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Thursday, September 06, 2007


Written by Michael Linn Jones

One cannot but notice the giant bubble quickly rising to the poltical surface in the form of the "Patraeus Report" due shortly. General Patraeus is to ascertain what effects the "surge" has had on the Iraqi mess.

There seems to be two basic lines of thought. One is that the report will have Gen. Patraeus' name on it but actually written by the White House. Therefore it is a sham before anything is printed.

The other approach seems to say that the surge is a huge success and that the general's report is superfluous; Kaite Couric can walk around a market and announce that everything has "improved" since....well, it was her first trip but she has to say something for $15 million a year.

What strikes me is the lack of analysis based upon common sense, rather than political wishful thinking. I am sure that with increased troop strength that many areas in Iraq are more "stable," as in less overt violence. This is testimony to the concept that the more troops we have there the greater control we (the U.S.) will exert upon everyone, including insurgents.

The problem with this is that one can extrapolate that here is a solid case for instituting a draft, raising the troop level in the armed forces considerably, and properly holding the hands of the Iraqis for decades. That would mean forcing young Americans to do something they don't want to do. It would also require more of the American population to sacrifice, in that paying for the war...really paying for the war will mean less money for consumer items. Yes, as horrible as it sounds, war interrupts lives. Or it's supposed to.

Since Vietnam there has been a silent compact between the American people and its government. Have any conflict you want, just make sure there's lots of "oohs" and "aahs" from great video footage, and it's over in less than a month.
The Iraqi conflict has violated that compact. I won't argue with anyone that a bunch of idiots got our nation involved in this, but warfare is also like a barbed arrow. You can't just pull it out without inflicting even more damage than it made going in.

The Patraeus Report cannot tell Congress the truth about one thing: American armed forces are burdened with the impossible task of permanently policing an entire nation afterhaving fulfilled its military mission within six weeks. Using the military to maintain civil order is like shoveling sand with a pitchfork.

What is needed is a firm committment by the Iraqi government (whoever they turn out to be) and the people it represents to take the training wheels off themselves.
Also, please spare me the "democracy" hub-bub. We are not concerned with democracy in China or Russia, or a lot of other places. Some areas of the world seem allergic to democracy, and Iraq is one big rash.

In the end, the Patraeus Report will do no more than once again place the mantle of Iraqi responsibility upon the U.S. military. Oddly, and sadly, the accounting to the families of our men and women in uniform in Iraq, those, living, wounded, or dead, must come not from Washington, but Baghdad.

The silence so far is deafening, if not offensive.

Michael Linn Jones
This post also at Michael Linn

*****Mr. Deal has linked to this post...

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