BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates will meet Iraqi leaders for talks in Baghdad on Saturday after criticizing what he called their disappointing progress in passing laws Washington views as critical to ending violence.Does anyone see an oil field anywhere in this picture? Does anyone see a voting booth in this picture?
Gates, who flew into Baghdad on Friday night, met U.S. military commanders on Saturday to assess a troop build-up designed to buy time for Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shi'ite-led government to win over disaffected Sunni Arabs, who form the backbone of the four-year-old insurgency.
His visit and frank criticism was a sign Washington is growing increasingly worried about what U.S. officials see as foot-dragging on laws on distributing oil revenues, control of regional oil fields and holding provincial elections.
As gun mongers are quick to point out, it's not the lack of laws, it's the lack of enforcement. From a certain point of view, they're right: you can pass all the laws you want, impose all the curfews you want, but unless you've got the people capable of rooting out those who would violate them, you got nothing.
The simple fact is, sending more American troops to Iraq was a failed policy from the start. One could have made the case that an additional 20,000 (now thirty thousand) troops sent in support of our forces already there might have made sense if the job was to secure strongholds that American forces could expand into larger areas, to then protect civilians, but more important, to train replacements.
It's clear that the now-concluded surge has merely made more American troops targets, despite its limited success in some regions of Baghdad. Naturally, the administration response to this is, "give it more time," that the troops need to be integrated into combat. Oh, and to blame the Iraqis.
Some of those troops have been there since February. That's more than three months. Seems to me they should have received better training here before rushing them over there. If you're going to take a long view of victory, then there's no reason to scurry to implement an escalation, particularly since your stated aim is to fall back and secure your holdings. You rush troops into battle because you feel time is an element in victory.
As to the second point, blaming the Iraqis, it also seems clear that this is a way to buy time for Bush to figure out Plan B, but on its face, it's pretty stupid. Yes, revenue sharing and oil rights are important to Iraq and a way of sharing them needs to be discovered (personally, I think they should do what Alaska does and hand out a stipend to the people directly, but what do I know?), but there are far larger issues to be addressed. Throwing money at this problem was never a real solution in a country that was used to being fairly well-off financially for centuries.
This is blood-warfare, kanly to you Dune fans, will not go away anytime soon, ay any price. Look at our own history. The Civil War effectively ended what had been a near one hunded year struggle by the South to impose its will on the nation, and yet the Civil War never really ended. It echoes even today with the Rebel flag controversies, with the glee that secessionists view how "liberal policies and East Coast elitists" have been severly hampered by their obstructionist, reactionary, recessive-gene-induced efforts. Kanly, indeed.
But not defeated. It wouldn't be a civil war if only one side fought, of course. That Sunni, Shi'a and Kurd have come to blows is not surprising, given the tumultuous history of Iraq in the 20th and 21st centuries. That things will only get worse is a no-brainer.
But then I forget who's running this country...as an added bonus, Iraqis also have the chance to perform kanly on any American they see.
Laws about oil revenues will not stop the conflict. Our best hope for peace in Iraq is to turn it into the Koreas, and that will involve a commitment of fifty plus years (and counting), tens of thousands of troops, and the stomach to make one man's egregious blunder a national commitment.
And who the hell wants the Bush family to suck even more money from the national teat? We ought to declare kanly on the House of Bush.