A military victory in Iraq is unattainable, just
as it was in the Vietnam War.
At the close of the Vietnam War in 1975, a telling conversation took place
between an NVA colonel named Tu and an American colonel named Harry Summers.
Col. Summers reportedly said, "You never beat us on the battlefield."
Tu replied, "That may be so, but it is also irrelevant." It is likewise
irrelevant to seek military victory in Iraq.
As conditions deteriorate in Iraq, the American people are told more blood
must be spilled to achieve just such a military victory. Twenty thousand additional
troops and another $100 billion are needed for a "surge." Yet the
people remain rightfully skeptical.
Though we've been in Iraq nearly four years, the meager goal today simply
is to secure Baghdad. This hardly shows that the mission is even partly accomplished.
Astonishingly, American taxpayers now will be forced to finance a multi-billion-dollar
jobs program in Iraq. Suddenly the war is about jobs! We export our manufacturing
jobs to Asia, and now we plan to export our welfare jobs to Iraq – all
at the expense of the poor and middle class here at home.
Plans are being made to become more ruthless in achieving stability in Iraq.
It appears Moqtada al-Sadr will be on the receiving end of our military efforts,
despite his overwhelming support among large segments of the Iraqi people.
It's interesting to note that one excuse given for our failure is leveled
at the Iraqis themselves. They have not done enough, we're told, and are
difficult to train.
Yet no one complains that Mahdi or Kurdish militias or the Badr Brigade (the
real Iraq government, not our appointed government) are not well-trained. Our
problems obviously have nothing to do with training Iraqis to fight, but instead
with loyalties and motivations.
We claim to be spreading democracy in Iraq, but Sadr has far more democratic
support with the majority Shi'ites than our troops enjoy. The problem is not
a lack of democratic consensus; it is the antipathy toward our presence among
In real estate, the three important considerations are location, location,
location. In Iraq, the three conditions are occupation, occupation, occupation.
Nothing can improve in Iraq until we understand that our occupation is the primary
source of the chaos and killing. We are a foreign occupying force, strongly
resented by the majority of Iraq's citizens.
Our inability to adapt to the tactics of 4th generation warfare compounds our
military failure. Unless we understand this, even doubling our troop strength
will not solve the problems created by our occupation.
The talk of a troop surge and jobs program in Iraq only distracts Americans
from the very real possibility of an attack on Iran. Our growing naval presence
in the region and our harsh rhetoric toward Iran are unsettling. Securing the
Horn of Africa and sending Ethiopian troops into Somalia do not bode well for
world peace. Yet these developments are almost totally ignored by Congress.
Rumors are flying about when, not if, Iran will be bombed by either Israel
or the U.S. – possibly with nuclear weapons. Our CIA says Iran is 10 years
away from producing a nuclear bomb and has no delivery system, but this does
not impede our plans to keep "everything on the table" when dealing
We should remember that Iran, like Iraq, is a third-world nation without a
significant military. Nothing in history hints that she is likely to invade
a neighboring country, let alone do anything to America or Israel. I am concerned,
however, that a contrived Gulf of Tonkin-type incident may occur to gain popular
support for an attack on Iran.
Even if such an attack is carried out by Israel over U.S. objections, we will
be politically and morally culpable since we provided the weapons and dollars
to make it possible.
Let's hope I'm wrong about this one.