I had to say one last thing about the Iraq situation before leaving on a short vacation.
Saturday, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki again called for an end to sectarian violence in that country. The same day, police found 20 bodies in various districts of Baghdad. Sunday, Reuters reports, a car bomb killed nine people in central Baghdad. This was after a car bomb attack on the offices of the government owned newspaper al-Sabah that killed two people.
All this occurred in the middle of a major security operation being conducted in Baghdad by U.S. and Iraqi troops.
Bombs also exploded on Sunday in the Iraqi towns of Khalis and Kirkuk.
In late June, Malaki proposed a 24 point national reconciliation plan that included an amnesty offer to insurgents who had not been involved in terrorist attacks. This was interpreted by many to mean that insurgents who had only fought U.S. and other coalition occupying forces would not be considered criminals. As of late August, according to Reuters, no major Sunni rebel group has signed on to the reconciliation plan.
Earlier this week, young Mister Bush said, “We’re not leaving [Iraq] so long as I’m the president. That would be a huge mistake.”
"Not leaving" is the closest thing Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and their yes sir generals have come to expressing a coherent strategy in Iraq. Don't be taken in by talk that the administration just isn't good at explaining the strategy to the American people. The administration is good at explaining everything from ignoring treaties to justifying torture to ignoring the constitution to exposing the identity of a CIA agent to…
They can't explain the strategy for "victory" in Iraq because there isn't one.
Last October, I identified the top Ten Bad Reasons to Stay in Iraq. You still hear some of these bromides bouncing around the echo chamber, and they sound every bit as ridiculous as they did ten months ago.
But what we're hearing more and more lately is something I call the "testosterone challenge." If we leave Iraq now, we'll show that Americans are weak, don't have the stomach to do what needs to be done, are lacking in resolve. Lacking in resolve… Brother. I've said it before: getting in a bar fight over a girl you just met shows resolve. Waking up in jail with two missing teeth and three broken ribs shows how stupid you are. Going back to the same bar and getting in the same fight over the same girl is utter insanity.
What we're doing in Iraq right now is even worse than that. We're standing in the middle of somebody else's bar fight, and our political leaders are trying to convince us we're all a bunch of sissies if we don't stay in the middle of it.
Staying in Iraq won't prevent the country from falling into a civil war. It's already fallen into a civil war, one that's spiraling into near-total Hobbesian conflict (which we can't prevent either.) The war hawks warn us that if we leave Iraqi the chaos may spill out into the rest of the Gulf region, but our presence there certainly isn't preventing that from happening. We can't contain the violence within Iraq itself--if it spreads across the borders, there's nothing we'll be able to do about it.
So if we can't stop the violence inside Iraq and can't keep it from spreading, what are we doing? There is no military solution, and no amount of American "political will" can change that reality. What we need is the kind of political will it takes to say, "enough is enough."
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.