Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Washington Post piece on Iraq

As the Chickenhawks in the US Senate refuse to debate the ongoing Civil War in Iraq, the Washington Post has an interesting story on what's going on in Iraq now.

The American and Iraqi plan to pacify the capital rests on the assumption that U.S. troops can win the trust of a wary population by protecting civilians trapped amid sectarian warfare. Each day, U.S. soldiers go door-to-door in the city, searching bedrooms and bathrooms, cabinets and closets, for unauthorized weapons. The operations also offer a chance to cultivate Iraqis as sources of information about the violence entangling their neighborhoods.

"I don't think the infantry or pretty much anyone in the United States Army are properly trained to deal with the guerrilla tactics these guys use against us," said Spec. Jeffrey Steele, 22. "This is a policing thing, you know. It needs more investigation into how these guys work, where they're located. I don't think we can do any better."

Our military is not designed to be a police force. Having spoken to a local Iraqi War Vet recently, the Rules of Engagement (ROE) hinder our forces and in fact, put them in harms way. It is hauntingly similar to Vietnam. While the President eluded to lifting ROE restrictions, why did it take 4 years to do this? What changed?

The biggest thing that has changed is the political landscape in Washington. Democrats in the US House have tremendous power to impose it's will with regards to Iraq, they control the purse strings per se. The US Senate is still too close to call, although if we keep fumbling around Iraq, the 08 election will continue to be a Democratic onslaught. The President is now a lame duck and cannot push his agenda. He will use the power of the veto and force Congress to override it, while putting more and more Americans in harms way.
After the patrol on Thursday, Sgt. Michael Hiler, 26, stepped down from his Humvee and described the day's effort as "stupid." "We should have pulled out a long time ago," Hiler said. "It's going to take the hand of God to change anything about what we do here, which is nothing. This country's going to fall apart sooner or later, and at this point I say, 'Good riddance.' "

Multiple and long deployments have taken their toll on our soldiers. The problem is exacerbated by the not having a clearly defined objective.

We "liberated" Iraq, killing more than a half million civilians in the process.

Saddam Hussein has been captured, tried, and executed for his crimes against humanity.

There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Now, we are police officers without a clear objective.

If we truly are fighting a global war on terror why are we in Iraq? Mr. 3000 has stated time and time again that "our biggest threat is al-Qaeda".

Where is al-Qaeda the strongest? Where is it based out of? Pakistan.

$400 a minute, since the birth of Christ is being spent on this 'war".

A half trillion dollars is gone and we have a lack of government accountability on where the money is going.

Our nation is viewed, by nations around the world, as the "biggest threat to world peace".

We have spent more than a billion dollars on survivors benefits to our soldiers families.

More than 22,000 have been seriously wounded in Iraq.

More come back everyday with the hidden scars of war, struggle to overcome PTSD and other mental ailments and succumb to it's power.

And more than 3100 have been killed.

All the while, our nation tries a man who refused to deploy, questioning the legality of the order.

The time has come for the madness to end.

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