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Blame The Victim

Thirty members of the Iraqi Parliament and five cabinet ministers loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr suspended participation in the Iraqi government. Comparisons to the walkout of Southern leaders before the American Civil War are inevitable and it undermines President Bush’s story that Iraq is not in the midst of its own civil war, but, more interesting to me this evening, is how Americans are increasingly blaming the Iraqis for squandering the chance we gave them to create a Jeffersonian democracy in our own image.

I said from the start that, when things collapse in Iraq, the Iraqis will be blamed, which is a shame because most Iraqis really wanted to make this work. From their point of view, the US is to blame for failing to provide security.

Backers of nation building in Iraq are pointing fingers of blame everywhere but at themselves. It reminds me of those James Bond movies where the villain's overly complicated plan is thwarted and his secret underground lair is collapsing around him and he's yelling, "Incompetents! I'm surrounded by incompetents! The plan was perfect, but you fools ruined everything!" It never occurs to him that the whole idea was ill conceived.

So, Americans blame Rumsfeld, we blame the UN, we blame liberals, we blame Iran and Syria -- some in the GOP even blame the military for not requesting more troops -- and now we're blaming the Iraqis themselves. It'd be nice to have a scapegoat, but the reality is that the Iraqis are right: After destroying their security forces, it was America's responsibility to provide security and we clearly failed. It is impossible to build infrastructure and democratic institutions in a war zone.

So now, it's much easier to just blame the Iraqis for needing more security than Americans were willing to provide.

Posted by American Pundit at November 30, 2006 3:37 AM
Comments
Comment #197028

AP,

Actually, it’s much easier to blame the U.S.

We shouldn’t be a superpower anyway, it’s just not fair to the rest of the world.

Posted by: cliff at November 30, 2006 11:53 AM
Comment #197029

I blame whoever started this whole mess.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 30, 2006 11:55 AM
Comment #197036

WM,

The prophet Mohammed?

Posted by: cliff at November 30, 2006 12:21 PM
Comment #197040

AP,
I noticed this “blame the Iraqis” attitude too.

We invaded their country, dismantled their government, dissolved their military, dismissed their police, attempted to sell their largest national industries to foreign multinationals, and modeled the mode by using military force. Simulaneously, we left an insufficient military force to run the country.

Surprise, surprise. Chaos, anarchy, mayhem. Corruption & cronyism run rampant. For half of the CPA administrators, it was their first time out of the country. An inexperienced 24 year old, who had helped a Republican political campaign, was put in charge of setting up the Iraqi stock market. Three people- three- were put in charge of privatizing/selling Iraqi industries.

$8.9 million disappeared from the CPA. In the interim government, the Iraqi Defense Minister & cronies absconded with half the defense budget, $500 million. Gone.

The man Cheney backed, Chalabi, the “George Washington of Iraq,” a man convicted of a multi-million $ bank fraud, was put in charge of the oil ministry. He now lives in London.

The interim prime minister, Allawi, was on the CIA payroll for a dozen years. His power base was the Mukhabarat, the secret police. Oddly enough, Iraqs rejected the man the US chose to back.

We demand the Iraqis stand up for their army, but refuse to provide them heavy weapons, an armed Air Force, or allow their army to operate in large units.

Well, I could go on and one. Heh. I already have. At some point the Iraqis will be responsible for running their own country. It is their country, not our country. We need to withdraw.

But be sure, we will see a lot of attempts by Bush to avoid responsibility, and blame someone else. They always do.

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2006 12:36 PM
Comment #197041

America is losing its superpower status in a big damned hurry by producing such colossal super failures as Iraq, the Middle East, our own absence of debt management, and border security. There is no way super failures can support the moniker of superpower.

Our military is kind of like Iraq’s. Iraq has huge numbers of military personnel who are largely ineffective. We have a huge incredibly well trained and disciplined military without a command authority capable of wielding it toward successful missions.

The finest military personnel in the world will only be as successful in their missions as the commander’s capacity to implement that military to maximum effectiveness and avoid deploying and engagement where military resources or solutions are not sufficient to the mission assigned or goal produced by wishful thinking.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2006 12:39 PM
Comment #197048

Cliff:

No, I blame whoever invaded a sovreign country, Iraq.

