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(DV) Williamson: The Boots on the Ground in Iraq -- One Size Fits All







The Boots On the Ground in Iraq: One Size Fits All
by Harold Williamson
June 28, 2005

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“Extreme positions are not succeeded by moderate ones, but by contrary extreme positions.”

--  Friedrich Nietzsche

In a speech at the White House commemorating the one-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, President Bush said, “All of us can now agree that the fall of the Iraqi dictator has removed a source of violence, aggression and instability in the Middle East.” Yet most Iraqis will now argue that the removal of Saddam Hussein from power merely replaced one form of tyranny with another.

It seems as if it was only yesterday when a Sept. 24, 2004, New York Times editorial commented on the “performance” of Iraq's “acting” prime minister Ayad Allawi during a short visit to Washington: “His main appeal to Iraqis rests on the notion that he may be the only politician ruthless enough to hold the fragmenting country together.” 

But what about Saddam Hussein?  The U.S. captured him and locked him up.

The Los Angeles Times recently reported what has been obvious since the very beginning of U.S. superpower intervention in Iraq with this headline: “Iraqi Security Tactics Evoke the Hussein Era.” The Times article stated, “Having endured more than two years of violence since the U.S.-led invasion, many Iraqis favor tough measures to end the unrest. The death penalty was recently reinstated, and for much of the country there is an unspoken acceptance -- often rooted in harsh tribal justice -- that intimidation and torture serve a purpose.”  The article further stated that, “Such attitudes are complicated by sectarian strains between Shiite and Sunni Muslims.”

Each side is blaming the other for the violence in Iraq, in what is nothing short of a full-blown civil war with the United States caught in the middle.  At the time of this writing, more than 100 people have been killed in attacks on Iraqis by Iraqis in just the last ten days. 

In fact, the violence has gotten so bad that Dahr Jamail, one of only a few reliable news sources that have not been “embedded” with Pentagon propaganda, said in his May 18 dispatch from Iraq, “any argument that the US military should remain in Iraq to prevent a civil war can be flushed. Besides, anyone arguing that the US military was there to protect the Iraqi people is either blind, in denial, or knows absolutely nothing about the reality on the ground in occupied Iraq.”

Thomas Friedman stated the obvious in a recent column in The New York Times that Iraq is descending deeper and deeper into violence.

But just why is that?

In addition to fighting each other, Iraqis are united in a violent opposition to U.S. troops that have illegally occupied their country and have destroyed any semblance of civilization there. In the process of leveling the political playing field in Iraq, the U.S. also leveled the city of Fallujah along with most of the country's existing infrastructure. 

Yet Friedman advocates sending in even more troops, effectively doubling the boots on the ground in order to “do it right” this time and ignoring the fact that this is the same misguided approach used almost forty years ago to fight the growing insurgency in Vietnam.  Friedman maintains that, “Our core problem in Iraq remains Donald Rumsfeld's disastrous decision -- endorsed by President Bush -- to invade Iraq on the cheap.”  He went on to say, “Almost every problem we face in Iraq today -- the rise of ethnic militias, the weakness of the economy, the shortages of gas and electricity, the kidnappings, the flight of middle-class professionals -- flows from not having gone into Iraq with the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force.”

It seems that noisome, nettlesome neocons will never learn that the core problem in Iraq is the United States presence there, and the decision to invade Iraq in the first place, regardless of cause, was the only mistake. All the rest is bookkeeping.

Regardless of whichever military doctrine that is followed, the violence in Iraq will not be eliminated by using the same rationale that created it.

In a free society, the president must follow the people even as he leads them, and it is now apparent that President Bush responded to a consent that was obtained by coercion, masterfully playing upon the insecurities and ignorance of Americans in order to further highly questionable goals in Iraq.

The United States must leave and let the Iraqis sort things out for themselves. After all, it is -- what's left of it -- their country.

And we Americans need to stick to our knitting and do some sorting for ourselves. We can begin by re-evaluating our national security strategy and impeaching George W. Bush.

Harold Williamson is a Chicago-based independent scholar. He can be reached at: Copyright © 2005 Harold Williamson.

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Other Articles by Harold Williamson

* Memories and Alibis
* Improvisation From The Proscenium, Epilgoue
* Improvisation From The Proscenium, Part Three
* Amnesty International: US Monkeying With Human Rights
* Improvisation From The Proscenium, Part Two
* Did Newsweek Damage America's Image?
* Improvisation From The Proscenium, Part One
* Watching George Bush Trying to Pull a Rabbit Out of His Hat
* Shooting the Messenger Who Reported Human Rights Abuses in Afghanistan
* Agent Orange -- Thirty Years After
* Truth in Humor
* Redefining America
* The Missing WMD: Bush's Red Herring
* The Darkness in America
* Spinning The Vietnam War: What Goes Around Comes Around
* None Dare Call It Murder
* It Isn't God Who is Crazy
* Don't Trust Anybody Over Thirty
* Faith in the Postmodern World
* Remember Who The Enemy Is
* Obscenity, A Sign of the Times and the Post
* Thinking Anew: A Do-It-Yourself Project
* America's Blind Faith in Government
* Think Tanks and the Brainwashing of America
* Bully for the Bush Doctrine: A Natural History Perspective