Third Party & Independents Archives

June 17, 2006

Iraq - US Widening The Civil War

The U.S. is paving the way for widening civil war in Iraq. The U.S. government is setting up house in Iraq with permanent bases and facilities for itself. The Iraqi people are quite aware of this and oppose it in a huge majority. The new Iraqi government is dependent upon the resources of the U.S., especially financial and infrastructure rebuilding, and as a dependent of the U.S. government, the new Iraq government cannot send the U.S. home.

This puts the Iraq government on a path into the crosshairs of a revolution and widening civil war with its own people within the next 2 years. Iraqi polls show the vast majority of Iraqis, more than 70%, want the U.S. out in the next 6 months to 2 years. (source: WorldPublicOpinion.Org - (PDF) Today, a great majority of the Iraqi people express hope and confidence in their new government. But, an equally large majority want the U.S. occupation to end. There is a day coming when these two dissonant opinions will collide and the Iraqi people will turn on their government which is hosting the U.S. occupation against the people's will.

Polls of Iraqis since 2003 have progressively gone more negative against the U.S. occupation of Iraq, to the point that in 2006, 47% of Iraqis approve of attacks on US-led forces, which includes 41% of Shia, 16% Kurds, and 88% of Sunnis. (ibid) This statistic appears to contradict US stories that the Iraqi people are supporting and aiding our efforts as never before. To the contrary, this statistic would indicate that almost half of Iraqis are unlikely to aid the U.S. forces in seeking out insurgents, and instead, be more inclined to help hide them from the US forces.

Sixty seven percent of Iraqis (ibid) believe their own day to day security will improve with U.S. withdrawal. This is becoming a huge political pressure on the Iraqi government to oust the U.S. However, the Iraqi government officials, themselves targets of kidnappings and murders, are dependent upon U.S. forces for their own safety, and no doubt fear reprisal should quality of life and reconstruction fail to improve after a U.S. departure.

These circumstances set the Iraqi government at odds with the will of the people. Can the government still be called a democracy if it refuses the will of the people? It appears clear the Bush administration believes so, as it continues to tout the progress of democracy in Iraq while simultaneously building permanent bases in Iraq in opposition to the will of the Iraqi people.

In light of this week's vote in the U.S. House of Representatives on a resolution to remain in Iraq without a foreseeable date for withdrawal, it appears the GOP is going to back president Bush's play to establish permanent residence in Iraq, regardless of the cost to the new Iraqi democracy, its people, U.S. military losses, or American tax payers. If the American people have a desire to see an end to the U.S. involvement in the growing civil war in Iraq, November's U.S. elections is their opportunity to unseat the party that is intent on staying in Iraq indefinitely, regardless of cost or consequence to the Iraqi or American public.

Posted by David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 10:02 AM
Comments
Comment #158700

Update: President Bush is painting another false picture for American consumption. AP writer Nedra Pickler reports:

President Bush, reminding listeners of his surprise trip to Baghdad, said Saturday it was important for the Iraqi people to know after three years of war that “America will not abandon them after we have come this far.”

Bush is trying to convince the American people that Iraqis DON’T want us to leave, contrary to the public opinion polls of Iraqis which show the majority DO want us to leave. It is not abandonment, Mr. President when your host asks you to leave. Stop painting these lies to the American public. Your lies were what got us into this mess in the first place.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 10:20 AM
Comment #158705

David,

Don’t we have permanent bases in Germany and Japan with troops stationed there to this day? Did we cause the terrible Japanese and German civil wars everyone remembers?

Posted by: Duano at June 17, 2006 10:40 AM
Comment #158709

David,

We have got ourselves into a mess. Either way though, whether we stay or leave, I think civil war will happen.

Posted by: Mike Tate at June 17, 2006 11:11 AM
Comment #158712

There are 3 big delusions.

1. We went to Iraq to fight Al Qaeda.
No. We went there to destroy non-existant WMDs and start an exemplary democracy. Iraq was a mistake. The intelligence was wrong. Iraq was a threat that was contained and dying that we exploded.

2. Iraqis love us.
This couldn’t be father from the truth. The Iraqi PM’s first reaction to Haditha was to suggest that US soldiers indiscriminately kill innocent Iraqis all the time. He even believes US soldiers murdered some of his relatives.

3. We can leave now.
We can’t leave because these people hate us. We can’t leave because the region is unstable and will quickly be taken over by an organization that’s not only hostile towards us, but towards the rest of the world. A true breeding ground for terrorism. Even if that’s what they want we can’t and should not give it to them.

Iraqis, like many Arabs, believe they are the chosen race that has been kept from their rightful place of ruling the world by evil unclean races of people who practice evil in the eyes of God. Once they kill all of us, there will be a thousand years of peace and brotherhood under their rule.