Posted by: womanmarine at November 30, 2006 12:50 PM
Comment #197074

We know whom to blame: George W. Bush and nobody else.

Now, let’s forget about blame and find a way to get out of this quagmire. Why don’t we start by proclaiming that we are abandoning the huge bases we built in Iraq.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at November 30, 2006 2:28 PM
Comment #197088

Let’s not forget that, starting in January, many will blame Congress.

Posted by: Steve K at November 30, 2006 3:44 PM
Comment #197097

Now that the Sunnis have walked out of government, the entire prospect for a political solution is on hold. For how long remains to be seen, but, one thing is for sure, there are fewer and fewer realistic hopes as the civil war widens.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 30, 2006 4:33 PM
Comment #197104

The hamfisted fumblings of the Bush administration keep coming back to haunt it.

A few years ago, Iran offered coopertion & made peace overtures. Bush ignored them. The relatively moderate candidate lost an election to the hardliner, Ahmedinejad.

In Iraq, we do not have much choice but to back the Iranian factions, SCIRI & Dawa, & hope for the civil war to end in military victory. You can bet that is what Maliki told Bush in Syria.

Al-Sadr, a nationalist, knows where Maliki & Bush are being driven, and he may bring down the government of Maliki as a result.

Last weekend, Cheney was summoned to Saudi Arabia. Anyone think Cheney chirped about how Iraq was going “exceptionally well”? The Saudis are ready to have kittens. There are quite a few Shias in eastern Saudi Arabia, and the threat of regional instability spreading to Arabia is a very real problem.

Thanks to hamfisted diplomacy, the US is coming out of this pleasing no one but Israel.

Yeah, blame the Iraqis.

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2006 5:15 PM
Comment #197113

Maybe we should hold a vote and see if the Iraqis want us to stay or leave. It is easy to talk when you know nothing will happen as a result. If the Iraqis vote to have us leave, it is their business. If they vote to have us stay, everybody has to shut up about it for at least a year.

Posted by: Jack at November 30, 2006 6:08 PM
Comment #197119

Jack,
An Iraqi vote on whether US troops should stay is useless, because it is a foregone conclusion. Numerous polls consistently show about 70% of Iraqis want US troops withdrawn within a year or less. Sunnis overwhelmingly want the US out, Shias want the same by a vast majority, and only Kurds seem favorably displosed.

So if you want a fig leaf to cover US withdrawal, by all means, ask the Iraqis to vote on it.

Personally, I think the only way to avoid an even worse bloodbath is by conducting a plebiscite on whether Iraqis want to remain united or be partitioned. Unfortunately, none of the neighboring states will stand for it, since none want to see an independent Kurdistan.

A united Iraq means civil war, and civil wars usually end in a decisive military victory for one side or the other. The wind is blowing us in a direction where we will back Maliki, SCIRI, Dawa, & their Death Squads. Arming the Iraqi military means arming those groups, who are backed by Iran.

Sadr knows this. He will collapse the Maliki government to avoid this. Fighting is already going on between the nationalistic Mahdi Army and the government troops of the Iranian-backed allies.

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2006 6:23 PM
Comment #197137

There is an unstated reason why the Iraqi army will not stand up: we cannot afford to let them stand up. If we arm them with heavy weapons & a real air force with offensive capability, there is a high risk such an army would be used by the Shia government to slaughter the Sunnis. Shia Death Squads use power drills on their victims already. We have gone to great lengths to alienate Iran, and SCIRI/Dawa will turn to them eventually anyway, so really, it is a no-win situation.

It is a terrible mess. Withdrawing immediately at least has the virtue of cutting our own losses. Most likely the Kurds would invite us to stay of their own free will, so that would be an option too.

Posted by: phx8 at November 30, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #197153

phx8

I am not sure they would vote that way. Talk is cheap. People have a way of becomming more reasonable when they know their decision has some merit.

Think of how our own polling works. In theory a lot of people will vote for 3rd party candidates. When they get the chance, most of them do not.

Posted by: Jack at November 30, 2006 7:55 PM
Comment #197173

“If they vote to have us stay, everybody has to shut up about it for at least a year.”

