Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Iraq, the final irony

So yesterday in class one of my friends, a Vietnam Vet with 3 tours of duty under his belt, and I, were doing a tag team review of the Iraq situation. He was explaining to the students why Iraq now is like Vietnam then - fighting "insurgents" who call themselves "freedom fighters" or "nationalists", telling them how much urban guerilla fighting is just like jungle guerilla fighting, explaining how our soldiers control exactly the ground upon which they stand and nothing else. Interestingly, one of the things he says is that in Vietnam we controlled the cities but they controlled the country; in Iraq it's the opposite. Why? Most of the people are in the cities in Iraq, most were in the countryside in Vietnam. Since no one gives a hoot about controlling the desert, we are allowed to do so. Thus the reverse, but worse: the desert has nothing. The cities are everything.

At the end of class I was left to sum up our presentation with the observation that now, we must leave, yet we must not. It is the ultimate irony of this ridiculous exercise in futility.

We must leave for the sake of both our military and their people. This war is re-creating the exact same kinds of nonsense that turned people against Vietnam and helped radically lower the morale and ability of our military: "body counts"; civilian casualties; blowing up buildings and claiming we wiped out "nests of insurgent leaders" (no proof, never any proof, and the next "nest" is in the next building); controlling the ground our soldiers stand on and nothing else; fighting against determined guerillas on ground of their choosing where our mechanized army can't use its mechanized tactics; making new guerillas with every one we kill. And it's killing their people - over 20,000 at last count - most of whom are civilians caught in crossfires, collateral damage.

Yet we must not leave, for the sake of our nation and their people. What happens the day we pull out? Civil war between Shiite and Sunni, with the Kurds hungrily lapping up the ruins. The Shiites (70% of the population) will attack and decimate the Sunni (15%) in a bloody civil war the Shiite can't lose. Sunnis most likely butchered, ethnic and religious "cleansing." The Kurds come down from the north and grab what they can in the ensuing chaos. End result: a slightly larger Kurdistan making Turkey even more nervous, and an Iraq run by Shiites allied with Iran. A power bloc of 2 large Islamic Republics utterly at odds with the US. What does that bode for "terrorism" in the future? Does anyone remember that little list Iran was on for 20 years? You know, the one that describes which countries sponsor, support, and fund terrorist organizations? Add now a Shiite Iraq, and all the lies Bush told about "working hand in glove with terrorists" become true. Bush creates what he claims existed, yet did not until now, and it really is a threat to the safety and security of the US and other Western nations.

So, we MUST leave, yet we must NOT leave. We must "win," yet we can not "win."

Good job neo-cons. I dont think anyone could have created a more perfect no-win situation if they had tried.


  • At 11:59 AM, Blogger Joko Londo said…

    Do you really think the Shiites would "wipe out" the Sunnis? Haven't these two groups been living side by side for centuries? It can't only be the US Military preventing some Rwanda style genocide. I'm sure there's probably been some violence, but do you think these people so barbaric that they can't govern themselves?
    My wife noted that it sounds like the British rationale for occupying Northern Ireland; that without them, the religious animosity would explode into unfettered violence. Its rather self important. Ethnocentric neoimperialism.

    Sunnis may be a minority in all of Iraq, but don't they control the most important parts?

    How important is it that the Sunni represent the majority of Islam as a whole? Wouldn't Shiite-on-Sunni violence rise ire amongst Iraq's immediate Sunni Arab and Turkic neighbors?


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