Friday, December 15, 2006

Foreign Policy Koan

If Dick Cheney is the one promoting the 80% solution--join with the Kurds and Shia and f- the Sunnis in Iraq--how is it he is also the one who is stopping Bush from engaging diplomatically with Iran (Shia) and further still wants a war with them?

How would the Shia in Iraq join us and be cool with watching their peoples next door get the squeeze (economically) or worse the hammer (militarily)?

Cheney recall as SecDef in the First Gulf War flipped from realist to pre-emptive unilateralist in Iraq because George HW Bush called for the Kurds and the Shia to rise up and then we didn't help them. We left the Shia in fact to be slaughtered. So I can't grasp how he gets by not abandoning the Shia as we did this time we bring them into power and how that doesn't mean you have to deal with Iran. It's a package deal.

In other news, The Baker Hamilton Report has been killed by Cheney. Wasn't perfect, but it had the majority of US support and the election meant more I think than just firing Don Rumsfield.

I don't take a position yea/nea on sending more troops into Baghdad. It can only be held for a very short term (like 3 months).

Baker-Hamilton was not about getting the neighbors to help us in Iraq only. They can only do so much as this point with the violence spreading as it is. It was about preventing the war from spilling beyond their borders. And more importantly it was about creating the regional security umbrella to deal with the new post-Saddam Middle East. Where Iran is empowered, Sunnis disempowered.

But Bush is too stubborn and/or ignorant to get that. What country in their right mind would submit to conditions for talks when the one calling for conditions is in a weakened state? Find me a historical analogy, I sure as hell can't think of one.

Two Washington Post journalists, Thomas Ricks and Rajiv Chandrasekaran each wrote a scathing attack on different aspects of the post-Saddam occupation.

Rick's (Fiasco) covers the military failures to recognize an insurgency, have the right number of troops, de-Baathification/disbanding of the Army, etc. etc.

Chandrasekaran's book Inside the Imperial City is about the Green Zone and the abymsal failure of post-war stabilization and economic buildup through the lens of the Green Zone. Instead of sending experts in language, post-war reconstruction, humanitarian disaster areas, etc. the Pentagon sent young Republicans from American Enterprise Institute. Candidates were asked who they voted for in the 2000 Election as part of their interviews for the job. Some were asked their positions on Roe v. Wade (I s--t you not).

They put 24 year olds, 21 year olds with no experience, some of whom had never even been outside of the US, some not even college graduates, in charge of things like the following: re-starting the Iraqi stock exchange, the sewers systems. Unbelievable.

That plus lack of troops and coherent strategy for fighting an insurgency--thank u Franks and Sanchez--spelled doom.

The Coalition Provisional Authority shut down--are you ready for this--200 state owned factories. Unemployment in some areas is 70%. Insurgency anyone?

The point is that there were two giant failures that doomed the post-Saddam occupation. One military, one reconstruction. We dPisbanded the army and put all those guys out of work. Take a wild guess what the second biggest employer in Iraq was? State owned factories? At least Paul Bremer and crew were consistent.

The Baker-Hamilton at best only really covered one: moving to training of troops and bringin in the regional players to lock down violence from spreading. It was only at best half-right. The top field commander in Iraq--Lt.Gen Peter Chiarelli--said on his leaving the country that tackling unemployment would do much better than trying to fight more insurgents in Baghdad.

Lord helps us.


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