Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Khalilzad to Secretary of State: Life is Horrendous Outside Green Zone

This is a must read. This is a memo from Ambassador Khalilzad to Secretary Rice showing the real life problems facing Iraqi workers at the US Embassy. Gregory Djerejian has a great analysis of the problems. What troubles me is that some actually think this is a success. These Iraqis in this memo work for the United States, and, one assumes, get paid a little better than most Iraqis will. But look what they have to go through. Is this the flourishing democracy promised by neo-cons? Some compare this to reconstructing Germany and Japan after the war. Can anyone honestly say they saw this three years into reconstructing Germany and Japan? Andrew Sullivan likes to say, "Fire Rumsfeld Now!" It's become his calling card on the issues of Iraq and torture. But, much as this war was Rumsfeld's strategy, it is his boss who did not want more troops in Iraq. It is his boss, Mr. Bush, who wanted a quick war (for political reasons, so he could get re-elected in 2004). Bush likes to say, "Stay the course." Is this the course they want to stay in? How horrible! There are three options available to us right now. 1. Stay the course, as Bush proscribes. That means keep troop levels at the current, weak level. Violence will continue unabated against both Iraqis and Americans. The sectarian violence that has been sparked into a firestorm with the bombing of the Mosque in February will not end anytime soon. Heck, we should stop calling it sectarian violence and name it for what it is. A Civil War. It is obvious to anyone who is paying attention and not bamboozled or brainwashed into a political ideology that the "stay the course" plan is a failure, and will doom Iraq to further bloodshed. Not a viable option. 2. Leave Iraq now. A favorite of the anti-Iraq War side. I lean towards this one partially. We leave Iraq now, except for the embassy prescence. Keep a large contingency in Kuwait ready to move at moment's notice, but basically let the Iraqis govern themselves and patrol and police themselves now. Not in the future, but now. Get the crutches off. The only way the current Iraqi government will ever gain legitimacy in the eyes of all its people is if the United States was no longer there. We're shooting ourselves (and the Iraqi governemnt---not to mention civilians!) in the foot by constantly remaining there. It is common knowledge among Iraqis that US military willfully kills civilians in Iraq. Our presence there only fuels the animosity and hate and anger. It's time to get out. This is not a "cut and run" option as painted by Republicans (who want troops home before the November election but are afraid to say so publicly), but it will mean that we've not succeeded in Iraq. It is a better option than Bush's "stay the course" option. 3. Get the job done right. This is the political suicide option. This one will actually require a politician to sacrifice himself to get the job done. It will require a politician to actually ask Americans to make a sacrifice in order to get the job done. The reason the violence is so bad is because, very simply, there are not enough troops in Iraq. This is the monumental failure of the Bush Administration. This problem leads to all other problems in Iraq. All other problems will not have existed if we had enough troops. The reason reconstruction went as well as it has in Germany and Japan after WWII is because we actually made a sacrifice and made an effort. We must have hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq to squelch and smother this insurgency and the sectarian violence. American troops must be on every corner on every street. Iraq must be a colony of America while the structures of a modern Western-style government is created over a long period of time. Politicians (and neo-con pundits) think they can transform a country as complex and diverse as Iraq into a flourishing Western-style democracy not only on the cheap, but without the possible ramifications that with democracy, we could get a government that is not friendly towards the US. What BS! If you are going to start a nation-building project, you have to do it right, or do not even begin to attempt it. You will not only fail, but you will cost the lives of hundreds, thousands, and perhaps, hopefully not, millions of people. The sad thing is that those who advocate for this are therefore not held accountable when it fails. It's okay. God will hold them accountable at Judgment Day. In any case, I choose option three. It will never happen, of course. That's because today's American leaders are not really leaders who inspire people to "ask not what [their country] can do for [them,] but what [they] can do for [their] country.". Instead, today's leaders ask Americans to go shopping. Spend money, not save money. Consume, not sacrifice. Because of this, higher priorities with vastly more profound impacts fail. The greater the goal, the more it will cost. I was against the war in Iraq, and will be for the rest of my life. It is a failure of the grandest kind, and Bush will go down in history as the Worst President in US History. That's what happens when you shoot for the moon in a Yugo

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