Together at last!
Grab yourself a clean pair of knickers: it has happened. In a stunning strategic maneuver, the White House this week has simultaneously united factions within Iraq and subsequently united Congressional Democrats and Republicans. And the man with the plan? Donald Rumsfeld. No, I take that back. Donald Rumsfeld, The Great. I think an accomplishment of this magnitude deserves a suffix that hasn’t been deservedly wielded since Alexander.
In case you’ve been out of the loop this week, followers of Moqtada Sadr (the most prominent leader behind recent uprisings in Fallujah) are marching shoulder to shoulder with residents of Adhamiya, who are mostly (formerly rival) Sunnis. Well, the White House wanted democracy in Iraq, and what better evidence of a democratic nation could you possibly ask for than a good old-fashioned march?
Contrary to popular innuendo, the situation in Fallujah last week involving the killing and desecration of four non-military contractors was not the beginning. It was the final proof to those worldwide who were dubious of reports of Iraqi hatred for the U.S. campaign. But more importantly it was also the clear indicator of what many have been fearing since before the U.S. invaded Iraq: that the strategy behind the entire situation is seriously flawed, horribly myopic, insubstantial and a shaky platform inviting chaos, anarchy, and massive failure.
Here’s the bottom line. Rumsfeld screwed the pooch. His entire plan for the invasion of Iraq was that the conventional military wisdom of power by sheer strength and mass was outdated, and a new system, involving small elite packs of military specialty could do the job more efficiently, cheaper, and better. It would have been a good strategy, too, if the U.S. was taking over Key West with a squad of Robocops. Unfortunately, not only did this strategy fly directly in the face of the vast majority of military opinion, it forgot something: that the country would need to be run by someone after the war was declared over.
Don’t think the Pentagon didn’t think about this. They did. They told Rumsfeld. Didn’t matter. And people have been telling Rumsfeld, and the press, much the same since then. Everyone from the top brass down to the private who just flew into Baghdad last week can tell you what the problem is. Security and manpower. Things have been held with a loose and slippery grip since the “end” of the war, and without a firmer grip, control was slipping through the fingers.
But no. What few Iraqi police there are have been rushed through training and are either hiding, defecting, or getting slaughtered. As I write this, American military, currently training in Kuwait, may be rushed through their training, so they can try to catch up on the avalanche of chaos that could have been prevented well before an American combat boot stepped into Baghdad a year ago.
Think I’m exaggerating? Rep. Sen. Hagel and Dem. Sen. Joe Biden, both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, have indicated that the U.S. is losing control of the situation. Well, it’s nice to see they can agree on something besides a pay raise. Advisors from every side of the fence imaginable, from current generals to former ambassadors are shaking their heads, wondering exactly what the plan was from the start. I don’t care what your political affiliation is. The situation is tail spinning into a desperate downward spiral.
As much as I would like to, I can’t compare this to the final steps before the fall of Saigon. Despite many recent correlations drawn, this is nothing like Vietnam. The South Vietnamese never teamed up with the NVA. This situation is unprecedented, and unless something is done swiftly that is not in the same vein as what has been done, then 30 years from now, people will be making parallels to Iraq that grossly exceed the negative associations that we currently make with Vietnam.
What the media should be asking is this: at what point do you realize that the current strategy (whatever the hell it is) is not working? And if/when that realization is reached, what is plan B?
While we’re at it, one more question. In the past week, at least 459 Iraqis have been killed (280 since Monday). How many of them were al-Qaida and/or harboring WMD? That is why we’re there, isn’t it?