Cigars in the Sand

Commentary, Notes and Pictures from my time in Iraq

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Location: Baghdad, Iraq

Farmer by genetics, Lawyer by training, currently "vacationing" in Iraq and advising the Iraqi government on border security issues. Before moving to Baghdad, I served in the White House as Deputy Counsel for the Homeland Security Council. I can be reached at opusxryanathotmaildotcom.

Monday, January 10, 2005

"Conservative" Crap

The penalty you all pay for looking at my pics is that occasionally you have to sift through my political commentary.

Lest folks think I only have strong words for the left, here's my thoughts on this poorly reasoned and researched article. As someone who considers himself "conservative" on many issues, this one insults me -- especially since its under the banner of a "Conservative" publication.

Line by line, 'til I'm exhausted:

"We were rushed into the war in Iraq by the assertion that little, poor, remote Iraq was at the point of attacking mighty America"

Eh. I must have missed this one. or maybe no one ever claimed Iraq was on the verge on attacking the US. Furthermore, the WMD argument was only one of the justifications, and even that argument was about proliferation and supplying WMD to terrorists, not about imminent direct Iraqi attacks on the US.

"When I was the member of the U.S. State Department’s Policy Planning Council responsible for the Middle East"

Ahh yes, if only we'd listened to the State Dept! This is the "tell" that crap is forthcoming.

"American soldiers, often not knowing why they are in Iraq but only that they are getting shot at in 50 to 100 attacks each day, are fearful. Against an indistinguishable enemy, who fades into the general population, their fear turns into general hatred."

Sorry, I haven't run across too many "fearful" soldiers over here. And while I'm sure there may be some "hatred", I beg to differ that the average GI hates Iraqis.

"To GIs, the natives are “ragheads,” just as in Vietnam they were “gooks.” "

Methinks the gentleman has watched "Three Kings" too many times. I don't hear too much slang to describe the Iraqis, but when I do, its Haji, not raghead. Haji is the term used to describe someone who has made the pilgrimage to Saudi. Not exactly the same as "gook."

"Hatred of the enemy appeared in a film made by NBC News inside a mosque in Fallujah showing a Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi."

The mosque shooting has already been dissected. We will probably soon know whether or not is what legally justified. But we already know that the Marine who pulled the trigger had faced a similar enemy the day before who was covering a grenade that took out some of his countrymen.

"Thus, even when, as in the Fallujah battle, the insurgents were outnumbered at least 20:1, and it was obvious that they could not win against a phalanx of helicopters, gunships, fighter-bombers, tanks, and artillery, they fought to become martyrs for their cause and thus to inspire others to take up their mission."

I wish the terrorists would have all stayed to become "martyrs" in Fallujah. But really, most of them fled prior to the US going in.

"Guerrilla warfare is not new."

True. But the terrorists are not generally engaging on guerilla war, which is defined as attacks by soldiers without uniforms on uniformed forces. Most Iraqi attacks target civilians, as the staggering death toll of Iraqis clearly demonstrates.

"Saddam Hussein’s regime was certainly evil, but Iraq was not a terrorist state. It had no significant relationship with any terrorist organization as the American, British, and Israeli intelligence agencies knew."

Argh. I've really tired of shooting this one down over and over again. Iraq openly harbored terrorists, including al Qaeda's man in Iraq, Zarqawi. And the actual findings of the 9/11 Commission report describe discussions between al Qaeda and Saddam, although no formal agreement was ever reached (does al Qaeda sign agrements?). As for the mention of Israel in this context, well, I'll leave that to you folks for why this gent is mentioning Israel at this juncture . . . . (Hint: it's the Zionist war!)

"Iraq has changed under American blows so that it is now a prime recruiting ground and justification for terrorism."

Wait, I thought he said a few paras before that "have mistakenly acted as though terrorism was a thing or a group against which one can fight." So how can it be a recruiting ground for a mere "tactic"?

"The first option has been called “staying the course.” In practice, that means continued fighting. France “stayed the course” in Algeria in the 1950s as America did in Vietnam in the 1960s and as the Israelis are now doing in occupied Palestine. It has never worked anywhere."

Er, other than Germany, Japan, etc. And looky looky, "occupied Palestine"! Yes, if only those damn Israelis would stop fighting the Palestinians. What? Israel offered Arafat a Palestinian state in exchange for shutting down the terrorist groups there? Don't remind me.

"After four decades of warfare against the Palestinians, the Israelis have achieved neither peace nor security."

See above.

"Both sides commit atrocities."

Moral ambivalency alert! The difference is, the Coalition "atrocities" are mistakes or abherations, the terrorist atrocities were planned to be, well, atrocities.

"Viewing the devastation of Fallujah, one correspondent wrote, “Even the dogs have started to die, their corpses strewn among twisted metal and shattered concrete in a city that looks like it forgot to breathe … The city smelled like dust, ash—and death.” Viewing the same scene, the deputy commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force said, “This is what we do … This is what we do well.” This is not new or unique; it is classic. "

Ah yes, the out-of-context juxtaposition. I'm fairly certain the MEF commander wasn't referring to dogs dying. In fact, I'm pretty sure he was talking about the dead terrorists ("corpses", in the writer's flowery description).

"Much has been made also of the constitution we wrote for the Iraqis."

Umm, the Iraqis are going to write their own constitution; that will be the primary function of the assembly set for election on January 30th. I think he is referring to the Transition Administrative Law, a quasi-constitutional document that, among other things, spells out the timeline towards Iraqis creating their own permanent constitution.

"The second step, more difficult, is to make a truce and pull back its forces. If President Bush could be as courageous as Gen. Charles de Gaulle was in Algeria when he called for a “peace of the brave,” fighting would quickly die down."

So the writer's solution is a prompt withdrawal. And step 2 is to make a truce. I spit out my coke when I read that. Oh yes, lets make a truce with the terrorists, that will definitely work. Maybe we can even propose an elaborate signing ceremony with Zarqawi, the Baathists, the Syrian fighters and the Iranian fighters. I'm sure that "fighting would quickly die down."

"A UN multinational peacekeeping force would be easier, cheaper, and safer."

Yes but first we'd have to convince the UN to return to Iraq in significant numbers and force. Hmmmm. Maybe after the fighting quickly dies down. But then why would we need peacekeeping forces? I'll have to think about that one some more.

There's more of course; but its Monday and I'm already depressed reading this "conservative" argument for giving up.

Back soon to your regularly scheduled programming . . .