Monday, May 14, 2007

Sad times in the dust.

The Times reports on the thousands of troops searching for the three American soldiers believed captured by Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, "American military officials offered few details on Sunday about the search but said they were sparing no resources."

Despite the witless claims of John McCain, Iraq is not a safe or safer place for Americans, much less Iraqis. The Americans are responding to the capture of their fellows as they must, they can do no less. While I hope for their safe return, I doubt that will be their fate. Terrorists, insurgents, jihadis or patriots, it doesn't matter much what they are called, there's really no benefit to them in keeping their captives healthy. An argument could also be made that this is what results of abrogating the Geneva conventions.

There are no happy endings to these stories. This is also symptomatic of the largest flaw in the American strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, you can't successfully combat a native insurgency with a massive tech heavy military. Rumsfeld and the PNAC wizards were just plain fucking wrong from the outset. What they have put in motion remains wrong, a great, stupid recipe for failure. You can't kill a wasp in the living room no matter how many times you swing the wrecking ball. Even a fool knows there's more than one wasp in a nest and poking it with a stick will get you stung. To put it in terms that a conservative might understand, follow the money. The attacks of 9/11 were estimated to have cost about $100,000, the American response to those attacks has cost in the hundreds of billions. That cost rises every minute of every day in treasure, equipment and lives spent.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Even a fool knows there's more than one wasp in a nest and poking it with a stick will get you stung."

Which is why you are better off to kill all the wasps than to try to negotiate with them or show them the error of their ways.

pretty shaved ape said...

easier to say than to do anon. don't forget that there were no wasps to worry about in iraq before herr bush decided to start swinging his stick.

Anonymous said...

You cannot honestly believe that Hussein was not a "wasp"? Invader of Kuwait, gasser of Kurds, sponsor of terror, dismisser of UN proclamations, all-around malcontent? Surely you remember him?

Justin said...

You forgot "friend of the US" when you were on that tirade against Saddam Anon...

pretty shaved ape said...

after gulf war no. 1 saddam was a toothless tiger. he posed absolutely no threat to the united states. his nation was disarmed, his weapons of mass destruction were destroyed, in compliance with u.n. sanctions. sure he was a right bastard but certainly no worse than any number of other right bastards that enjoyed american tolerance and even support.

iraq *was* a secular state and saddam had no love at all for al qaeda. there was no cause other than bush's ego and stupidity to invade iraq. the failed and foolish debacle authored by bush and his minders has made the u.s. poorer, weaker and less secure. it has only served to ensure that what ever the next while brings, surge or not, that iraq is destined to become an islamist state and bush has damn sure made that future state one that will hate the west and that will produce more terrorists.

thwap said...

Of course, in the moral calculus of "anon" and several US governments, it's hard, but it's worth it, to condemn over one-million people to death, and tens of millions more to a living hell, to take out one dictator.

One dictator who they used to finance, ... oh, never mind.

The titanic stupidity of the whole thing leaves me at a loss for words.

Anonymous said...

"iraq *was* a secular state..."

Iraq was not a secular state, it was a pressure-cooker whose lid was kept firmly in place by a strongman. The removal of Saddam unleashed the already-present factions, and allowed them free rein. The belief that Islamist fervour was not present before the fall of Saddam is nonsense.

M@ said...

Couldn't agree more, Anon. The belief that the Iraq invasion would be anything but a quagmire leading directly to a sectarian civil war was nothing but nonsense, even insanity.

Maybe someone should have told Bush and Cheney that before they invaded, then, eh? Oh, wait...

pretty shaved ape said...

jeez anon, what do you base your assertions on? is it blind speculation or just wishful thinking? iraq was indeed a secular state regardless of how that state was ruled, tariq aziz, former foreign minister and later, deputy prime minister under saddam was a christian. maybe you should go and read some of riverbend's posts to learn about the nature of life under the late dictator.

giving the bush coup a pass is just ignorant. there certainly were tensions within iraq but even in the immediate aftermath of the invasion, those tensions were allayed by the hope that there would be a new and better system of governance. the utter failure of the invasion and occupation to fulfill such hopes opened the door for extremists. the wasps nest is bush's legacy and grand achievement. they had no plan, they still have no plan and they own the mess that has resulted. they broke it, they have to own it.

you want to make assertions to the contrary, fine, back them up.

Anonymous said...

"jeez anon, what do you base your assertions on? "

I base my assertions on history: Iraq was stitched together by the League of Nations after WWI, giving Britain control of the area. The Sunni, the Shia, and the Kurds had no voice in the matter. Both the Shia and the Kurds fought against the British for independence and self-government. Iraq is much like the former Yugoslavia, a contrived arrangement only kept together by the force wielded by its strongman ruler. To call it a secular nation is incorrect because that implies a continuity it never had, its northernmost and southernmost regions preferring independence to confederation. The U.S. invasion did not create the internal tensions in Iraq, it only released them from the sure hand of Saddam which had kept them subdued. The American mistake was to not provide a similar firm hand to keep the lid on until a workable governing arrangement could be put into place.

pretty shaved ape said...

so according to history, social, secular and cultural differences create a permanent state of underlying tension that denies the reality of statehood. after all it has only been ninety years since what we now know as iraq was forged, regardless of certain groups desire to separate. hmm. what's the time limit on that sort of historically false state? is it a hundred years? a hundred and fifty?

is the united states only held together by the strong man president? after all they fought a civil war over secession in the 1860s. are those differences and simmering tensions no longer applicable, considering some of those states still fly the stars and bars, rebel flag? how about something closer to home. is canada a non-viable state? we have political parties and large scale socio-racial movements that have fought long and hard for separation. not to mention the issue of aboriginal self government creating a nation or nations within a nation.

hell, we've had our own home grown terrorists kidnap, bomb and kill in the names of their causes. there are no shortage of regional spites and bickering. by your logic there must be some glue that holds the dominion together. and what about all of those years before saddam came to power, that little gap between wwl and ba'athist rule?

my reading of the history of iraqi governance is not so much of secular strife as political. the ouster of the kings by military coup in the late 1950s was political not religious. it had more to do with the rise of pan-arab nationalism, though abdul-karim qassim eschewed the nassir movement. qassim was a popular leader for the most part although the military might he wielded was split by the war with kurdish factions. he was over thrown in 1963.

abdul-salam arif and the right wing ba'athists ousted qassim in a bloody wave of political violence. he turned his back on the ba'athists and became a dictator. folowing his death he was followed in power by his brother abdul-rahmann arif. he ruled for two years before he was overthrown by the ba'athists. that of course paved the way for the puppet government of ahmad hassan al-bakir and the eventual rise of saddam.

throughout the 20th century iraq was a secular state, not a theocracy. the current rise of theocratic, factional warfare has everything to do with george fuckwit bush's failed attempt to impose his twisted version of democracy. if you want to wave the history card you might want to actually, you know, read some fucking history.

that history is bloody and miserable but it is secular and political.