Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stay the Course - Part Deux

Bush's1 "New Way Forward" reads2 like a repackaging of the same old ideas with enhanced death features.
"The Iraqi government will deploy Iraqi army and national police brigades across Baghdad's nine districts." Translation: As they stand up.
"These Iraqi forces will operate from local police stations; conducting patrols and setting up checkpoints and going door-to-door to gain the trust of Baghdad residents." Translation: They will be friendly, neighborhood beat cops.
The plan, as being implimented, is using Kurdish Peshmerga forces for Baghdad security, because Shi'ite forces are not trusted to fight against Shi'ite militia. But, Kurdish troops will hardly be seen as beat cops. Kurds are not Arabs. They are as much a foreign, occupation army as the American soldiers.
"These (American) troops will work alongside Iraqi units and be embedded in their formations. Our troops will have a well-defined mission: to help Iraqis...." Translation: They will be babysitters, or is that observers, or maybe commanders?
In the latter days of the Roman Empire, Roman commanders would place their barbarian mercenaries in the front of the battle. Crack Roman legions would be behind them, ready to kill the mercs if they ran instead of fought. There is nothing "well defined" in this. A major unanswered question is what will be the role of the embeds? Are they leaders, followers, or disengaged watchers? Will the Iraqis expect the Americans to do all the dangerous missions or will the Americans angle their weapons at their Iraqi allies and tell them to go in first? What will happen the first time an Iraqi captain issues an order to an American private embedded in his unit?
"This time, Iraqi and American forces will have a green light to enter these neighborhoods (home to those fueling the sectarian violence)." Translation: Expect bloody, street-to-street fighting that will make Fallujah look like a Sunday picnic.
There are two million people living in Sadr City, the home of Muqtada al-Sadr's Madhi Army. That is twice the population of the city of San Diego. This is going to get ugly.
"To give every Iraqi citizen a stake in the country's economy, Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis. To show that it is committed to delivering a better life, the Iraqi government will spend $10 billion of its own money on reconstruction and infrastructure projects that will create new jobs." Translation: We are going to make them spend money they don't have.
The Pretty Pink Pony moment of the Bush speech. In theory, Iraq gets $35 billion in oil revenue. The reality is significantly less. Billions are lost to official corruption. Billions more to organized criminal gangs. Even more will be lost when the United States forces the Iraqi government to give foreign oil companies up to 70% of Iraq's oil revenue.
"We will help the Iraqis build a larger and better-equipped army..." Translation: God knows they need it.
Iraqi forces complain they have no vehicles, no body armor, not even enough bullets. But, they have been kept in that state for a reason. The US military does not trust Iraqis with guns.
"We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq." Translation: Be prepared to expand the war into Iran and Syria.
This is the "My God, He's Crazy" moment of his speech. Bush followed up these words with an attack on Iranian sovereign territory, the Iranian diplomatic consulate in Irbil, Kurdish Iraq. The US-Iraq War is leading inexorably to a US-Iran War.
"We must expect more Iraqi and American casualties." Translation: There is no hope.
"The question is whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I believe that it will." Translation: When there is no hope, there is always prayer.
No further comment is need, God save us all.
"We carefully considered these proposals (for withdrawal). And we concluded that to step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart, and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale." Translation: After me, all hell will break loose.
Note the use of the Royal We. Apres mous le deluge. The words of Madame de Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV of France, and George III of the United States.

There were many words that translate to the same thing: "Stay the course" and "As the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down," only much more of the same. There was a promise of more blood and more death. I didn't watch the speech (see footnotes) but I have seen a couple of short clips and read several reviews. The delivery was stiff and awkward. It was as if he had been hectored to "be serious" and "don't smirk so much." Even his true believers in the rightwing blogs gave him low marks for presentation. If the goal was to inspire the nation, Bush failed miserably. A delivery that looked like a classroom presentation by a nervous 12 year-old will probably fail to reassure the country that Bush knows what he is doing.

Bush labored mightily, and brought forth a mouse. At least two nations, maybe more, will continue to suffer for his lack of imagination and lack of common sense.

Footnotes: 1) From this moment forth, I refuse to grant George Bush the title of President.
2) I no longer watch Bush's speeches. Watching and listening to him literally dissolves my brain cells, I can feel intelligence leaking away. And, when he gives that half-smile smirk of his when talking about dead American servicemembers, I want to commit a federal crime punishable by death - and do it with my bare hands. I used Eason Jordan annotated transcript as my reference for the speech.


Anonymous said...

Response in my town - during the noon hour, a fellow in a full mask of GWB, wearing prison stripes and blue deelybobber antennae danced by a busy intersection with a sign that said
National Guard - just do what I did, go AWOL

Georgfelis said...

Read your post on Tigerhawk. Couple of quick points:
The Roman legions (From Legio, or “Conscription”) not only took uncivilized barbarians and placed them in front of the legions as shock troops, but they also recruited from them. A Legionnaire was not simply an Italian man who took in the Legion training and discipline (considerably more strict and bloodthirsty than anything you find in a modern army, look up “Decimate”), the Legions also took Barbarians and subjected them to the same discipline as the Legions. Read the Wikipedia entry. Learn something.

We are using Kurds because they are an effective fighting force, speak the language, and are not going to try to take over that section of the country (as opposed to the Turks, the Iranians, the Syrians, etc…) The Clear phase will be Kurdish in some places, but the police units that will remain on the ground in the Hold and Build phase will be from the same geographic area. The Kurds are doing us a great favor, they will take casualties doing it, please do not backhand our allies.

The Division of Command is a fair question, and you can bet money that it has been stamped flat. US soldiers do not like taking commands from non-US commanders, even in NATO.

Corruption in Iraq is a given. The way it is going now it should be reduced to that of another large oil producing area in a year or so. Louisiana.

The attack on “Iranian sovereign territory”? Happened two hours before the speech, on a house that a couple Iranians were running a business out of. It was not a Diplomatic Consulate, how can you have such a thing in a country you don’t have diplomatic relations with? And somehow I think the Iranians complaining about somebody attacking their supposedly diplomatic personnel is a bit ironic, right?

Last paragraph before you broke into French, you commented on what would happen if the US were to cut and run. I notice you did not have any disagreement with what the President said and his conclusions, just an untranslatable snark. When a Democratic President takes office in two years as you seem to desire, what do you think they should do in Iraq? According to you, we will still be there in much the same situation. If we withdraw as President Murtha suggests, the whole country will break out into bloody civil war fought with tanks and artillery against civilians. So if we are not to do as the President says, then what?

KnightErrant said...

The French phrase literally translates to "After us the flood." It was spoken by Madame de Pompadour and, in context, meant, "After me, all hell will break loose."