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Sat Jun 14, 2014, 03:47 PM


No U.S. Bombs in Defense of Phony Democracy in Iraq

Last edited Sat Jun 14, 2014, 07:13 PM - Edit history (4)

What we will not do is let the pursuit of the perfect stand in the way of achievable goals. We cannot rid Iraq of all who oppose America or sympathize with our adversaries. We cannot police Iraq’s streets until they are completely safe, nor stay until Iraq’s union is perfected. - President Obama on withdrawing from Iraq at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 27, 2009

In his determination to withdraw troops from Iraq and end that occupation, President Obama emphasized Iraqis' responsibility for the security of their country and government and declared that the solution to their long-term security was a political, rather than a military one. In his 2009 speech outlining his intention to withdraw, he made clear that he viewed the U.S. disengagement from that defense of the new regime as integral to the success of any reconciliation effort Iraqi President Maliki hoped to broker with resisting Iraqis.

"On my first full day in office, I directed my national security team to undertake a comprehensive review of our strategy in Iraq to determine the best way to strengthen that foundation, while strengthening American national security." President Obama said. "I have listened to my Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and commanders on the ground. We have acted with careful consideration of events on the ground; with respect for the security agreements between the United States and Iraq; and with a critical recognition that the long-term solution in Iraq must be political – not military. Because the most important decisions that have to be made about Iraq’s future must now be made by Iraqis."

Months before, Maliki was bristling over the prospect of a lingering American military force; rejecting President Obama's characterization of the negotiations over whether residual troops would be allowed to remain as a 'security pact'; instead, insisting that it was, in fact, 'an agreement to withdraw'. He'd been arguing for over a year that it was his own army which had been responsible for rolling back the insurgent threat to his government and complaining that the U.S. wasn't appreciating just how much he'd done to quell the sectarian strife.

“We don’t call it a security pact but an agreement to withdraw the troops and organize their activities during the period of their presence in Iraq,” al-Maliki was quoted as saying. To Maliki, the U.S. was ignoring ''the big role of the Iraqi government and its achievements, such as stopping the civil and sectarian war.''

Iraqis eventually rejected that latent U.S. paternalism and insisted that all U.S. forces leave. Now that the sectarian strife and violence is threatening Baghdad, it appears Maliki is pleading with the U.S. to erect another 'wall' of protection around the perpetually beleaguered capital to defend his regime against those elements in his nation which his government has waged open war against and disenfranchised from the country's constitution from the early days of his ascendance to power.

The argument for the re-introduction of military force into Iraq is narrowed by the President's announcement this weekend that U.S. troops would not be returning to the battlefield. He did, however, leave the room open for the possibility of airstrikes against targets, which the military outlined, could include sites in Iraq and in Syria, as well; asserting his belief that "Iraq needs additional support to break the momentum of extremist groups and bolster the capabilities of Iraqi security forces."

That dubious and undefined aim isn't a new strategy for this president. Obama 'surged' troops before, into Afghanistan, premised on a Bush-era notion of 'rolling back the terrorist fringe' to give room for their enabled government to organize some sort of constitutional rule. It's not so much a defense of democracy as it is 'democracy-lite' where any end in that defense is supposed to justify the means and any progress is labeled victory.

The premise behind President Obama's initial surge of U.S. troops into Bush's Afghanistan quagmire was to 'push back' resisting Afghans enough to allow some sort of political reconciliation and to enable the government to continue. That effort was predictably bogged down by the difficulty in getting the disparate tribes and factions to accept the central authority NATO has set up in Kabul. There was even more difficulty in getting their installed government to accommodate the interests and demands of the resisting rest of the war-split nation.

The U.S. military offensive against the Taliban was an abject failure in achieving the goals behind the offensive. What happened to the promised ability of the U.S.-led NATO forces to protect the residents of Afghanistan against Taliban blowback from their invasion? The ability to protect innocent civilians from NATO attacks, or insulate them from the negative consequences and effects of the NATO military advance? The ability of NATO to provide and deliver the services and amenities of the central government to the displaced residents? Nonexistent.

