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Friday, February 13

Design Flaw  

"It's their country, it's their future," [Gen. John Abizaid] said in the interview at his headquarters in Qatar. "Our job is to help them help themselves." As expected the total disconnect between US stated policy and US action in Iraq continues. I've come to expect the bare minimum of both effort and results from the various foreign and domestic boondoggles in which this administration engages, but Robert Burns's reporting of Gen. Abizaid's comments has me once again banging my head against the wall.
He added that the intention is to maintain a steady momentum toward a normalized country, not to rush the transition from occupation to sovereignty in order to ease the burden on the American military.
When the general says that the US has an intention, does he mean that we intend first to reverse the current momentum, because the current momentum is toward a civil war, not toward a normalized country? If the result of whatever design the general mentions twice were not the continued killing and maiming of US soldiers, his comments would be amusingly foolish. Try to piece together exactly what it is the general is telling us about what the goal of the US is in Iraq over the next 6 months:
  • "We have to take risk to a certain extent, by taking our hands off the controls," Gen. John Abizaid said one day after he escaped injury in a gun battle at an Iraqi security command post in the city of Fallujah.
  • "It's not designed to rush, to push them out front so we can go away," he said. "It's designed to allow Iraq to emerge as a moderate state where people have respect for law and order."
  • "Any security service is going to be infiltrated. The question is, is it going to be infiltrated to the point where it undermines the effectiveness of the security institution, and I think the answer is no."
  • Abizaid said it was not yet clear whether it would result in a "hard landing" — a rise in tension and violence that requires the U.S. military to maintain the large force of more than 100,000 troops that it has there now.
  • Abizaid said he thought it more likely there will be a "soft landing," possibly allowing the American military to gradually reduce its presence. "A soft landing does not mean, however, that there won't be violence," he added. "I actually believe that violence will probably increase as we move toward a sovereign Iraqi entity because the people that are intent upon making this fail will work very hard to undermine the legitimacy of any government and tend to sow chaos."
  • "The police are the key to getting the local situation calmed down, criminal behavior under control, and restoring people's confidence that they can go to work (and) do what they need to do with some reasonable degree of protection."
  • He added, however, that the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps unit in Fallujah is not yet prepared to handle that kind of hostile situation. He said they had been in training for two or three weeks.
At what point does the general unzip his face mask and reveal himself to be this man? As near as I can tell, the general is telling us that the situation in Iraq continues to spiral out of control. The US will stay in Iraq until next year at least, but will pull itself back into certained secured areas in order to reduce the number of US casualties (read: bad headlines). Simultaneously, the US will push out in front of itself a human shield of freshly trained Iraqi cadets to police the country. The spin on said actions will be that the US is handing over sovereignty to the Iraqi people, ergo any continued violence is their own damn fault. Eventually the Iraqi people will realize that they don't want violence and viola stable democracy. Oh, and one more thing, once US troops are in their protected green zones, and 'sovereignty' is handed over to the Iraqis, the whole mess becomes the problem of the US Dept. of State who will then be blamed for everything that has gone wrong with this fiasco since late 2002.


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