Just Above Sunset
January 16, 2005 - The Only Causes Worth Fighting For Are Lost Causes

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

From the pro-war Stratfor military experts we get this (paid subscription required) - the war to control the Iraq insurgency or to erect democratic institutions in Iraq has been lost.  Period.


The issue facing the Bush administration is simple. It can continue to fight the war as it has, hoping that a miracle will bring successes in 2005 that didn't happen in 2004. Alternatively, it can accept the reality that the guerrilla force is now self-sustaining and sufficiently large not to flicker out and face the fact that a U.S. conventional force of less than 150,000 is not likely to suppress the guerrillas. More to the point, it can recognize these facts: 1. The United States cannot re-engineer Iraq because the guerrillas will infiltrate every institution it creates. 2. That the United States by itself lacks the intelligence capabilities to fight an effective counterinsurgency. 3. That exposing U.S. forces to security responsibilities in this environment generates casualties without bringing the United States closer to the goal. 4. That the strain on the U.S. force is undermining its ability to react to opportunities and threats in the rest of the region. And that, therefore, this phase of the Iraq campaign must be halted as soon as possible.


That’s the recommendation – let the inevitable civil war happen.




Then this from a newspaper in Greensboro, North Carolina -


U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, dean of the state's congressional delegation and an avowedly strong supporter of President Bush, says it's time for the United States to consider withdrawing from war-ravaged Iraq.


Coble, a Republican from Greensboro, is one of the first members of Congress -- Republican or Democrat -- to say publicly that the United States should consider a pullout.


The 10-term congressman, head of the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, said he is "fed up with picking up the newspaper and reading that we've lost another five or 10 of our young men and women in Iraq." [...]


Coble said he arrived at his position only after many months of searching in vain for evidence that the Bush administration had a post-invasion strategy to deal with the transition to Iraqi self-government.


… Coble said that if he had known there was no post-invasion strategy at the time of the vote on the war-powers resolution he would have "insisted that we keep our powder dry while we do some probing and planning."


Jesus.  What’s up?


The Republicans making odd noises.


Kevin Drum


Some pretty senior Republicans have been getting awfully nervous about Iraq lately, and apparently they've decided on a party line for why they're counseling withdrawal: we're not losing because we have too few troops in Iraq, we're losing because we have too many troops. I imagine this has the advantage of not sounding like a direct criticism of Bush and Rumsfeld while still advancing a plausible reason why we need to get out.


I wonder if anyone in the White House is buying it?


What he’s talking about?




Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, an architect of the U.S. war with Iraq in 1991, is advising the Bush administration to consider a phased withdrawal of some of the 150,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.


Otherwise, Baker says, the United States risks being suspected of having an "imperial design" in the region.


....former President George H.W. Bush's secretary of state said, "any appearance of a permanent occupation will both undermine domestic support here in the United States and play directly into the hands of those in the Middle East who — however wrongly — suspect us of imperial design."


What’s up with that? 


In last week’s issue I reported here that the president has ordered that no one tell him bad news.  He doesn’t want to hear it.


Bob Patterson adds this -


That's very interesting.  If Bush has declared he doesn't want to hear bad news, are you going to volunteer to bring this to his attention?


I certainly wouldn't.


Nico in Montréal -


American withdrawal would necessitate supporting its fragile puppet structure.  Couldn't allow a bin-Ladenstan to sprout out of Iraq.


A pullout would require the US to protract any ensuing civil war until it can find a winner it can rally to American democratic values or a winner that they could at least buy off for American interests.  Oil for arms.


"Not our fault Iraq is still under martial law!"


Better to just see how the election goes.  All everyone has to do is hold his or her breath, take whatever election medicine it will be.  You wait - the US will start replacing soldiers with money as quickly as it can call victory.


And if only strong arm / strong man tactics win / maintain control in Iraq, how long before he grows a bushy moustache and is seen brandishing a rifle on the presidential balcony, the next Saddam?


For real results, maybe the nuclear bomb idea the Israelis have isn't such a bad option.  Clear the problems away and cower Syria into allowing a pipeline and protected highway from Baghdad to Jerusalem, and force the Syrians to take the pesky Palestinians out of the West Bank.


Ha, ha.  We backed ourselves into a corner where the only option is to nuke everyone?  Well, that’s not an option, or one hopes not.


But we did make things worse. 


Yes, the war made things worse – terrorism increased – according to the National Intelligence Council.  They are the advisors to the CIA.  But no one will tell Bush.


See this:


Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director's think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."


That's the "best" scenario?


President Bush has frequently described the Iraq war as an integral part of U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. But the council's report suggests the conflict has also helped terrorists by creating a haven for them in the chaos of war.

"At the moment," NIC Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, Iraq "is a magnet for international terrorist activity.

… But as instability in Iraq grew after the toppling of Hussein, and resentment toward the United States intensified in the Muslim world, hundreds of foreign terrorists flooded into Iraq across its unguarded borders. They found tons of unprotected weapons caches that, military officials say, they are now using against U.S. troops. Foreign terrorists are believed to make up a large portion of today's suicide bombers, and U.S. intelligence officials say these foreigners are forming tactical, ever-changing alliances with former Baathist fighters and other insurgents.


But the president says we’re winning.  The intelligence agencies say no, the scholars and researchers say no, leaders in his own party are talking about getting out.


Who is going to tell him about all this?







"The only causes worth fighting for are lost causes." 


The line is from the musical The Man from La Mancha – where Don Quixote is a noble but harmless fool.  He never wavers.  He loses all, but triumphs in an odd way.  We laugh.  We weep.  Great show.  But no one dies.  He’s not in control of the most powerful military the world has ever seen, occupying a foreign nation where the locals are making no end of trouble, or we are.  When he says these words they are harmless.


Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....