What responsibility will the U.S. assume, if any, for the blowback to the Iraqi government for the U.S.-partnered attacks on the Iraqi population? More, importantly, how will airstrikes against the Sunni opposition targets help or further political progress in Iraq? How do we help the parties reconcile if we're merely going to line up on one side of their civil war?

In his remarks on the current Iraq situation, President Obama reemphasized his view that the solution to Iraq's security concerns "is not solely or even primarily a military challenge."

"Unfortunately, Iraq’s leaders have been unable to overcome too often the mistrust and sectarian differences that have long been simmering there, and that’s created vulnerabilities within the Iraqi government as well as their security force." he said.

"So, any action that we may take to provide assistance to Iraqi security forces has to be joined by a serious and sincere effort by Iraq’s leaders to set aside sectarian differences, to promote stability, and account for the legitimate interests of all of Iraq’s communities, and to continue to build the capacity of an effective security force. We can’t do it for them. And in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won’t succeed."

It's not clear, however, that Maliki is willing or able to provide the political reconciliation that the president has outlined as requisite to him ordering any U.S. military action or assistance to the besieged government. If anything, Maliki's pleas for military assistance to quell the latest rebellion by pro-Sunni insurgent forces are just an invitation for the U.S. to resune its role as the government's protector and benefactor as he wages whatever retaliatory war he chooses against anyone who dares oppose his autocratic regime.

Syria, which was named by officials as a possible target for airstrikes, is no adversary of the Maliki regime. In fact, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki spent the majority of his 30 years of exile from Iraq in Syria as they opposed Saddam and allied with the U.S. in the first U.S. led campaign against the renegade puppet.

The entire rationale and practice of our soldiers were fighting and dying to provide 'room' for Iraqi political changes was covered by Obama's predecessor, Bush. The "breathing space" he said he was giving Iraqis was to ease tensions between the Shiites and the Sunnis. The main point of contention with the Sunnis was the lack of adequate representation in the government and their contention that the Shiite-dominated regime was bent on their community's destruction.

Since Maliki has reshuffled his regime and replaced the Sunnis who walked with Shiites and Kurds, there really can't be any effective reconciliation forthcoming. That makes the deaths of the thousands of Americans who fought and died to give the Maliki regime 'breathing space' a tragic waste.

The move also makes any suggestion of continuing on with a defense of this stacked alliance of Shiites and Kurds a complete ruse. There should be zero expectation of any reconciliation with Sunnis which would lead to any reduction in resistant violence, since Maliki's Shiite-dominated regime decided to completely turn their backs on the Sunnis and their demands and exclude them from the constitution.

The prospect of a working government in Iraq -- which would produce the concessions needed to carry out the reconciliation pipe-dream and reduce the resistant violence -- has always been dependent on the Shiite-dominated regime carving out more political room for the Sunni minority who regards the present regime as an enemy and intent on their community's destruction. Even if the entire Sunni bloc came back to Baghdad, there would still be divisions which are aggravated by the continued assaults on their community by Shiite militias splintered off from the government forces.

Whatever good government facade Maliki manages to cobble together, that effort shouldn't find any support from Congress or the American people for airstrikes or any other military action in Iraq while they wait for the Maliki regime to provide a more efficient mimic of democracy than they have, so far, behind the sacrifices of our nation's defenders and the devastating power of our weaponry.

Paint and spackle on the props in his collapsing Potemkin Village of democracy in Iraq shouldn't be allowed to provide cover for a reckless indifference to the Iraqi lives in the way of any U.S. military action designed to give Maliki's ruse of government 'breathing room'.

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Reply No U.S. Bombs in Defense of Phony Democracy in Iraq (Original post)
bigtree Jun 2014 OP
scarletwoman Jun 2014 #1
bigtree Jun 2014 #2
scarletwoman Jun 2014 #3

Response to bigtree (Original post)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 04:56 PM

1. Excellent piece!

I can't really add anything to what you've said so well. I just want to affirm my own opposition to any U.S. military involvement in this mess - and give a kick to your OP in hopes that more people will read it.

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Response to scarletwoman (Reply #1)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 06:59 PM

2. thanks for the kick, scarletwoman!


. . . hope sanity prevails.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 14, 2014, 07:06 PM

3. You're very welcome.

As for sanity prevailing, I hope so, too. Although given our craven media, I fear it may be long odds.

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