Jack,

That’s absurd! Given that premise you’re allowing our military forces to be controlled by the will of another country! Which already has happened most notably when Al-Sadr had a temper tantrum and “daddy Maliki” responded……….and, AND, WE DID WHAT MALIKI WANTED!!!!!!!

The right thing to do is to increase our military presence several fold, possibly as high as one million troops, create a true occupation, but…..oops!!!!! Iraq now has a democratic government elected by the people of Iraq! So I guess we’d have to overthrow that government.

Do you not see the quagmire Bush has gotten us in? We’re hopefully all Americans first and Republican or Democrat second (or even third or fourth). If we must stay, then we must have total control over our troop movements and we must have a force capable of disarming ALL Iraqi’s. Give our troops a definable goal! Any armed Iraqi is a dead Iraqi!

Of course this will further infuriate the “jihadi’s” whether it be Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. so we’ll need more troops prepared for immediate deployment into HOT zones. Troops today can’t be efficiently trained in 12 weeks like I was. Bush & Co. have weakened our military to the point we truly could lose a war without the use of nukes.

So common sense tells me we have two options:

(1) Reinstate the draft and go balls to the wall, or:
(2) Get the f**k out of Iraq and regroup so we can get back to business in Afghanistan and prepare for “surgical” deployments against terror cells.

Actually only McCain has even come close to telling the truth in this regard, but he still won’t utter the word “draft” because it would be political suicide. Look at how everyone regards Charlie Rangel.

This boils down to the will of the people, not just the will of the politicians.

Posted by: KansasDem at November 30, 2006 9:58 PM
Comment #197177

AP,

Damn good article!

Iraq and the war on terror are still the greatest problems we face today. Unless we get serious about this and get a true handle on the situation we’re doomed.

It might help if Bush and Cheney quit giving the Saudi’s a free “reach around” every time I look.

Posted by: KansasDem at November 30, 2006 10:08 PM
Comment #197178

phx8,

You seem to be fixated on the failures of George W. Bush. I think we should cut him some slack. Maybe just enough for him to finish hanging himself.

Posted by: KansasDem at November 30, 2006 10:20 PM
Comment #197200

AND THE BIG WINNER! Red China. They are already picking up some Iraqi oil. Remember when we speculated about the price for their help with NK? Now we know. Beyond that the Iraq fiasco marks the end of the American Era in the mid-east.With friends like us who needs enemies? China will move in as the big player and there is nothing we can or should do to stop them. Our best bet is to move full tilt to become energy independant from the middle east. A good idea anyway.

Posted by: BillS at December 1, 2006 3:44 AM
Comment #197204

David R. Remer - I enjoyed your post’s, but I
am still perplexed as to the real reasons for going
into Iraq in the first place. Have you developed any
Hypotheses at this juncture in time for such
massive destruction, leaving all those acres of
functioning weapons, an three bunkers full of C4 Ex.
with out destroying any of them? These are just
part or some of the daunting questions in the back
of my head, there is no rhyme or reason for this.
Any Ideas

Posted by: DAVID at December 1, 2006 5:09 AM
Comment #197205

Bills, I think you are right on the mark, an I think
we should have considered those thoughts long before going into Iraq!

-

Posted by: DAVID at December 1, 2006 5:18 AM
Comment #197237

David
I would suggest that the real reason for the invasion was to secure oil supplies and to establish a greater precence in the Middle-East. Not necessarily for our use but to keep China’s hands off them in a global stuggle between the worlds only super power and the emerging second super power. I doubt this was Bushes ‘thinking’ but a priority of his handlers. They like playing global struggle for supremecy. We failed miserably at a game we should not be playing anyway. The real sport of kings is not horseracing,its artillery.Damn them.

Posted by: BillS at December 1, 2006 12:14 PM
Comment #197290

BillS
I should have figured that out, after I read that
our Government was paying Israel seven million a
year not to blow up the Iraqi oil pipe lines! thanks.
-

Posted by: DAVID at December 1, 2006 4:54 PM
Comment #197482

AP,

Did you hear, it’s not the Iraqi’s fault,it’s our troops fault:
Clearly, what U.S. forces are currently doing in Iraq is not working well enough or fast enough

Posted by: Dave1-20-2006 at December 2, 2006 10:59 PM
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