Thursday, December 28, 2006

Iraq: Pace Pops the Cork on Troop Surge?

From the noise broadcast on MSNBC Thursday morning, it appears that Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Peter Pace will roll over and come out in support of a troop increase in Iraq. If this comes to pass, I'll hardly be surprised. It was just a matter of time before the generals fell in lockstep with the neoconservative plan to escalate the war, further militarize American society, and permanently commit U.S. foreign policy to global domination through armed force.

Earlier this week I noted that the escalation option was proposed by William Kristol side man Frederick Kagan in a presentation titled "Choosing Victory." Kagan's presentation also proposes an increase in the personnel end strength of America's Army and Marine Corps.

Young Mister Bush will most likely buy off on both proposals, which means that America is about to buy another one-way ticket to Palookaville.

New York Times Sells Neocon Madness--Again

Marc Santora is the latest New York Times reporter to wittingly or unwittingly be taken in by the neoconservative/military/industrial line of claptrap. In a December 28 piece, he alternately illustrates why the situation in Iraq is militarily unwinnable, yet echo chambers the standard Rovewellian points about why U.S. military force is necessary in Iraq.
BAGHDAD, Dec. 27--The car parked outside was almost certainly a tool of the Sunni insurgency. It was pocked with bullet holes and bore fake license plates. The trunk had cases of unused sniper bullets and a notice to a Shiite family telling them to abandon their home.

“Otherwise, your rotten heads will be cut off,” the note read.

The soldiers who came upon the car in a Sunni neighborhood in Baghdad were part of a joint American and Iraqi patrol, and the Americans were ready to take action. The Iraqi commander, however, taking orders by cell phone from the office of a top Sunni politician, said to back off: the car’s owner was known and protected at a high level.

For Maj. William Voorhies, the American commander of the military training unit at the scene, the moment encapsulated his increasingly frustrating task — trying to build up Iraqi security forces who themselves are being used as proxies in a spreading sectarian war. This time, it was a Sunni politician — Vice Prime Minister Salam al-Zubaie — but the more powerful Shiites interfered even more often.
“I have come to the conclusion that this is no longer America’s war in Iraq, but the Iraqi civil war where America is fighting,” Major Voorhies said.

Major Voorhies told Santra that, “I have come to the conclusion that this is no longer America’s war in Iraq, but the Iraqi civil war where America is fighting.”

It sounds like Major Voorhies finally took up the coffee habit.

Lieutenant Colonel Steven Mitska, who oversees combat operations in a large part of western Baghdad, told Santora that:
I have personally witnessed about a half-dozen of these incidents of what I would call political pressure, where a minister or someone from a minister’s office contacts one of these Iraqi commanders…

…These politicians are connected with either the militias or Sunni insurgents…

…I believe everyone, to some extent, is influenced by the militias… While some Iraqi security forces may be complicit with the militias, others fear for their families when confronting the militia, and that is the more pervasive threat…

…Who would design this mess?… It is like an orchestra where everyone is playing a different song.

It is a Hobbesian quagmire, one that our troops shouldn't be in the middle of. Santora quotes Major Voorhies as saying, “Sometimes I feel like I work for the Iraqi government,” and "I don't know what the answer is."

Major Voorhies isn't alone. Nobody knows what the answer is, because there isn't one.

But Voories and Miska are seemingly as clueless as are their uniformed and civilian leaders. As Santora reports:

Whatever plan the Bush administration unveils--a large force increase, a withdrawal or something in between--this country’s security is going to be left in the hands of Iraqi forces. Those forces, already struggling with corruption and infiltration, have shown little willingness to stand up to political pressure, especially when the Americans are not there to support them. That suggests, the commanders say, that if the Americans leave soon, violence will redouble. And that makes their mission, Major Voorhies and Colonel Miska say, more important than ever.

No. It makes the mission assigned to Voorhies and Miska more hopeless than ever, and the reportage of this "important mission" nonesense makes the New York Times as hapless as ever in its active or implicit support of the Bush administration's imperialistic agenda.

A "surge" won't work, and it won't be a surge. It will be a permanent escalation. And the neocons' proposed land force build up isn't a "strategic" national security move. It's a move designed to ensure that we can stay involved in somebody else's war for as long as somebody else's war lasts.

Which may be forever.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at Pen and Sword.


  1. Anonymous2:27 PM

    Recruiting overseas? So what's next replacing the Marine Corps utility cover with the "kepi blanc"?

  2. Well, it couldn't be "semper blanc" because that would just be too non-PC.

    In all this chatter about foreign recruitment I don't get the idea that they're necessarily planning to recruit that way for the Marines.

  3. I suspect that numbers wise, the Marines won't have to stoop to that level.

  4. The neo cons just cannot get it through their heads that a long term effort requires more than just a military effort. They have watched too many Ronald Reagan re-runs...and become so enamored with tax cuts and the money they are making to understand the global economy. Which is the other reason the idea of war without end is bad idea.

    China and India,as well as Russia are more than willing to let us continue to expend blood and treasure for a bunch of useless Arabs-they get to go on with buisness as usual and steal American jobs. Seems to me Britain went through something similar 60 years ago.

    Speaking of the Kepi, however, we seem unable to learn anything from the wearers of it because they are paid in Euro's. If we took the time we might find that they accomplished a lot with a lot less investment.

  5. SS,

    I certainly agree with your assessment of China, India and Russia. Good strategists, they're letting us do the damage to ourselves.

    And as to the neocons--yeah, think about somebody who thinks an endless war in which you're the only one throwing treasure and blood into, where does that somebody suppose that will lead?


  6. Anonymous2:40 PM

    As I recall, at the start of all this Russia, China (and France) were strongly against the Iraq war. Did we listen? Of course not. We own this mistake ourselves, no one else. If we keep looking for scapegoats where do we turn next? Iran, just ask Lieberman and his neocon pals.

  7. Yep. Iran and Rumsfeld, bearded partners in crime.