Sunday, November 25, 2007

How We're "Winning" In Iraq, Now

The right, or the BushCo Gang, is now asking when the media and defeatocrats are going to admit that we're winning in Iraq. Troop losses the last two months have been the lowest since early 2006, including all US casualties and Iraqi force and civilian casualties. Any drop in casualties makes me very happy - not as happy as a cessation of casualties - happy for the troops and their families and Iraqis in general. That, of course, isn't what the question was. It might pay to remember that 2006 was what made the "surge" the thing to do, it might pay to remember that four years of war have succeeded in getting us back to year 3. It might pay to notice that the political progress in the past year has been exactly no better than it was in year 3, which isn't even as good as a status quo might be under ordinary circumstances.

I and others have pointed out that Iraqis are fiercely tribal as well as religious sectarians and the al Anbar successes were primarily homegrown and the virtually inevitable consequences of foreign Arabs trying to impose their foreign agenda on Sunni Iraqis. Bhagdad is now sectarian divided, essentially segregated neighborhoods where once mixed existed and a whole lot of potential victims have gotten out. The Iraqis returning after being forced out of Syria may be one of the coming test cases. While Iranian sanctuaried and trained Shiites in the south may have an upper hand in the formerly British controlled areas; they also may find the same results the foreign Sunnis have had in al Anbar. It took awhile for Sunni resentment to boil over in al Anbar so it may take that with the Shiites in the south, Basra in particular.

In the absence of so much violence some of the essential services are beginning to improve, that alone may make a large difference in how tolerant Iraqis are about their neighbors creating heat with the Americans. While it may seem a materialistic sort of reasoning, it is a bit more difficult to support or tolerate people whose actions take you from having some garbage removal back to none, as well as other services. They also will not tolerate for long having just some services, analyzing on that basis is pretty problematic.

This is where the lack of political solutions or any real political activity and high levels of corruption are going to cause havoc. Life problems have got to be addressed in a real manner, these people have had four years of absolute hell and they're not going to be very patient (not that they are anyhow). If there is no evidence of power sharing and problems continue in just trying to live there is going to be backlash. Cleaning up corruption will cause backlash from the supporter of those gaining from the corruption (Mahdi Army in particular) and yet leaving it go will cause backlash; when things are this messy the chances of any course working well diminish.

Every day that Americans are viewed as occupiers increases the potential for explosive violence. While a recent firefight resulting in an intelligence coup regarding importation of foreign fighters has had an effect on "random" violence; that information has a shelf-life, as it becomes more dated and new circles are built that importation will recover. It will recover faster and more virulently with active dislike for American presence, through no more than simple tolerance for its existence. Current troop levels are not sustainable; there simply are not enough troops to keep it up, this means that whatever damping effect is happening through troop presence will not continue on that basis. If no other basis is found the results could easily be reversed. Those who find expanded violence in their interest now have concrete examples of how to provoke it and then stoke it. Neither the willingness nor the materials have evaporated for those people.

What the Iraqi forces can accomplish is an open question, some few units have proven to be capable, others are so infiltrated with sectarians and partisans as to be a danger to both the civilians and Americans, and finally a large number are simple incompetent for the job, for many reasons. Iraqis finding themselves under the discipline of the latter two categories might reasonably opt for an entirely different solution - and a violent one.

I would actually like to go the BushCo dead-enders one better, no we're not just winning; we've now won, bring them all home and we'll have that parade you were planning for 3 years ago. I don't even care if George II hangs a Mission Accomplished banner from the White House portico, as long as there are no flight suits and ships involved.

Combat correspondent Michael Yon is an independent reporter, seems important to one of my readers that he is linked.


t.a. said...

i hate to put it like this, but if there's a lull in the slaughter (because they've successfully killed everyone who isn't one of them in their particular neighborhoods), doesn't that create the space for us to get the hell out? before the big civil war breaks out? which it will?

this is the calm before the storm. those with the guns have no intentions of doing anything but using them. Turkey's gonna invade in the north, outside fighters are going to side with their factions, and above all, vengeance is going to be sought. we need to get the hell out before it explodes. this seems like as good a time as any. and better than most.

Anonymous said...

t.a. and CHUCKER:

I double dog dare you to post a link to Michal Yons blog from Iraq...NOT A BUSHCO MEMBER, FOR GODSAKE, not a libber, but a real independant writer in the style of Earnie Pyle...POST THE LINK, then comment on his dispatchs.

Chuck Butcher said...

I've read Yon and he's a good writer.

You can use "other" in posting options and put a name in there. If you create a "Blogger" identity it does not link to you unless you include info that does, so you could take a Blogger name like, say, DAT and that wouldn't go any farther but would give you the credence of something other than "anonymous"

nolocontendere said...

t.a. is correct - there's basically no one left in Baghdad to ethnically cleanse. Also, the security situation there is a fascist wet dream, so anyone who touts the drop in violence is essentially applauding a police state with all it's attendant horrors. Some victory.
That being said, we're never leaving Iraq. The military is there for the long haul unless there's a wider regional war and the green zone is turned into a smoking and unlivable crater.

Steve Culley said...

What I saw recently from Saudi Arabia was a young girl who was gang raped given 60 lashes. When her lawyer objected it was raised to 200. That was in a Sunni Arab country. Iraq has a lot of Sunnis. Is that what we are fighting for? If by some miracle we glue this artificially created country together with American blood what gurantee do I have that they won't elect some nut case cleric as president?
I for one wouldn't forget the people who slaughterd my family with a car bomb. This idea that all will be forgiven and peace and harmony will reign is nuts.
You will have to excuse me if I think that Islamic countries are backward and unsaveable. At one time they were the center of civilization but no more. I say pull out and let them sort it out.

Anonymous said...

Chuck: POST THE LINK!!!!

Give some of your readers a dare I say, a "fair and balanced" view of what MIKE YON is seeing and has said in the past.

Come on Chuck, I want to learn to trust the otherside of the aisle if that is possible. DAT

Chuck Butcher said...

I added Yon to the article, I don't see where he either agrees or disagrees with my points.

Thom said...

Declare victory? Sure, fine. Declare Iraq a "success"? I call it a trillion dollar mistake.

Chuck Butcher said...

I'd be willing to call it a duck if it would get our people out of there. Mistake is probably more polite language than I'd use otherwise.