't have a problem with America playing the role of Israel's guardian angel, but we didn't need to invade and occupy Iraq to accomplish that. What's more, throughout the course of its relatively short history, the state of Israel has proven quite capable of defending itself. All we've really had to do is give them the gear they needed to get the job done.
In his 2006 State of the Union Speech, Mr. Bush urged an end to America's oil "addiction," and described our dependence of foreign oil as a "serious problem." More than a year later, Mr. Bush seeks to pour more national blood and treasure into Iraq in an effort to protect our sources of foreign oil. In his 2006 speech, Bush said his energy policy goal was to make a 75 percent cut in oil imports by 2025. Bushwah. If we were to spend the kind of money on energy independence that we're currently spending on Iraq, we could shake the Middle East oil monkey off our back in a relative blink of an eye.
Good Money and Blood After Bad
Peter Baker and Thomas E. Ricks of the Washington Post reported on April 11, at least three retired four-star generals have turned down an offer to become the "czar" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The very fundamental issue is, they don't know where the hell they're going," said retired Marine Gen. John J. "Jack" Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq.
"So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, 'No, thanks,' " he said.

Sheehan's remarks get to the crux of what I mentioned earlier about the neocons still calling the foreign policy tune. I can't read their minds, but I can read their considerable body of papers, letters and publications. It's quite clear that they want to keep the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan going as long as they possibly can, and if they can stir something up with Iran before Bush gets his pink slip, they'll take that too.
The neocons are, after all, the intellectual progeny of the late philosopher Leo Strauss, who believed the key to political order was perpetual war, that a populace can only be united if it is united against other people, and that if an external threat does not exist, it must be invented.
So if their justifications for staying the course don't make sense to you, keep in mind that their objective is not to make sense. Their objective is to make enough ad hominem noise to fool enough of the people enough of the time long enough for them to achieve their war aims. Behind the curtain, these post-modern Machiavellians equate war with power, and for them, just as the objective of power is more power, the aim of war is more war.



1 Comment:

Debbie said...

Actually, Sadr is using Sun Tzu's rules of war. I'm in contact with Sadr's diplomatic "adviser" in Iraq. Sadr is sitting on the sidelines, biding his time, hoping for a leadership position in Iraq. Maybe I should say THE leadership position in Iraq. Hoping for peace, the Americans gone, a 'religious' government rather than secular.

The following was written by Sadr's advisor, read between the lines:

Personally I think Sadr is not to be trusted, but he is supposedly cooperating with the coalition/Americans ... until he can safely make his move I suspect.