Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Rwanda in the Desert?

Here is an excellent summation of one’s man’s qualms about the Iraqi war - past, present, and future. In “A March Up Country,” Hank F_M sets out his premises:

I was very [ambivalent] about the war to begin with. There was a stable balance of power in the region, but stable balance of powers can protect genocidal governments for years. Sadam was accused of following what Hans Morgantahau called an anti-status quo policy, I thought it was a prestige policy, but the two are often difficult to tell apart, and he had invaded two counties. Saddam got more from the prestige of out of having (or having people think he had) WMD’s than he could ever get from using them outside Iraq, but what ever you think chemical weapons do to people it is much worse, and he did use them in past. My pre-blog comments have long since disappeared off the net. Paul Cella expressed what I was thinking then and said it better than I did.

Whatever one thinks of the war the Secretary of Defense had very misguided ideas on how to run a Defense Department and fight a war.

And then his conclusions about the present:
- - - - - - - - - -
And despite all that, owing more to the troops on the ground and the Iraqis, the military situation in Iraq, while difficult, is nowhere near as bad as the press reports would have you believe.

As Hank says, this Americentric notion of a quick pull-out is wrong on any number of levels:

With all the discussion on the possibility of a withdrawal it seems that most of the discussion is an Americentric approach to US domestic politics. Some even give the impression that they see the issue is about George Bush, what happens to Iraq, neighboring countries, US ability to conduct international relations in the future, or even US troops in Iraq is unimportant or a distraction. Yes, one can have differences of opinion about Bushes policies, I do, but harming our country and others for what ultimately amounts to patronage and contacts is just plain stupid.

But it was “just plain stupid” greed and ambition that motivated the State Department flunkies in Iraq in 2003 to foul the nest.

Here is my post on the situation as described by Ken Joseph, an Assyrian Christian who was there, who witnessed the situation up close and who blames two kinds of Americans for what went down:

The good guys, were the “aw shucks” Americans that came into Iraq and did their best to organize, fix and restore Iraq. They could not imagine that anyone would purposely try to work against what clearly the Iraqis wanted.

I watched them, many times with tears in my eyes as they worked so hard, under such terrible conditions to make things better for Iraq.

“Why are you here?” I would ask over and over. The answer was always the same: “I just want the Iraqis to have what we have. Just doing my job!”

How simple, how naïve and yet how powerful.

[…]

[This was]The first group that “lost Iraq”… the “good guys” — the men and women who gave of their lives and their time to rebuild Iraq so the Iraqis could be free.

[…]

The second group? “The opportunists”. These were many of the people working in the CPA — Coalition Provisional Authority who were there not to see Iraq restored, but simply to get a good line on their résumés and to get a job in the new administration.

A year ago [he means 2002 - D.] those who were hoping for a job in a Kerry Administration had every incentive to see Iraq fail. While it is very difficult to point to specific instances, put yourself in the position of a staffer desperate for a job in a Kerry administration in January.

The best way to insure it? For Iraq to fail! Did it happen? I am absolutely confident it did. I saw it every day!

I am putting out a call to all who were working at CPA headquarters and others to come forward with details of how the “opportunists” worked against success simply to insure they would have a job in January!

A “forgotten” poster which was supposed to be posed all over the country announcing the plans of the CPA. “Accidentally” delayed telephones, computer systems and a host of other supplies we saw daily.

A whole class of staffers working subconsciously and often consciously to in their own little small way have Iraq “fail” so they could get a job in a new administration which would be directly linked to the failure of Iraq.

Never underestimate the stupidity of people when their main focus is their main chance…and to hell with anyone else. These people were ambitious and their ambition cost the US dearly.

If the Cindy Sheehans of the world want to march anywhere, it ought to be to the State Department. That byzantine den of corruption isn’t called “Foggy Bottom” just because of the landscape.

“A March Up Country” leaves us with seven possible scenarios if we simply withdraw from Iraq due to political pressure. Scroll down to the bottom of Hank’s post to see what he (and Austin Bay) envision in the way of alternative outcomes if there is a quick withdrawal of American forces. Most of it is not pretty, though they offer one thin thread of hope.

I believe it will be “Rwanda in the desert” except there will be more than two factions going about their bloody work of destruction.

6 comments:

Sir Henry Morgan said...

I know this is completely off topic, and you'll probably take it down - there are several reasons you might do that. But it's one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time and I just HAVE to post it and see.

http://tinyurl.com/38ftfk

If you like it, spread it around anywhere and everywhere you can. The bloke I got it from wont mind.

Donald Douglas said...

Rwanda in the desert, hmmm...that's an interesting way to look at it. I do think if we can gain enough time with Congress and the public, we'll be able to prevail in Iraq.

Let's see how things turn out!

hank_F_M said...

Dymphna

Thank you for taking the time to provide a thoughtful comment on my post.

Your post you link explains the back ground very well, it is worth reading.

I agree, "Rwanda in the Desert" is all to likely to be the result of an abrupt wiithdrawl. And I don’t think the (figurative I hope) fall out will be limited to Iraq.

P.S>

And take care of yourself, getting well is more important than blogging.

A Jacksonian said...

