Political reconciliation in Iraq will occur, but not at our insistence or in ways that meet our benchmarks. It will happen on Iraqi terms when the reality on the battlefield is congruent with that in the political sphere. There will be no magnanimous solutions that please every party the way we expect, and there will be winners and losers. The choice we have left is to decide which side we will take. Trying to please every party in the conflict — as we do now — will only ensure we are hated by all in the long run.At the same time, the most important front in the counterinsurgency, improving basic social and economic conditions, is the one on which we have failed most miserably. Two million Iraqis are in refugee camps in bordering countries. Close to two million more are internally displaced and now fill many urban slums. Cities lack regular electricity, telephone services and sanitation. “Lucky” Iraqis live in gated communities barricaded with concrete blast walls that provide them with a sense of communal claustrophobia rather than any sense of security we would consider normal.
The real war…not the one spun from the White House or from the pen of the right-wing flacks. This NY Times article wasn’t written from the safety of the editorial chair or from some anti-war club-room. These are the words from the men who lived there..the sergeants.
Many folks want this to be black and white. There are gradations. The current course is leading us into Middle East suicide and is eroding any moral suasion we have world-wide. Despite the wishes of many (of us), complete immediate withdrawal is not feasible either. The world awaits our next move and our next President. The current President is stubborn and morally bereft. His brain-trust is dissolving.
I’m not hearing any plan from either side of the aisle that strikes me as courageous. This war was ill-conceived and ill-executed. The aftermath of the fall of Saddam is pock-marked by cronyism, over-paid contractors who have ripped off the American AND Iraqi public and fiction emanating from the White House blare.
I applaud the courage of our troops and especially the courage of these soldiers who dare to tell the truth. I pray that we listen.
Thanks to Bridgett for the link.