Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pre-Escalation Speechifying Advice

Tonight, as many [may] know, is the night that President Bush doles out yet another speech regarding troops in Iraq. At 9:00 PM EST, he's more than likely going to call for additional forces, an... escalation, if you will. If you watch, I have one piece of advice for you: make sure there is nothing within throwing distance between you and the teevee. Trust me, you're going to want to hurl something.

UPDATE: Well, I watched it and I didn't physically hurl or throw anything. There was a moment when I was tempted to throttle the teevee, but that's kinda impossible to do.

I was a bit disturbed by President Bush's talk of how "we" made mistakes and how "our" mistakes will be rectified. No, Mr. President, not 'our' mistake. Your mistake, and a lot of people said that your plans wouldn't work in the first place. I don't think you listened. He said in his speech that he has talked to people (now) in order to come together with a new plan, yet if he has, it just sounds like the same old same old plan. At one point he said, "Our past efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two principal reasons," and before he could rattle them off, I thought to myself, yea, and they are you and Rummy. The two mistakes he really cited? Not enough American and Iraqi troops (d'oh) to clear neighborhoods that had already been cleared (double d'oh) and too many restrictions on troops. Anyway, I think after that I blacked out. Can't remember the rest of the speech.

Just kidding.

The only way his new 'plan' will work is if the Iraqi police force that he's talking about deploying (or having the Iraqis deploy... even trickier), can control secured neighborhoods. That's saying if the police can control neighborhoods secured by U.S. troops. Or even IF the neighborhoods can be controlled in the first place. There is no guarantee that they can (and yes, I support the troops, dammit), and I am not inspired by the Iraqi police forces. The police seem to be too infiltrated and fractioned to control neighborhoods that have solidified along the sects of Iraqi Islam, let alone al Qaeda or Iranian or whatever forces. Can Maliki rally his Iraqi troops along nationalist lines as opposed to religious divisions? That's the one thing that Hussein did as dictator that effectively (though brutally), quelled the bad blood between the sects. Baathist belief, based on Marxist thought, was able to smother religious urgings, under a secular and nationalist Iraqi rule.

Can Maliki unite Iraq democratically as Iraqis and not Sunni or Shia Iraqis? Unless someone comes along to unit these opposing religious brothers and sisters as Iraqis, the experiment won't work. And that's not even taking into consideration Kurdish Christians in the North.

Chris O'Donnell, on MSNBC, brought out an interesting numbers thought tonight. New York City has 45,000 police officers to police 7 million people in the five boroughs. The city is 309 square miles, separated by several rivers and estuaries. There is no bloody sectarian violence, though there can be moments of kavetching about which borough is better. There is crime. In 2005, 537 people were murdered. Baghdad also contains 7 million people in 204 square miles. I don't know how many police are ready to take to the streets in Baghdad. There is violence, more violence, and crime. Some people say as many as 700,000 people have died, as 'few' as 200,000. If there are not at least 80,000 police, don't expect success, either.

We're in the perfect quandary and there's no easy way out. Monumental mistakes have been made and it's really too little too late in regards to Iraq. I hope I am wrong. I don't think the Democrats will be able to stop this 'surge,' a word I read somewhere today is not in the military handbook of military terminology.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

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