Sounds too ridiculous to be credible huh? But this was the same idea that Communist poletariat believed, post world war I Nazis believed, and Mussolini’s Italians believed. It is why, when given a choice of land and peace, Palestinians instead vote for Hamas. It is why the Iraqis, given a choice, will choose monsters for leaders. Their culture is the fascist, racist Nazi culture we fought during WWII, and it has been for generations. Arab children have signs in their kindergarten classrooms promoting growing up and becoming a suicide bomber. These are a people for whom war is the 1000 year peace that will come after, freedom is slavery to Islamic rules, ignorance of western ideas is Koranic strength, and finally death is ongoing everlasting life with a hundred virgins.

Bush made a huge mistake going into Iraq, and then calling on all Arabs to go there and fight him. He continues to make a big mistake in positioning this war as a war of Christians versus Muslims instead of a war against civilization versus fascists. The war against terrorism is a continuation of the ideological war we fought in World War II. This is not a war we want to fight. There are a group of people out there who live for no reason other than to kill us. Despite Bush’s pre-emptive strategy, this war is completely defensive.

So we can’t leave. We’re in this war now and have to stay, even though it was a huge mistake. We need a way to contain Iraq again that will neutralize them from ever becoming a threat. Then we need to get out and start fighting the war on terror again. If we had spent the money spent on Iraq on rooting out the terrorist networks and maybe building a sustainable democracy in Afghanistan the misson really would be accomplished by now.

Of course, hindsight is 20/20. What is preventing us from moving forward right now is the ridiculous bi-partisanship in this country. On one side the war must be wrong, on the other side it must be right. On one side some sympathize with the terrorists, a bloodthirsty group of people who want to kill our children, and on the other side there are some that still believe Iraq bombed us. They’re ready to fight, but like Republican leadership, unable to do the necessary analysis to do it intelligently so we can win.

Posted by: Max at June 17, 2006 11:38 AM
Comment #158719

Duano, those were examples where our reconstruction efforts were wanted, and security was not what it is in Iraq. Those were vanquished nations, willing to rebuild. That is not analogous to our situation in Iraq. The Germans and Japanese were well aware their attacks on other nations brought their fate down upon them. Not so of Iraqis, who did no harm to Americans and reject Americans increasingly making them and their nation less secure in the perception as evidenced by the polling data.

Deal with reality, Duano, instead of fantasizing parallels that don’t exist.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 11:56 AM
Comment #158721

Max, then what you are saying, which I think is accurate, is that democracy is not at all what Americans are about in Iraq. You are saying we created a hornet’s nest that is now a threat to us and we refuse the Iraqi peoples will and autonomy in order to protect ourselves.

Well, with nearly 250,000 Iraqis dead and growing, and 2,500 American troops dead and growing, and 100’s of thousands more maimed and wounded and a national debt spiralling out of control, and American public sentiment turning against the war and the government that won’t let it go, you still think the greater harm will come from leaving Iraq? That is where you and I differ, immensely.

You do realize, I hope, that when the Iraqi people turn on their own government, the whole fantasy of a democratic domino effect in the Middle East is dead, right? If Iraq continues on this course of widening civil war, and war against the U.S. occupation, it is important to recognize that hostilities will no longer be confined to Iraq. Syria, Iran, and Yemen will also join in to kick Americans out of their region. Can America’s democracy and our economic future withstand that kind of widening of the Middle Eastern wars? I don’t think so.

What we have here is Bush having grabbed the tiger’s tail in invading Iraq, and now that the tiger is good and pissed, every rational argument says let go and run away, while every fear says letting go is how the tiger gets fed. The Bush administration has put America into a position of reacting out of fear. Your comments appear to reflect that.

Fear is a very weak position for sustaining foreign policy.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 12:07 PM
Comment #158725

David,

Max, then what you are saying, which I think is accurate, is that democracy is not at all what Americans are about in Iraq. You are saying we created a hornet’s nest that is now a threat to us and we refuse the Iraqi peoples will and autonomy in order to protect ourselves.

Yes, basically. Not to say that we didn’t think they would be interested in democracy, but that hasn’t worked out.

Well, with nearly 250,000 Iraqis dead and growing, and 2,500 American troops dead and growing, and 100’s of thousands more maimed and wounded and a national debt spiralling out of control, and American public sentiment turning against the war and the government that won’t let it go, you still think the greater harm will come from leaving Iraq? That is where you and I differ, immensely.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but Iraq must be neutralized so we can move on. I’m not sure what’s best, bases, trade embargo, etc. but if we walk out immediately we could create a really dangerous enemy to the civilized world.

Posted by: Max at June 17, 2006 12:29 PM
Comment #158748

David:

Right on!

