Young Mister Bush has rejected the description of the situation in Iraq as a "civil war." Can you believe it?
In a NATO summit speech in Latvia on Tuesday, he rejected the "pessimistic" assessments of his Middle East policy and vowed not to pull U.S. troops from Iraq until they accomplish the mission there.
How does he plan to accomplish the mission? By golly, he's going to break down and ask for advice from a trusted expert--Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki. From the Washington Post:
Previewing the message he will carry with him Wednesday to Amman, Jordan, where he is scheduled to meet Maliki, Bush said he would ask the Iraqi leader, "What do we need to do to succeed? What is your strategy in dealing with the sectarian violence?"
It's no surprise to me that Bush would turn for advice to the one head of state who's a bigger screw up than he is. Maliki's 24 point reconciliation plan, which he introduced back in June, has gone over like a lead zeppelin. Shia cleric and Mahdi Army leader Muqtada al-Sadr, once Malaki's main political ally, has publicly denounced the government and labeled Iraq's Sunnis as "terrorists." Asking Maliki for sound strategic advice is like trying to get milk from a bullfrog.
The next thing you know, Bush will seek marriage counseling from Pamela Anderson.
Tom Ricks, military correspondent with the Washington Post and author of Fiasco, revealed Tuesday on MSNBC that there's talk in the Pentagon of dropping the support of the reconciliation policy and throwing in with the Shiites. As crazy as that sounds, it makes a lot more sense than what we're doing now. Positioning troops in the middle of a multi-sided civil war and expecting their mere "presence" to accomplish anything defies wisdom learned from millennia of military history.
But which Shias do we side with? Al-Sadr has declared that "I am an enemy of America and America is my enemy until the last day of judgment." That doesn’t sound like the kind of talk old Dead or Alive Dubya is likely to cotton up to.
So if we throw our weight behind Maliki, we'll have to fight al-Sadr's followers as well as the Sunnis. And since Maliki is making coo noise with Iran and Syria, crawling in the sack with him will mean that we're rubbing bellies with the "axis of evil" as well.
Measures of Effectiveness
"Measures of effectiveness" (MOEs) are traditional metrics by which military planners and staffers determine the progress of a war. The best Iraq MOEs the Pentagon can come up with are things like "numbers of schools painted" and "total pieces of candy handed out to Iraqi kids."
Iraq has eclipsed Vietnam as the most incompetently run war in U.S. history. It's not a foreign policy pursuit of America's interests. It's a manhood measuring contest between Bush and the rest of the world, and he refuses to accept that he's coming up short.
Son of Stay the Course
Bush wants to win, but he doesn’t want to win in the Anbar province, which of course, means General Peter Pace (Joint Chiefs chairman), General John Abizaid (head of Central Command) and General George Casey (Iraq theater commander) don't either.
Sunni dominated al-Anbar is the main base of operations for al-Qaeda in Iraq. A recent Marine Corp intelligence assessment concluded that without a massive input of more troops, the situation there is "unwinnable."
Pace wants to move the U.S. troops in Anbar to Baghdad and turn Anbar over to Iraqi troops. Abizaid and Casey don't want to put any more U.S. troops in Iraq.
So in the "central front" of our war on terror, the Pentagon wants to abandon an entire province to the only actual terrorists in the country and place more U.S. troops into the central front of the Iraqi civil war.
The casual observer might think it would make more sense to take the troops in Baghdad out of the middle of the civil war and use them to reinforce the troops in Anbar to fight the terrorists, especially when Mister Bush claims that the violence in Iraq is "fomented in my opinion because of these attacks by al-Qaida causing people to seek reprisal."
We're not fighting them over there so we, uh…er…uhm…
With each passing day, it appears more and more that this war is being run by Porky Pig and the rest of the Loony Tunes.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.