Friday, December 02, 2005

Winding down, I hope...

But at what price?

Pullout, repsitioning, drawing it by whatever name you want. It seems we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I was just revisiting those heady days in February after the elections in Iraq, imagining how different the last year would have been if the process now becoming clear had been started then instead of now. Looking back, that may have been something like a high point in this murderous adventure. The History Channel is already putting together documentaries about the war.

Battlecry Iraq: Ramadi.
Airs on Tuesday, December 13 at 9:00pm ET

"Today we are going to kill Americans." That was the warning to shopkeepers in Ramadi's marketplace on April 6, 2004. Insurgents meant what they said. They intended to harm any and all members of Echo Company--part of the Second Battalion of the 4th Marine Regiment. Ramadi, a Sunni stronghold and former Saddam power base in the Anbar province, is one of the most dangerous places in Iraq. Resistance there is fierce. "The Magnificent Bastards" as the 2-4 is called, bore the brunt of hatred and rage as they were ambushed in a well-planned attack. We chronicle the 2-4's struggle for survival while under fire--everywhere and all at once--from an enemy that couldn't be seen. AK-47s, machine guns, and rocket-propelled grenades exploded all around. About 50 insurgents positioned themselves on the roofs of one-story buildings and in between market stalls. The next week-and-a-half would be bloody and deadly. TVPG V

And this!!!

Iraq's Most Wanted.
Airs on Tuesday, December 13 at 10:00pm ET

They're cold-blooded killers, not particularly selective about their victims--coalition troops, international journalists, Iraqi civilians--just about anyone will do. These slaughterers want political power. In the south, militant cleric Muqtada al-Sadr unleashes his militia on US Marines policing Najaf. The two forces battle hand-to-hand in a 1,000-year-old cemetery. In central Iraq, a skilled insurgent mortar team tries to disrupt national elections by targeting polling places in and around Fallujah. Marine Recon squads quietly hunt them down and kill them one-by-one. In the northern city of Mosul, Uday and Qusay Hussein, sons of Saddam, help plan and fund insurgent training and operations. US Special Forces and 101st Airborne troops surround their hardened, reinforced hideout and decimate it. For Iraq's "Most Wanted", the message is clear: surrender and you might live; resist and you'll crumble in a storm of lead. TVPG V

As you follow the next few posts, look for the name/word "Sadr" again.
Maybe I'm missing something, but it looks like to me the same people we were trying to wipe out before are now providing security for what now passes for a legitimate government in Iraq. The effect is surreal.

...there is widespread evidence that an increasing number of members of the Mahdi Army, led by the hot-headed Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, and Badr Organization are joining the ranks of Iraq’s military and engaging in paramilitary-style policing methods. “The ISF is not a true national force but rather a carved-up conglomeration of militias,” says Kenneth Katzman, senior Middle East analyst with the Congressional Research Service. The latest evidence: The November 13 discovery of a detention center in Baghdad allegedly run by Iraqi intelligence officials linked to the Badr Organization, where eighteen of the center’s roughly 170 captives—most of them Sunni Arabs—were reportedly beaten, blindfolded, or subjected to electric shocks. [Link to Council of Foreign Relations]

The spinning of a betrayal is dizzying. (A more charitable take: They say that if people really are out to get you it isn't paranoia. By the same logic, if you don't know or care what you're doing, it isn't betrayal.)

The same fountain of terrorism that US forces targeted as "the enemy" is now furnishing the Badr Brigades that provide the underpinning of the Iraqi Security Forces. The next few posts expand upon this theme. The prestidigitation of a Las Vegas magician is nothing compared with the sleight of hand displayed by Washington politicians.

1 comment:

Kobayashi Maru said...

I'm not saying I like the choices here, but you have to acknowldge an inherent trade-off between getting out quickly and finding saints to take over after we're gone. Selectively co-opting and making less-than-perfect deals with one's former enemies is simply a fact of life in any pullout from any war or the turnover of any regime (see S. Africa, Germany, Yugoslavia, etc.) If we were to find and prosecute everyone who was shooting at us or held power against us we'd be there for 50 years.