Thursday, March 18, 2004

In Iraq, Feeling Insecure Isn't a Psychological Condition

Steve Gilliard nails it regarding the Iraq disaster one year in:

With the latest bombblasts in Iraq, it's clear that there is only one issue which matters-security...

While some like to talk about a liberated Iraq, and clearly, the onus of the police state and Saddam's greed is gone, much of the terror has been subcontracted to private groups. So, it's far more random and dangerous for the average Iraqi to live their lives. There are now thousands of Udays and Qusays creating terror when and where they want...

This security arrangement has failed. The guerillas can operate not only with impunity, but at times of their choosing. Iraqis feel less safe as the coaltion fails to protect them from both terrorism and crime...

How bad is security? The latest car bomb had artillery shells. Now, a year after the war, how in God's name are there artillery shells availble for bombmaking?...

People will talk about being liberated from Saddam, but what good is liberation when you have to fear both US troops taking away your relatives on an informant's word and gangsters storming your house. That sounds like a different kind of hell, since Saddam wasn't random. This way, you have no idea when hell will break loose and you have to sit around with an AK or a pistol to make sure you can protect yourself from the criminals.

We're also totally blind to the antics of US troops in Iraq. Limited reports of hookers and missing cash surface, but given the language gap and hostility between US troops, who largely resent the burden of Iraq duty, and Iraqis, there has to be fairly high levels of tension. None of this makes for a good security situation, much less any hope of Iraq assuming the security burden on June 30.


Another good point Gulliard makes is that, not only is the coalition of the willing becoming a lot less willing (see Spain, and now, Poland), but the fact is that we've not had the overt support of a SINGLE Arab nation. Turkey, a MIDDLE EAST nation (not the same thing), has waffled over support--losing the $25 billion dollar lottery prize last year, but picking up a cool billion after the fact (funny--I recall a number of wingnuts beating their collective chests and ranting about the price Turkey would "have to pay"). But think about it--not a single Arab nation has sent troops. What about the neighbors of Iraq, who, presumably, would have most to fear from Saddam's aggression (unless Bush is implying that Baathists could simply materialize here in the US--do you think they might hold the secret of the Transporter from Star Trek?)--but NO ONE in that region sent so much as a Pomeranian Grenadier. Why is that? Could it be that their intelligence was, I don't know, maybe BETTER than ours? Heaven forbid...

If there were soldiers patrolling that were just a little more local to the region, we might actually have a chance to figure out when and where the attacks were coming from--thereby reducing or minimizing them. But, given the strategy and tactics, we're basically in a "react" mode.

Not exactly a winning strategy.

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