There are some things that the West does not want to understand about the Middle East, and the prime one is the fractured nature of the region under the authoritarian regimes in power. A good piece to start on the nature of the underlying social structures is Norvell B. De Atkine's Why Arab Armies Lose Wars. To get to the highly factional form of governance seen there must be multiple underlying splits within the populations of their Nations. De Atkine goes into that, and I pick up that analysis theme with an article on Unreal 'Realists' in Foreign Policy. It is extremely and highly disturbing that the West refuses to process these two things together to start examining the Nature of the extended region we call the Middle East.

What is amazing, and highly disingenuous by the Left and by a number of folks on the Right, is delimiting Post-War analysis to years with a 194_ or higher prefix. I scratch a bit deeper on Post-Warism and look at basic lessons the US learned (pretty much in secondary school level) that seem to have been totally erased from memory of those wanting a perfect post-war situation. Beyond that a region with a high degree of similarity in the multitude of social, ethnic, political, and religious fractures can be found and it is extremely disturbing as an analog, as it is the one place the West has failed in liberal democracy and communist modes: Yugoslavia.

Using that analogy, applying it across an area stretching from the Sinai to western China, the Empty Quarter to the steppes of Russia yields a region with horrific income capability and that is pretty close to being at dagger points if the authoritarian regimes ever fail. Iraq is at the heart of all of that my Peace in the Middle East: a checklist and Faultlines of the Middle East views.

What one gets from that is *not* Rwanda... we should be so lucky.

A Middle East fracturing along its major sectarian, tribal, ethnic and cultural faults, which all criss-cross each other in ways that cannot be easily delineated, does not get one a simple two-sided affair. Look at the Balkans. Two sides?

Unlike the Balkans the Middle East has no hard and fast set of Nations that can easily resist fracturing until you get up into Europe and out to India. China, on its western portion, suffers from the final diminution of those faults... unless the sectarian fracturing hops out to SE Asia. The Moros are already pressing this in the Philippines and Indonesia and Thailand have seen their share of troubles, along with Bangladesh. Europe's history has seen other religious conflicts suddenly spread widely and deeply for very little overt reason, save sectarian differences that built up to a breaking point. That is a good rough and ready description of Islam today.

The final concern is the spread into sub-Saharan Africa and S. America, especially the Tri-Border Area but even into the Caribbean, of radicalized Islam. How far the sectarian differences will go if they break open after a US pull-out is anyone's guess, and in the era of the internet, easy cash transactions on a global basis and fast movement of personnel, plus weak Nations in those regions, the old idea of 'defense in depth' has disappeared as the depth has vanished.

Getting Iraq *right*... in this case getting an accountable Nation State with some internal coherence and ability to resist outside influences, is not only necessary, but vital to long term survival. If it isn't done, then putting outer periphery on the spread of violence is pretty useless. If Iraq goes then Jordan will go, possibly Syria due to Kurdish influence, Iran is near collapse as it is and its breakup will already cause headaches but without a stable neighbor there will be no way to rescue it, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, Georgia, Turkey (due to over a decade of Iranian influence in its politics and Syrian meddling), and then the Gulf States in whole or in part. This would be the equivalent of the 30 years war in the Middle East, save with CBN capabilities spread through a few Nations... Syria, Iran, Pakistan.

And we don't appear to have anyone around, these days to *end it* either. I really don't like applying the statistics from the 30 years war to the Middle East or the larger zones of influence of it. One does not need to put venality to put us in danger... there was ignorance and stupidity enough to go around in 2002-04 so that everyone gets tarnished with it. The question is will we learn from history?

Or be doomed to repeat it?

unaha-closp said...

The State Dept is Bush's monkey, that is part of the job of being President.

Gringo_Malo said...

I'm sorry, but this is just absurd. The problem is not that all of the Americans who went to Iraq were not high-minded do-gooders. The problem is not that we didn't give the Iraqis enough stuff. The problem is certainly not that we allowed the Iraqis to establish an Islamic republic.

Obviously, the majority of the Iraqi population expressed a desire, through their representatives at their constitutional convention, that Islam be the state religion. If you're going to be a good Wilsonian and give them democracy and self-determination and all that happy hogwash, how do you stop them from writing their constitution as they see fit?

The real problem is that we foolishly tried to impose democracy on people who are unfit for it. The Iraqis have never spontaneously created their own democracy. In fact, the Iraqis had a replica of the British government imposed upon them in the 1920s, and trashed it. Moreover, Iraq is a hodgepodge of peoples, each of which hates all the others. If Iraq is to remain unified under a single government, then the fellow who runs that government will need to behave very much as Saddam Hussein did if he hopes to avoid assassination by fellow Iraqis.

Will there be a Rwanda in the desert after we withdraw? Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. The lowest piece of welfare trash in America is worth an infinite number of Iraqis. If I could save the life of one American soldier by killing every Iraqi on the planet, I'd do it and not lose a wink of sleep over it. The only thing in Iraq worth the attention of any American is the oil.

If we need the oil, then we should simply make Iraq a colony and abandon all this foolishness about democracy. Western rule would actually be better for the Iraqis, though many of them wouldn't like it. We'd still be engaged in a low-intensity conflict for the foreseeable future, but at least we'd be getting something for our trouble.