I heard on the News Hour with Jim Lehrer that the U.S. State Department did a poll and found that over 80% want U.S. to leave.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at June 17, 2006 02:20 PM
Comment #158753

Meanwhile, in Somalia, a fundamentalist group called The Islamic Courts Union has taken control of Mogadishu & the southern half of the country.

This could be considered good news, since an Islamic fundamentalist government would seem preferable to a failed state. It is hard to imagine forming close relations with a fundamentalist Islamic regime, but at least we could create respectful relations, and at least an entire country would not be a wide open haven for every loon on the run.

Unfortunately, the US backed the losing warlords. They fled the country. Now, not only are the Islamic fundamentalists in charge, we have just about guaranteed a hostile relationship.

Is there some way someone can convince the Bush administration to stop doing this? Please! Do not back losing causes! When the Venezuelan corporatists attempted to overthrow the democractically elected government of Chavez, we recognized the coup plotters that same day. Chavez survived the attempt. The ensuing hostility is a matter of history. Democracy is on the march in South America, but they sure do not like the US. What a screw up!

Now we have done it again in Somalia.

If unsure who is going to win, either back one side to the hilt and make sure they prevail, or for crying out loud, stay out of it!

Have mercy on the American people! Will someone please start firing the incompetent screw ups running our foreign policy? Please!!!

Posted by: phx8 at June 17, 2006 03:26 PM
Comment #158755

Paul:

I saw that too. Didn’t they also say (maybe it was some other program) that 98% of the “insurgents” are, in fact, Iraqis that want the US out? It is not foreign agitators or foreign Al Queda. Nothing was mentioned about how many of the Iraqis are determined to be associated with or sympathetic to Al Queda.

David:

You are so right. Bush has pissed this tiger off, and we are going to get bit, whether he hangs on or lets go. Which is worse? I don’t know, but I DO know that taking care of the US and our soldiers, economy, debt, etc, should come first. This tiger may persuade all the other tigers in the area to also be pissed off. Then we’ve got a much bigger problem on our hands.

This is where I think Murtha is right. Get out, be over the horizon if needed.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 17, 2006 03:43 PM
Comment #158765

I am trying to think what this civil war would look like. The Kurds are well organized, geographically compact on easily defended ground. They have had autonomy for a decade and a half. They can probably defend what they have and extend their control to the oil rich areas in N. Iraq. Kurds are some of the most pro-American people in the world and we should protect their interests.

The Shiites also have a defensible core with oil resources. It is the Sunnis who have get bupkis. They just have not yet figured it out. You really don’t have the basis of a civil war, since the only one of the three parties with an interest is controlling the places occupied by others are the Sunnis, who would be beaten by either of the other two. What you have is a possible partition, which may not be so bad from a U.S. point of view.

No matter what the BS, if it really looks like we will leave soon, the Sunnis will be the ones asking us to stay.

Posted by: Jack at June 17, 2006 05:11 PM
Comment #158766

Paul, that may be right. The Poll cited in the article is from Jan. 2006, and a lot has happened and come to light since then.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 05:12 PM
Comment #158767

I think you missed the point and stats, Jack. It is not just the Sunnis, but, growing numbers of Shia that are headed for wanting to overthrow their own government if it refuses to eject the U.S.

That would mean if we tried to defend the Kurds, we would be at war with the rest of the population, and I do believe they may get a good deal of help from Turkey against us, not to mention Iran, Syria, and Yemen. Bush’s actions to take up housekeeping in Iraq indefinitely puts the U.S. smack dab in the middle of the conflict with our troops being the primary target by the majority of the Iraqi population.

Care for our troops? Lobby Congress to get us out of there while the Iraqi people still have hope and faith in their own new government. That hope and faith will not blossom long as the anti-U.S. sentiment grows as an indictment on their puppet government.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 17, 2006 05:18 PM
Comment #158780

Jack, the US south didn’t have bupkis, still a lot of dead yankee and rebel soldiers resulted. Losing causes can still be quite deadly.

Great post, David. Sadly, this administration seems pretty inept at developing a viable foreign policy. I suspect it has somethng to do with an old guard business clique, who have yet to accept their diminishing power over foreign resources. Empire in a developing world, not yet accepting the changes upon the cusp of a real new world order, rather than the one the US is trying to push.

Posted by: gergle at June 17, 2006 06:39 PM
Comment #158807

Duano,

“Don’t we have permanent bases in Germany and Japan with troops stationed there to this day?”

We stayed with permanent bases in Germany and Japan to create a balance in Europe and Asia against Soviet aggression.

Posted by: Rocky at June 17, 2006 10:03 PM
Comment #158813

Max:

“Iraqis, like many Arabs, believe they are the chosen race that has been kept from their rightful place of ruling the world by evil unclean races of people who practice evil in the eyes of God. Once they kill all of us, there will be a thousand years of peace and brotherhood under their rule.”

No offense, man, but you do realize you sound just like those “Communist poletariat, post world war I Nazis, and Mussolini’s Italians” you condemned?

