As Colonel Tim Reese noted in July, “The ineffectiveness and corruption of [Iraqi government] Ministries is the stuff of legend.” Of Iraq’s security forces, Reese reported that “Corruption among officers is widespread, Cronyism and nepotism are rampant in the assignment and promotion system,” and “Laziness is endemic.”
According to Gen. Ray “Desert Ox” Odierno, U.S. commander in Iraq, these concerns are mere “tactical issues.” Good God. Can the man we put in charge of our national quagmire really be that dense? (Silly question, never mind.)
Odie has another tactical issue staring him in the puss. Iraq’s parliament can’t agree on election law, and the constitutionally mandated elections in January won’t take place if they can’t pass a law this week. The Pentagon says a delay in the election will push back the troop drawdown scheduled for next year. I’m sure Babe Odierno is awash in crocodile tears over that. (Odierno wants to keep at least 30,000 troops in Iraq through 2014 or so).
Neocon vampire Max Boot, recently wined and dined in Iraq by the U.S. military, says "The sense I got is that the Americans are more worried about this than the Iraqis." Boot is one of the yahooligans who got us into our Mesopotamian miasma in the first place. Boot is a piece of dreck. He’s a right-wing gun for hire, and not a particularly good one. He argues that because Hamid Karsai’s government is so corrupt is a reason to support it, as if we can make a corrupt government less corrupt by pouring more graft into it.
Boot was on the same grand tour of Iraq as David Ignatius of the Washington Post who did a verbal sex piece on David Petraeus that must have made Petraeus’s main squeeze Tom Ricks jealous. Boot and Ignatius both tried to make nothing of the double bombings in Baghdad on Sunday, Nov. 1, the worst attacks Iraq has seen in two years. Twit Ignatius was on a “purple rain” helicopter tour of Baghdad with King David when the bombs went off. (“Signs of recovery seemed to be everywhere,” Ignatius gushed.)
The hideous Boot said that despite the attacks, “Life has returned to a semblance of normality in Baghdad and other areas. A few high-profile attacks — this one or the one in August — do not change the fundamental, day-to-day reality of life getting better.”
The warmongery wants it both ways. We’re winning, we’re making progress, we can’t give up now, but don’t expect good things.
Babe Odierno himself says, "I'm not sure we will ever see anyone declare victory in Iraq, because first off, I'm not sure we'll know for 10 years or five years.” I hope that the Iraqi government and security forces are able to mature, and that we’re able to swoosh out of there for good by December 2011 as the Status of Forces Agreement calls for. But I’m not willing to bet you an Illinois quarter on it.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the Afghanistan surge would look much like the Iraq surge. God help us. Mullen, whose father was a Hollywood publicity agent, is the military’s senior bull feather merchant. The last thing we need is another Iraq surge.
Some Iraqi legislators are saying we aren’t doing enough to resolve their differences. Khalaf Ulayyan, a Sunni lawmaker known for his criticism of American interference, now says we’re not interfering enough. "We want them to intervene for the sake of Iraq. We want more commitment by America because it's an occupying power," he says. "We want them to come up with a proposal that would provide a solution."
Here’s a proposal for you, Khalaf: get your act together.
That Mullen would frame the Iraq surge as a “model” is farcical. Even sillier is his admonition that Afghan President Hamid Karzai "has got to take significant steps to eliminate corruption."
"That means that you have to rid yourself of those who are corrupt, you have to actually arrest and prosecute them. You have to show those visible signs," Mullen told reporters at a Washington event.
So Karzai is supposed to take his drug-dealing brother who’s on the CIA’s payroll and do what with him, Mikey? Spank him? Give him an enema?
One would think that the Iraq example would teach us that we don’t want to repeat the experience, yet that’s what we’re being exhorted to do in Afghanistan by Mullen and David Petraeus and the rest of the Long War mafia.
As Andrew Bacevich notes, “Anyone inclined to put Iraq in the nation’s rearview mirror is simply deluded. Not long ago, General Raymond Odierno, Petraeus’s successor and the fifth U.S. commander in Baghdad, expressed the view that the insurgency in Iraq is likely to drag on for another five, ten, or fifteen years. Events may well show that Odierno is an optimist.”