Thursday, October 28, 2004

Huh? Bad News From Iraq?

I thought freedom was on the march there. I thought major combat operations were over last year. I mean...President George W. Bush said those things were true.

Instead, I read that Ramadi, a Provincial Capital Near Falluja, is rapidly slipping into chaos.
While Ramadi is not exactly a "no go" zone for the marines, like the insurgent stronghold of Falluja 30 miles to the east, officers say it is fast slipping in that direction. In the last six weeks, guerrillas have stepped up the pace of assassinations of Iraqis working with the Americans, and marine officials say they suspect Iraqi security officers have been helping insurgents to attack their troops. Reconstruction efforts have ground to a halt because no local contractors are willing to work.
Insurgents have tried discrediting the marines and the local government through widespread propaganda. Clerics regularly preach against the occupation, while guerrillas post the names of Iraqi security officers outside mosques. A marine showed a flier seized from a mosque that depicted a woman in a black robe being raped by men in sunglasses, presumably Americans.
The story has a lot more of the "march of freedom" there in Ramadi, including beheadings, building demolitions, and other hopeful signs of democracy.

Also the AP notes that Signs point to Imminent Showdown In Iraq
An uptick in airstrikes and other military moves point to an imminent showdown between U.S. forces and Sunni Muslim insurgents west of Baghdad -- a decisive battle that could determine whether the campaign to bring democracy and stability to Iraq can succeed.

American officials have not confirmed a major assault is near against the insurgent bastions of Fallujah and neighboring Ramadi. But Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi has warned Fallujah leaders that force will be used if they do not hand over extremists, including terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
A series of policy mistakes by the U.S. military and the Bush administration have transformed Fallujah from a shabby, dusty backwater known regionally for mosques and tasty kebabs into a symbol of Arab pride and defiance of the United States throughout the Islamic world. [Emphasis added.]
I wonder if that "imminent showdown" may be ... oh, around or after election day in America? But how could any military decision in Iraq be pinned to an election in the USA?

Because possibly the civilians are micro-managing the war in Iraq for whatever political benefit it may give the Bush administration?

We'll see.

One more small thing. I don't think the Iraq is exactly like Vietnam, but there are many similarities. One similarity I'd like to point out is that, here in America, few of us knew the names of cities or villages or holidays in Vietnam before that war. But now, after decades, some of them still ring out: My Lai, Tet, Hanoi. And, similarly, we're learning the names of villages, towns, and cities in Iraq: Ramadi, Fallujah, Najaf, and more. Places where they kill American soldiers who they see as "occupiers."

Should we be learning geography through war? I'd rather read a book, but there are Americans in those places shedding blood and losing limbs based, essentially, upon the geographical knowledge of George W. Bush.

Who would willingly base any important decision upon the geographical or historical knowledge of George W. Bush? Not what you impute (probably falsely) is Bush's "steadfastness" or his "moral clarity," or other airy things that Bush would want you to believe. Would you bet the amputation of a limb just upon George W. Bush's concrete knowledge of history or geography or military strategy ?

Who would want to bet their life or their leg on George W. Bush's knowledge of My Lai, or Ramadi, or Hanoi, or Najaf or the Crusades or the Seven Year War?

Not me. Maybe you. If so, you can bet your life , in a concrete way, by joining up with Bush's military adventure.

Put your prostheses where your mouth is.

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