Iraq: A pessimistic assessmentComplete with all links in the post intact. I linked nine-sixteenths on my sidebar, and for two weeks it was a fully-functional blog. Then I clicked on it one day and got something I've never seen before, Blogger's 404 page! Because the Blogger 404 page is such a rare sight, I've reproduced it here.
One of our hometown heroes serving in Iraq has written to provide his assessment of the situation there. He writes by way of preface:
It's not pretty but it is reality. My job as a Human Intelligence collector provides me with uncommon situational awareness regarding, not Iraq as a whole, but much of southern Iraq. I meet with chiefs of police, I have been to the Provincial Security meetings, I have questioned terrorists of all stripes, I run sources, and collect the information to put bad guys in jail. I also read a lot of classified reporting from all over the country. What I say I don't say lightly and I say with regret. But as someone who has been separated from my wife, friends, and family for 20 months already (with four months to go thanks to the surge) and as service members continue to lose life and limb I feel that I can no longer hold my tongue.
Here is his assessment:
We want to succeed in Iraq. Because we want to succeed we continually look for ways and opportunities to contribute. This desire to succeed also spawns an eternal optimism that maybe somehow someway things will get better. Wanting to succeed though is no excuse to ignore reality, and the reality in Iraq is ugly.
The Iraqi government and security forces are so thoroughly infiltrated by the Shia militias that you could say that the militias are the government and you would not be far off. Iraqi police in Southern Iraq are not in the fight against the militias at all. Top CF targets walk the streets freely in every city. In most cases police stations are manned by JAM members in police uniforms who actively aid the terrorists. On the rare occasion that a Shia terrorist is actually arrested by an ISF unit, he must be turned over to CF immediately or he will be released by the police or courts.
In addition, politicians from the city council to the CoR, if not Maliki himself, make calls and appearances on behalf of the terrorist, often threatening the job (if not the life) of the offending ISF leader with the audacity to actually do his job. Imagine our Congress, and governorships, and police departments staffed with members of the Crips and Bloods. Imagine being a citizen, a victim of or witness to a crime committed by one of these gangs. What would you do? Where would you turn? Ignoring for the moment the systemic corruption, this is the “government” we hope to turn this country over to.
The situation on the American side is not much better. The careerists in the Army and DoD have leaned that not taking chances and reporting only good news up the chain are the ways to advance their careers. Just look at General Casey. The army is first and foremost a bureaucracy intent on taking its processes, forms, procedures and top down decision making with it wherever it goes. The Army is not flexible enough or well trained enough to win a counterinsurgency.
Then there’s the domestic political situation which I won’t rehash except to say that it’s crippling to the war effort. We’ve been in country over a year and there have been Democratic calls for timetables and withdraws the entire time. Would, should, any rational person bet his life helping CF when you’re expecting them to leave at any time?
We have mismanaged Iraq in ways too numerous to list here for four years. In order to succeed on the ground we would have to scrap everything we have done and start over....
For more, go to Nine-sixteenths and Living Intentionally.
To comment on this post, go here.
Posted by Scott at 07:44 AM
The problem with the central government I began to describe is that it is dominated by Shia religious parties. Where someone in Anbar doesn’t see the results of that, at least directly, they do see Sunnis who don’t buy into the political process as a result of the Shia domination but that’s a different problem. In Babil Province and across Southern Iraq we see local and provincial governments actually run by JAM [ED: Joint American Mission] and Badr [ED: Al-Sadr's Badr brigades. His personal army]. There are 30+ Sadrist CoR members. City and provincial politicians are almost always SCIRI but when they’re not they’re Sadrists. Even when a “neutral” or unaffiliated official such as a police chief is put in place, it is quickly made clear that they will play ball or they and/or their families will be killed.UPDATE: Now when you click on 'nine-sixteenths' instead of the Blogger 404 page or that NZ rugby 'placeholder' page now Blogger spits out a weird error message:
I don’t think it’s well understood how significant it is that Sadr has 30+ CoR members and (I believe four) governmental ministries. When I said to imagine having Crips and Bloods in the government, I wasn’t kidding. That’s really what it’s like. How can you have JAM death squads killing and displacing Sunnis at the same time there are JAM politicians in the government? How can you have Sadr calling for attacks on Americans while he controls government mistires? How can we tell people to go to the police to report a JAM related crime when JAM controls the police? As an aside, most militia activity is directed against the population in the form of kidnappings, extortion, robberies and old fashioned intimidation.
The situation here is extremely complex and it’s impossible to address fully in anything resembling a brief fashion. Almost every paragraph above could easily spawn at least a page of explanation. I’ll try to respond elsewhere as time permits.
Sergeant Honeycutt's observations are consistent with the pessimistic assessment provided by the soldier serving with our hometown heroes in Iraq.
This whole situation is getting curiouser and curiouser...
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My regular readers will have noticed that I seldom -- almost never, really -- blog about Iraq and the war. I find it too frustrating.I stand as witness to the truthfulness of that statement.
Stories such as the two linked above, [NOTE: this one and this one] oddly, fail to convince some supporters of the war in Iraq that perhaps it's time to leave the people of that benighted country to their own devices. The usual knee-jerk response is that 'there is good news in Iraq, but the MSM just won't tell us about it.' Incidents like the behavior of the demonstrators in Najaf, pictured above, fail to convince these stubborn people. They insist that the media simply plays up any incident like this, because they want to turn Americans against the war, and against the President.What turned me against this so-called ''war'' is that we plainly cannot ''fix'' the ''iraq'' we have ''broken'' and we will never be able to. There have been many surveys of 'the iraqi people' (outside of the Kurdish region) where anywhere from one-half to two-thirds of ''iraqis'' support attacks on Americans. Just HOW are we going ''to win the hearts and minds'' of these people?
Yes I can understand why he has not admitted past mistakes and errors. The political climate wouldn’t give him “credit” for doing so. The situation in Iraq has gone far beyond the politics of the moment and now engages the future security of the United States. If he can’t be a man and take the inevitable finger pointing and name calling, then all hope is lost and we should start bringing the troops home now. The whispers in Washington that the President wishes to simply “hang on” in Iraq and leave the denouement to his successor is possibly the most immoral, cynical thing I’ve ever heard – which leads me to believe that it is not true. But it is equally immoral to simply apply more of the same prescriptions to a war that is now clearly out of control. Drastic changes are necessary. And if the President is not willing to apply them whether out of fear of the political consequences to his presidency or the Republican party, then he doesn’t deserve to sit in the big chair.Emphasis mine. Rick, I FULLY AGREE. IT IS ''the most immoral, cynical thing I’ve ever heard''. What outrages me is that it's also true. Rick Moran I'm completely convinced that Bush IS that immoral AND that cynical.
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