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January 16, 2007

On Circular Surging And Going There In A Handbasket

Iraqi Shiites.jpgYesterday, John Burns wrote at the NYT that only days after President Bush unveiled a new war plan calling for more than 20,000 additional American troops in Iraq, the heart of the effort - a major push to secure Baghdad, faces some of its fiercest resistance from the very people it depends on for success: Iraqi government officials. These "Iraqi government officials" are of course none other than Iraq's Shiite-led government - from the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, on down. Comments from American military officials state the problem very clearly:

"We are implementing a strategy to embolden a government that is actually part of the problem," said an American military official in Baghdad involved in talks over the plan. "We are being played like a pawn."
Tim F. at Balloon Juice sums it up nicely: "America desperately needs the cooperation of Iraqi forces in order to root out the militias. The President has declared as much. Except, the Iraqi forces are the militias. It's schizophrenic. Although I'm not sure about the appropriateness of the schizophrenic label, of one thing I am sure - it's nuts!

As I mentioned for the umpteenth time a few days ago, we've never had enough troops in Iraq and we've never seriously engaged the enemy - the real enemy - Iran, Syria, and Muqtada al-Sadr. However, sending more troops now without changing the rules of engagement is a complete exercise in futility. The Iraqi nuts are continuing to run the Iraqi nut house.

Let there be no doubt about it. Sending more troops without major changes in the way we conduct the war - as now with our hands tied, will achieve nothing. By letting the Iraqi government dictate who and where we strike, we are essentially handing the Shi'ites, and Iran, the keys to the country and carte blanche to slaughter everyone that doesn't believe as they do, namely the Sunnis. In the process, we are killing our own troops and our own policy. So, instead of giving credence or even an ear to anything the Shi'ite-led, Iran-aligned, Iraqi government has to say, and surge, what must be done is what Victor Davis Hanson proposed a few days ago - begining with putting Iran and Syria on notice that we will bomb terrorists flocking across their borders (and their military as well if they don't stop the terrorists themselves):

Give an ultimatum to militia heads, especially Moqtadar Sadr, to disband or face annihilation from the United States.

Expand the rules of engagement in all matters dealing with IEDs, with a shoot on sight rule concerning anyone found implanting or aiding such efforts.

Enlarge the planned Iraqi security forces to near 400,000, and embed far more Americans in those units.

Recalibrate the ratio of support to combat troops, so that we don't simply create bigger compounds to facilitate larger troop levels to end up with more stationary and more numerous targets--and ever more enclaves of Americans behind thousands of acres of bermed reserves.

.... and with a new mission spelled out under completely new rules of engagement that do not offer or give the enemy any quarter whatsoever - any of them - including the Shi-ites' militias, Iran, and Syria, then, and only then, surge--if need be-- more troops.

is there a parallel course of action? Jules Crittenden offers that there's speculation that the Bush administration's aggressive new strategy, in addition to targeting the Shiite militias and Sunni insurgents, also targets al-Maliki.:

It is increasingly clear that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will continue to obstruct U.S. efforts to take down the greatest threat to stability in Iraq, Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army. At present, the U.S. military is in fact strengthening al-Sadr in Baghdad with attacks on Sunni insurgents in the Haifa Street area. Nothing wrong with taking down Sunni insurgents, but not if al-Sadr and his militia are allowed to survive and benefit from it.
Surge? Only if it means untying the hands of our military and taking out the militias, all of them. Give a damned what the Iraqi government has to say about annihilating the militias and the insurgets - both? Hell no, I say kill them all and let "Allah" sort them out. No terrorist or Islamic ideologue is worth one ounce of the blood of American troops who have sacrificed to give them freedoms that they neither deserve nor care about.

Jules Crittenden says it sounds like time for another "Come to Jesus" chat with al-Maliki, and similar chats all the way down the line.
The Commissar has it that the war in Iraq is already over, and the Shi'ites have won.

Cross posted by Hyscience

Posted by Richard at January 16, 2007 10:11 AM

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