Wednesday, August 31, 2005

From a Different Voice...

This from frequent P&S contributor "Lurch," republished on the front page with his permission.


Jeff, even though I admire GEN Clark deeply, as a soldier, leader, and American, I agree with you that he is looking at this the wrong way around. We broke it, we bought it, we have to fix it, and sadly, the way we've been going about it is all wrong. While partnering US and native (used in its literal sense and not as an ethnic slur) may seem like a wise idea, the fact is that the Iraqi patriots (because that's what they are) just want us OUT of there. There has to be a level of trust established before we can undo what we've done.

We had no business going in there to begin with. That's been pretty well established, right, class?

Now we need to find the best way out. We're not going to beat them using standard military methods. We haven't the required forces, the funds, or time. We need three or four times the troops on the ground that we have now to **attempt** to pacify the country enough to begin to rebuild the economy we destroyed. The Marshall Plan worked after WWII because the German Army had been defeated, the populace's spirit and will to resist had finally collapsed and the populace was unarmed, and unable to maintain effective communications for coordination of resistance. These circumstances do not exist in Iraq.

We haven't the funds because we've squandered it all on Halliburton, KBR, Bechtel, unrecorded cash distributions to anyone who held out his hand, and God! It must have been heady days for bankers in Beirut, Liechtenstein and the Bahamas!

Having actually had some basic experience in trying to pacify an unwilling populace during the late unpleasantness in SE Asia I claim some slight degree of expertise. We can't accomplish our task without the cooperation of the populace.

I looked up Dr. Krepinevich's cv. It's all theory - school studies, monographs and lectures, and I always remember the difference between theory and practice, so I don't think he's got it right.

As a nation we need to "get right with the Lord" by which I mean we have to face the UN, admit we fucked up, ask for help and military assistance while we pour - pour - money into rebuilding the infrastructure. The military assistance is needed to keep 'em from blowing up the electrical plants as fast as we rebuild them. This will take years. Electricity is needed for any reasonable semblance of civilization in that country. That will enable us to power small businesses, industry, schools, hospitals - the list is endless.

Until Iraqis can see us honestly try to rebuild the civilization we destroyed they are not going to let up. Anything less will just create more agony for us, and in the long run, we WILL suffer for it in the US home cities.

How to pay for all this?

Well, there are those billions and billions in tax cuts up for renewal...

Oh, and let's stop babbling on about the "death tax", m'kay? I mean, really.... less that than 1 percent of the nation's citizens are affected. They get the benefits of livng in the US. They need to pay their own way. If they don't like it, I hear Australia is always looking for immigrants.

(Jeff's note: I'm not a big supporter of so-called "wealth distribution" aka "socialism," but I think Lurch makes a good point about the "death tax." That 1 percent of the nation's citizens possess something like 40 percent of the nation's wealth, which equates to almost complete control of the nation's body politic. So, yeah, if they want to have that much control over policy, let them pay for a little of it.)


  1. tootie11:03 AM

    Unlike many other "experts", at least General Clark has an IDEA. Good, bad or indifferent it is something to think about. Much better than 'stay the course' and 'war is hard work'.

  2. That I'll agree with. I'm especially on board with WC's assertion that the present admin has conducted a mililtary-centric policy and, in essence, threw diplomacy out the window--perhaps for the remainder of their tenure.


  3. "So, yeah, if they want to have that much control over policy, let them pay for a little of it."

    Indeed, but then, they will fight tooth and nail for even more tax cuts let alone give back those they already enjoy.

    They will do that complaining all the time about how bad the roads, schools, etc. are.

    The point is that there are items that can be called "Commons" these are those areas and programs that are common to the maintenance and security of the nation, and that includes a covenant with the people providing an economic and social floor below which no citizen will be allowed to sink.

    Anyway, you get the picture and it is obvious Lurch does as well.

    Kudos. Now let's work together with an eye towards making it happen beginning in, say, 2006.

  4. The interesting thing is that the wingnut contingent is sooo insistent that there are no ideas at all from our side, and they keep on pounding that over and over again ad nauseum on all their Media Poodle outlets, Faux/CNBC/MSGOP fact John Kerry talked in some detail about a multilateral/internationalist approach to ending the war. I think he understood two things clearly: (1) he'd been snookered into voting for the invasion and (2) we can't/couldn't go it alone much longer.

    The Primary Neocon strategy for the conversion of Iraq to a friendly US-client state depended wholly on their interpretation of Chalabi and Curveballs intelligence, that we would be welcomed with rose-petals and candy. Unfortunately, the combination of Hubris and ignorance of the history of the made-up country called Iraq led to an end-point exactly 180 out from the intended solution, and now few politicians wants to be the first to stand up and say "we wuz wrong", lets GTFOD. Truthfully, that can't happen now anyhow, but Lurch is right, a reduced US military presence in Iraq, coupled with an increased international force and a large (let's say TOTAL) cash infusion by the US to rebuild their infrastructure might accomplish the goal of at least returning them to some semblance of peace before the end of this decade, and that's not a real long time.

    Unfortunately, none of the European countries who both have experience in the middle east and the logistic ability to support operations trust the 1600 Crew worth a damn, after all they're "old Europe". It's probably going to take a complete change of leadership at all levels of the government here before we even begin to be trusted by our putative allies again, much less those opposed to us, with whom we have to negotiate occaisionally (North Korea & Co.?)

    You have to wonder if the mass of folks who voted for Bunnypants will see the devastation in the deep south, and equate the lack of actual domestic preparedness, security and the ability with resources that should be here to respond (both money and manpower), to the wasteful misadventures in Mess O'Potamia. They might start wondering as they see their neighbors homeless and hurting from what's been called the greatest natural disaster in US history if Cindy Sheehan is right, what exactly is our "noble cause" if not taking care of each other.

  5. Bob and Joe:

    So many thanks for thought and input.

    Somewhere soon I'll post something on the front page about why I'm pinging on these "new strategies" a bit. I fear many Americans will (have?) become so desperate for a "way out of the quagmire" that they'll be tempted to look for magic solutions.

    And I'm afraid there just aren't any. Yes, almost anything would be better. But it won't be good.