liberal ["liberalis" L - suitable for a freeman, generous; "eleutheros" Gk - free] (adj) generous, open-minded, not subjugated to authoritarian domination; (n) one who believes in liberty, universal suffrage and the free exchange of ideas. elite ["eslire" Fr -- to choose fr.L "eligere" -- choose] (n) the choice part; best of a class; the socially superior part of society.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Rice before Congress

I spent hours watching the CSPAN broadcast of Rice before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Couldn't turn it off.

Without going into the reasons why her viewpoint is so narrowly fixated on American cultural and economic values that don't have much bearing on life in Iraq, I want to review some of the comments in the proceedings.

Richard Lugar, committee chair, opened the proceedings. After the standard history about The Global War On Terror, the liberation, the insurgency, and the hope of the Iraqi people for "freedom and democracy," he added
As we pursue these issues, we should recognize that most Americans are focused on an exit strategy in Iraq. Even if withdrawal timelines are deemed unwise because they might provide a strategic advantage to the insurgency, the American people need to more fully understand the basis upon which our troops are likely to come home.
Translation: "We need to appease the American people who are sick of this war. Even though we have no intention of withdrawing, we have to make it seem like we do."

The strategy Rice articulated to the Committee was clear and concise, but seems unreasonable to me. It is the "building and battling" strategy that the Jews who returned from exile practiced when rebuilding Jerusalem and the Temple, as described in the book of Ezra. Secretary Rice said,
The strategy that is being carried out has profited from the insights of a number of strategic thinkers, civilian and military, inside and outside of government, who have reflected on our experience and on insurgencies in other periods of history.

With our Iraqi allies, we are working to:
  • Clear the toughest places -- no sanctuaries to the enemy – and disrupt foreign support for the insurgents.

  • Hold and steadily enlarge the secure areas, integrating political and economic outreach with our military operations.

  • Build truly national institutions working with more capable provincial and local authorities. Embodying a national compact – not tools of a particular sect or ethnic group -- these Iraqi institutions must sustain security forces, bring rule of law, visibly deliver essential services, and offer the Iraqi people hope for a better economic future.
The Committee didn't point it out, but this is a combination of both defensive and offensive manouvers. Clearing the insurgents out and disrupting their supplies are operations that will draw our forces away from our bases and into "insugent-held" areas. Our forces -- particularly in combination with air power -- have demonstrated their ability to do this.

The problem comes in combination with the second point in strategy: "Holding and enlarging secure areas." This is something that our forces have not been able to do. We invaded the country and held it within days, but have never been able to secure parts of it, except our military bases. In fact, the more we conduct the type of offensive operations described in point one, the more vulnerable the areas we hold become to insurgent attacks. This problem is increased as we "enlarge" the areas we hold and are securing.

The Iraqi military and police are not capable of doing this on their own. So the question is, who gets worn down first: the Sunnis or the Americans? My guess is the Americans. We've already spent more than we can afford in Iraq. People are beginning to realize that the military domination strategy is a flawed one, anyway. Also, the Sunnis will never give up. This is their country.

How wise is the Committee to this? Who knows?

In Another Day in the Empire, Kurt Nimmo remarks
As if to demonstrate how serious the neocons and their fellow travelers in Congress are about the Kill Islam Master Plan, consider the following obiter issued by Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio Republican: “We have to level with the American people. This is another world war.”
The neocons have manouvered the rest of the world into a lose/lose situation.


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