Daily Archives: January 17, 2004
Thoughts on this report, Bounding the Global War on Terrorism . published in December 2003 by the Strategic Studies Institute. A military critique of Bush Administration policy and action in Iraq.
“JEFFREY RECORD joined the Strategic Studies Institute in
August 2003 as Visiting Research Professor. He is a professor in
the Department of Strategy and International Security at the US
Air Force’s Air War College in Montgomery, Alabama. He is the
author of six books and a dozen monographs, including: Making
War, Thinking History: Munich, Vietnam, and Presidential Uses of Force
from Korea to Kosovo; Revising US Military Strategy: Tailoring Means
to Ends; Beyond Military Reform; Hollow Victory, A Contrary View of
the Gulf War; War The Wrong War, Why We Lost in Vietnam; and Failed
States and Casualty Phobia, Implications for U.S. Force Structure and
The above quoted from the blurb about Dr. Record at the beginning of the report. It is a long report, 52 pages of analysis plus 10 pages of footnotes, but it is available for download in pdf format so it can be read at leisure. It will be said that Dr. Record supports the so-called “liberal” line as well as the other disaffected generals who have voiced their opinions and criticisms of the war by calling it a distraction from the Al-Qaeda problem. Republicans will try to dismiss its importance and may well try to smear the writer as they did Ambassador Wilson. However, to my mind, it clearly and concisely points out the appalling stupidity of the Bush Administration in leading us into Iraq. It is a report that as many as possible should read before trying to come up with a reasonable program of what do now that we are there and facing a growing guerrilla movement. Harping on what cannot be changed, as so many Democrats do doesn’t seem useful now that we’re in it up to our necks, even though they have the story of this disaster straight.
What Democrats especially need to come up with now is an alternative plan for Iraq that inspires the confidence of Iraqis, Americans, and the rest of the world with trust in a plan that meets the Iraqi idea of what kind of a state they will now be with a government that will, with help, be able to restore order, economic growth, and political stability. Democrats need to tell the American people the truth: that our preemptive attack on Iraq has made the entire region more unstable than it was before, and that we must let real homegrown Iraqis, not an imposed Governing Council, now build their own future, whether or not we like the result. We need a Clinton-type practical, realistic think tank to come up with something that might just work. This should be a fully funded nation-building program in which regional and European powers have a say as well as a contribution to make, and the United Nations can use its vast experience and expertise in safety. Is it too late?
Every Democratic politician needs to stand up and shout “Wake Up America! You’ve been mislead and lied to by a bunch of playground bullies who’ve gotten you into a colossal mess with friend and foe alike. Wake up and care about what your country is doing to those weaker and culturally different from us.
It was unrealistic to promise some sort of sovereignty by July 1, 2004 that is unrepresentative and unelected since general elections can’t be held by then, but that seems to be the Bush pattern: Promise anything so you can’t be accused of a lack of vision, but never produce the actions necessary to make the promises real. The easy rebuilding, the easy transition to civil democratic rule and a market economy to be done in a year or two without the boots on the ground?! Promises, promises… unkept, underfunded, undermanned. No wonder so many have become cynical and depressed.
The fact that the Iraq Governing Council has abolished the Iraqi Civil Code in favor of Shari’a Law governing women and families has received little attention here, but should because this is the kind of slide towards fundamentalist Islamic government that the shia want, but the US has said it wouldn’t accept. Will all the talk of rights for Iraqi women become more of the unkept promises as Bush tries to come to some sort of agreement with the Ayatollah Sistani?
The Shari’a may not be the final word on the subject. It depends on which blog you’re reading at the moment.
I’ve been reading Healing Iraq and realize just how uninformed we are here in the USA by our press and media. It’s depressing to think that there may well be a civil war in Iraq after July 1 because of the competing power grabs by the presently strongest factions, the Shia and the Kurds, and the resentment of other groups at the current attempts to manipulate the CPA. The comment posted January 14 is revealing, at least to me, in that it shows how much many Sunnis were willing to turn over their country and did not resist the invasion because they too suffered under Saddam and wanted the dictator gone. Add to that our apparent inability to take advantage of the opportunity given by the lack of resistance to interact with tribal leaders and gain their cooperation, and our blunders in the dismissal of the Iraqi Army and all the government workers, and what we see now is a recipe for division and possible eventual civil war, not a stable, democratic example for the rest of the Middle East to follow. Depressing.
Another point of view on Al-Sistani, the Shiite ayatollah who has caused so much controversy lately in the entry of January 15 on Iraq At A Glance. Our press tends to look at such figures as monolithic in their influence over an entire region, but they only control the crowd of less well educated which capture the photo headlines.
For balance to blogs like <a href="http://riverbendblog.blogspot.com/”>Baghdad Burning , and Where’s Raed? have a look at Iraq & Iraqis . When you read these, you get an idea of the variety of opinion in Iraq itself which should give Americans particularly a better perspective on what is really happening. Don’t forget to look at as many pictures as possible. They, too, are instructive.
Great pictures and another point of view can be found at Mullings by Richard Galen. A different kind of balance by an American Republican who put himself in harm’s way (4 months beginning in November) for the US Government. He’s a bit too much of a cheerleader for military types, the CPA, and the present Administration for my taste, but the photos are interesting. It’s published by a group calling itself Campaign Solutions, so that should give you a clue.
Saturday, January 17, 2004