Friday :: Sep 22, 2006

Questions on "Failed" Iraqi Policy


by soccerdad

There have been many articles written recently that in one form or another declare the Iraq war a disaster. From all conventional criteria this is certainly true. Conventional wisdom is that the policy for the war and its implementation was fatally flawed.
Sidney Blumenthal has an excellent article called "Neocon fantasy, Iraqi reality" which details many of the issues of how the people who inhabited the green zone made such a mess of things due to their incompetence and/or lack of experience.
The following has been rattling around in my head for 2 days now and I've been unable to let it go or figure out why exactly why it bothers me so.

Jay Garner, a retired lieutenant-general, was appointed the head of the precursor of the CPA, called the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (Orha). On his way to Iraq, Garner asked the neo-conservative Douglas Feith, the under-secretary of defense for policy, for the planning memos and documents for post-war Iraq. Feith told him there were none.

Garner was never shown the state department's seventeen volumes of planning titled The Future of Iraq, or the CIA's analyses. Feith's former law partner, Michael Mobbs, was appointed head of civil administration. Mobbs had no background in the middle east or civil administration. "He just cowered in his room most of the time", one former ambassador recalled. Mobbs lasted two weeks.

Garner was "a deer in the headlights" said Timothy Carney, an ex-ambassador recruited for Orha. Feith and the neocons assumed their favorite, Ahmed Chalabi, and his exiles would seamlessly take power and the rest would be a glide path.

This is in essence another version of "they will be greeting us with flowers" explanation. The idea that the neocons were in some sort of isolated bubble, drunk on their own kool aid and overly optimistic predictions has been the de facto and still the most reasonable explanation.

However, I've always had nagging doubts and questions. As I have posted here for well over 2 years now, the US has never made much of an attempt to win hearts and minds. In fact, their military strategy of shock and awe, including cluster munitions, reliance on air power, collective punishment, etc were almost guaranteed to produce the opposite result. Now they had the 17 volumes of documents from the State Department, the material from the CIA, and there was other material from the War College which gave them the information needed to know that what they were doing would fail. In addition, although the Green Zone inhabitants may have been, for the most part, inexperienced, the same cannot be said for many of the players higher up in the government. Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrahms, etc had been around a long time and were not virgins in these kinds of operations.

Continue below for the speculation

I am going to throw some thoughts out. Let’s start with this. What was the main outcome that Bush and neocons wanted? IMO, it was a stable, US friendly government that would do business with the US and, in essence, be a puppet to the US. The US was there to exert US geopolitical power in the region and they needed the energy resources since energy = power and they needed the land for bases. No other outcome would be acceptable. A truly democratic, independent government was certainly not what they wanted. Chalabi would do, but I’m not convinced that they were that sure they could pull that off. In fact, if one read some of the analysis before the war was launched it was clear that it would be very difficult to establish a US friendly government. The odds were not in the neocons favor in that regard. I therefore hypothesize that a major effort at reconstruction and winning hearts and minds was not attempted because they realized that the likelihood it would produce the desired results was small.

But, but, but all the sane people are saying what about the chaos and the Iraqis being killed? I believe that the Bush administration and the neocons literally don’t care. I’m sure that they would have preferred Chalabi to be installed and for events to have unfolded smoother, but wrt to their primary goals all of this is but a temporary setback. The bases have been built for the most part, the embassy (spy center) is under construction and the oil/gas is still in the ground. The fact that there is a civil war going on and that many middle and upper class Iraqis have left or are trying to leave the country works to the neocons favor. Look at Gaza and Lebanon. There is a pattern here, produce physically destroyed, failed states that they feel will be easier to control. And in the case of Lebanon, provides a physical buffer for the players in the upcoming sh*t storm.

This brings us to the next stage in the inevitable march to complete disaster. It is now time for “real men go to Iran” to play out, except that there will be few men in Iran but many flying over it. The attack against Iran is inevitable and has been part of the plan all along. In Iraq, the shifting of troops from the provinces to Baghdad is no accident. When Iran is bombed it’s going to get real ugly in Iraq. Expect the US to pull back to Baghdad and their “enduring bases” and let the Air Force take care of business.

I believe that Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc all knew that they didn’t have the resources or the political capital to get the resources (read troops) to fight the Iraq war in a way that matched their rhetoric, i.e. bring democracy to Iraq. But that’s ok, it was never their intent anyway.

I mean for Christ’s sake they have laid it all out in writing, for example read the “Clean Break” and go to the PNAC website. I think people have spent way too much time looking at the incompetence angle of the administration and should spend more time examining the utter blackness of their souls. If they had to kill another 500 to 2,000k Iraqis and/or Iranians to further the dominance of the US thereby accomplishing their goals, they wouldn’t lose any sleep over it. Remember Albright’s response when asked if 500,000 deaths of Iraqi children from the sanctions was acceptable and she said yes it was.

So how does this play out? The neocon's war of Civilizations will become real. US actions will cause more Muslims to hate us, producing more attacks against the US and/or its interest. And there you have it a self-fulfilling prophecy. The citizens of the US will, predictably, rise up and call for the deaths of all Muslims. So the "War of Civilizations" is the basis of their policy. They will do what ever it takes to make it happen

I picked a bad time to have stopped drinking.

soccerdad :: 6:25 PM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!