Sunday, July 15, 2007
A Modest Proposal
George Bush states that he needn't listen to the people of the United States, who see clearer than the Boy in the White House Bubble that we have lost any hope of a good outcome in Iraq, but will only listen to the military commanders, all of whom have spent their entire adult lives automatically saying "Can do, Sir!"
Of course, some military men can rise above that training and become great statesmen in their own right, such as George Marshall. But this Administration has made it clearer than need be that it wants no such men or women, with its reaction to Gen. Eric Shinseki's insistence that much more than 150,000 troops would be needed to secure Iraq.
How about listening then to the Iraqis themselves:
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki yesterday shrugged off US doubts about his government's military and political progress, saying Iraqi forces are capable and American troops can leave "any time they want."That's not all.
One of Maliki's close advisers, Shi'ite lawmaker Hassan al-Suneid, unhappy over American pressure, said "the situation looks as if it is an experiment in an American laboratory [judging] whether we succeed or fail."Just to be clear about how this is going to go among the Iraqis once we, sooner or later, leave, al-Suneid continued:
He sharply criticized the US military, saying it was committing human rights violations and embarrassing the Iraqi government through such tactics as building a wall around Baghdad's Sunni neighborhood of Azamiyah.
He also criticized US overtures to Sunni groups in Anbar and Diyala provinces, encouraging former insurgents to join the fight against Al Qaeda in Iraq. "These are gangs of killers," he said.The only somewhat hopeful sign we can point to at all -- that some Sunnis are also tired of Al Qaeda -- is, to a major government figure, just an occasion to vent Shi'ite sectarianism. Add to that the fact that the Iraqi Parliament is taking a one-month vacation in the midst of this disaster. Perhaps we are supposed to be grateful that it is a shorter break than the usual two months.
How about this, then: every day that the Iraqi Parliament is out of session, let's have our troops take a vacation too. Pull 'em back into their air-conditioned bases, rather than having them moving around and fighting in full body armor in those 130 degree days that are too much for Iraqi politicians. This will have the added benefit of letting the Iraqi forces show off their capabilities and giving us some sort of idea of what would happen when we do leave.
Unfortunately, I suspect it wouldn't be pretty. But maybe that would make more Iraqis appreciate the need to work together.