Hamas was voted in because they handled nearly all social services in Gaza and most of the West Bank. Schools, food and housing were provided with a minimum of corruption and red tape.

Really, Max… stop believing the “I Love Me” crap the GOP espouses. Things are a lot more complicated than the black/white of BushLand.

Posted by: Aldous at June 17, 2006 10:46 PM
Comment #158898

David,

“Bush painting another false picture…” It is not “another false picture”… In the first place, it is the same false picture. But a little cultural relativism will help… you must not view this from the ethnocentric stand point of an honest human being who accepts members of the same gene pool as human beings… for Buddhas sake David… you must view this through Bush’s eyes… when he says “The Iraqi people” he doesn’t mean Iraqi homo sapien sapiens - he doesn’t believe in evolution - there are “God’s chosen people” - translated as: the rich and privileged elites - and there is cannon fodder. Of course, the Iraqi rich and privileged elites need reassurance…

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 18, 2006 01:19 PM
Comment #158899

David,

Fear is a very weak position for sustaining foreign policy.

Max’s comment and your response highlight the double bind - no win situation that this President has led us into. Until a few months ago I was in Max’s camp - now I am in yours. This is not the Alamo. We have created a dangerous world and we need to live to fight another day. Remaining in an unwinnable conflict because the alternative is bad - is only going to make the alternative worse - it is throwing good money (good human lives) after bad… It is time to withdraw, keep our powder dry, and prepare for the big one.

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 18, 2006 01:38 PM
Comment #158921

Ray, thanks for the comments.

It is scary how obvious all this has been and how blind the American public continues to choose to be.

Back in July ‘03 in an article here entitled, Did he lie, exaggerate, or omit?, I wrote,

It does not matter how much evidence of lying, exaggerating, or abuse of power or office is mounted against this Republican president, the Republican dominated House of Representatives will not really investigate. Even if they would permit open, bipartisan investigations and found all charges to be true, they would NOT vote to impeach. This is the danger for the American people when the same party holds both congress and the presidency.

On July 4th, ‘03 I wrote:

It was to the people of the colonies who were willing to sacrifice their property and lives for freedom from tyranny and for self-determination that their patriotism was directed. Today, as then, our patriotism should be directed toward our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and to our brave soldiers who are willing to make the sacrifice to defend our rights to freedom and self-determination.

But, we are foolish to direct our patriotism toward leaders in government who put our young troops in harm’s way. We are foolish to fail in vigilance while politicians make loud promises then stealthily and secretly reverse those promises with their actions.

“I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” —James Madison—

In Aug. of ‘03 I wrote here about the inevitable poll slide for Pres. Bush. I said:

On the one hand, if he pursues security and nation building in Iraq (his latest and last defense for invading) at the rate of $52 billion a year, the American people, now very concerned about deficits and debt, will justify a new President. On the other hand, if Bush vacates his position on rebuilding Iraq with a functioning democracy, he will have lost all faith and credibility in the eyes of most other nations in the world, and will cease to be regarded as a leader. This would in all likelihood, render a second term ineffective in cooperative international foreign affairs. Unilateral foreign affairs actions would only deepen the deficits and debt and such a course would spell doom for the Republicans as managers of the economy.

What is amazing to me Ray, is all this was foreseeable back in 2003. Yet, Bush won reelection, Republicans gained further control of government, and the American public slept. Now we have a quagmire in Iraq, a quagmire in our national debt, and quagmire in our dependence upon foreign oil, and a quagmire in the effort of trying to reform government to more faithfully represent the people and the nation’s future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 18, 2006 04:15 PM
Comment #158956

David,

I couldn’t agree more. I was opposed to the war from the start but thought and still think that it is important to win if we could - and I think we could have - so many obvious mistakes… But we have to deal with reality because it will assert itself whether we deal with it or not and it seems more and more clear that the reality is that we cannot win - so we must get out. I hope that I am wrong. I could be. But even if our military and the statesmanship Ayatollah Ali al Sistani (because he more than anyone else is responsible for how well things have gone) pulled this out and we won, I still doubt that the war would be worth it. When is war ever worth it - but forget philosophy - we have no time for such niceties. The loss of life American and otherwise. The loss of treasure American and otherwise. The loss of trust American, amongst Americans, and otherwise. The loss of respect and influence. The fact that our rivals and enemies see our impotence in asymmetrical conflict. Bush does not want to embolden the terrorist. My God - or Buddha - something help us - He doesn’t think that showing the terrorist that the most powerful military in the world has to outsource the job of capturing scrawny bin Laden, and can’t do it, and can’t pacify a crushed nation either - he doesn’t think that emboldens anybody. I want some of what he is smoking.

Posted by: Ray Guest at June 18, 2006 08:47 PM
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