Saturday, January 8, 2005

Plain Truth

The way that normal, non-hallucinating people of any political persuasion can help the soldiers in the field, the people of Iraq, and, not least of all, themselves, is to appreciate the true situation as best they can, and to demand accountability from our political leaders when the situation is not handled effectively. The true situation is that there is a large and popular insurgency in Iraq, made up of disparate interests, but all drawing their strength from the long-standing popular discontent with the American and coalition occupation, a discontent based on a very understandable dislike of foreign armies, and fueled by the thousands of Iraqis we have killed, intentionally or not, to say nothing of Abu Ghraib - here, 6 months later, almost completely forgotten. This is the reality that was apparent to journalists well outside the "Sunni triangle" last March, as well as to the Marines who first "liberated" Baghdad. True, many soldiers in Iraq have been in places where people were nice and glad to have them, which is great, but misses the main point. Kennedy was shot on a sunny day, but most newspapers didn’t lead with the nice weather.

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And if you really want to help the American war effort, you can join the fucking armed forces and go to Iraq like thousands of others have, and then you can do the best job you can to show them that Americans care about them and want, above all else, for all of our futures to be better and more peaceful than the past, and get paid shit. You will then be my personal hero, really, and I hope you don't get killed or maimed or see or do something that makes you hate everything for the rest of your life, which is a very real possibility. If you, like me, are too much of a coward to risk your life and health on a mission like that, then you can donate to charities which help soldiers (although it is worth looking into where and what kind of help is needed – some places don’t need it as much as others). But the easiest thing you can do is influence the politicians who create the policies – and in some cases the military strategies - which are being carried out in Iraq, but to do this in a useful way you first have to make some contact with reality. Reality is that the situation in Iraq is horrible, the outlook for any lasting peace is grim, and that this has nothing to do with a nebulous, malignant, all-powerful “Left”, and everything to do with the people in power who make bad and stupid policies. You can pull your head out of your ass, stop dreaming up stupid conspiracy theories about how everyone around the world you don’t like is working together to destroy Freedom, and tell them that they need to do a better job. And if they won’t do a better job, the solution is not to get upset at people who aren’t waving their pom-poms or denouncing Saddam single-mindedly enough for you, it is to fire the fuck-ups so we can maybe have some chance at salvaging something from this fiasco. [my emphasis]

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The Poor Man
via Corrente. And this from Kos:

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It is my view that those of us who vehemently opposed this war can and should still support the soldiers and their families. Their sacrifice is no less a sacrifice because the action they are engaged in is a tragically wrong headed blunder. That's on BushCo, not our soldiers.

The troops need our support, regardless of the policies that put them in this situation. But the most support we can give them is to pressure our elected representatives to put pressure on the White House to impement an endgame plan and stick to it. While the Poor Man doesn't have any ideas about what we should do there, I do.

The way I see it, we got two choices. One, flood the country with American troops, more than double what are there now. Seal the borders, hunt down and kill the insurgents (the right way), and keep the place safe and orderly until the Iraqis can rebuild the infrastructure and their government institutions.

Two, begin the withdrawal right after the elections in a couple weeks and be out by autumn. Let Iraq find its own level, so to speak. It would probably end up in civil war, but they probably wouldn't be any worse off than they are now.

Maybe, once the Americans left, they'd settle down within ethnic borders. Maybe the Shi'a and Kurds might kill all the Sunni (memories are long in that part of the world), but the absence of American soldiers might do more to calm the place down than Bradleys and Warthogs.

As I've said many times before, Iraq would be far better off broken into 3 states (Shi'astan, Sunnistan, and Kurdistan) under a loose central government in Baghdad. This should have been the plan from the beginning, but then all they thought about was 'on to Baghdad'.

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