Failure in Iraq

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The failure in Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition of the willing to sustain control over the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, let alone be able to establish a cohesive and cooperative government in the New Iraq, becomes more apparent daily.

Z'ev Schiff wrote May 28, 2004, in Ha'aretz that "there is no path other than failure for the two occupiers in the Middle East. ... 'For all their love of history and democracy, the Vulcans just ignored two major certainties: One, that Iraq was and is an artificial state, and two, that outside regime change would require an extended occupation.'" [1]

Failures in Iraq

Going to War With the Army You Have

Nature of the Iraqi Resistance

It would appear that, for one thing, there has been a "propensity to mis-analyze the resistance." This is succinctly explained by Asia Times's Michael Schwartz in his March 10, 2005, "The failings of 'the army you have'". Schwartz first cites a February 2005 account from a Newsweek team led by Rod Nordland:[2]

"The initial United States assault on Iraq was so successful that Saddam Hussein's plan for systematic resistance fell apart almost immediately, leaving a dispersed, unruly guerrilla movement with little or no coherent leadership. In the two subsequent years, however, the Saddamists formed a wealthy and savvy leadership group in Syria. In the meantime Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist with ties to al-Qaeda, asserted his domination over the on-the-ground resistance. Pressure from recent US offensives drove the two groupings into an increasingly comfortable alliance."
Barham Salih, the Iraqi deputy prime minister sums it up: "'The Ba'athists regrouped and, in the last six or seven months, reorganized. Plus they had significant amounts of money, in Iraq and in Syria.' Those contacts and networks that Saddam's key cronies began developing months before the invasion now paid off. An understanding was found with the Islamic fanatics, and the well-funded Ba'athists appear to have made Syria a protected base of operations. 'The Iraqi resistance is a monster with its head in Syria and its body in Iraq' is the colorful description given by a top Iraqi police official ... Zarqawi's people supply the bombers, the Ba'athists provide the money and strategy.'"

Schwartz then says, however, that the Central Intelligence Agency "issued a contrary report around the time the Newsweek article appeared.

"According to the CIA, the Zarqawi faction and his Saddamist allies were 'lesser elements' in the resistance, which was increasingly dominated by 'newly radicalized Sunni Iraqis, nationalists offended by the occupying force, and others disenchanted by the economic turmoil and destruction caused by the fighting'. There is," he states, "in fact, a vast body of publicly available evidence in support of the CIA's perspective, including, for example, most first-hand accounts of the resistance in Fallujah and other cities in the Sunni triangle.
"In the short, dreary history of America's Iraq war, US leaders have repeatedly acted on gross misconceptions about whom they were fighting - sometimes based on faulty intelligence, but sometimes in the face of perfectly accurate intelligence. This is, in all likelihood, another instance where they believe their own distortions, and it is worthwhile attempting to understand the underlying pattern that produces this almost predictable error."

Ah, Democracy ... "blooming in the Iraqi desert" with "breezes blowing in the Middle East"

"W. successfully confused Americans by labeling the invasion of Iraq an offensive thrust in the war on terror, even though Iraq had played no role in the 9/11 attacks, had no ties with Al Qaeda and had no weapons to share with terrorists. But 9/11 was an emasculating blow, and the White House had to strike back at somebody.
"What the administration doesn't acknowledge, as it crows about democracy blooming in the Iraqi desert, is that our defense against terrorists who want to attack here [in the U.S.] is full of holes, and that the war in Iraq may have made it even worse. Despite the promising election, the war has created more insurgents and given them a training ground. It has siphoned off attention, money and troops that could have been used to catch Osama bin Laden, pursue Al Qaeda and secure our own country. And it has alienated not only many Arabs, but also allies who were eager, after 9/11, to help us fight Al Qaeda - even Italians are mad now."
"While the president and the neocons try to remake the Middle East to help future generations, can't they find a little time to remake our security to protect this generation?"
  • Robert Parry pointed out March 9, 2005, that[3]:
"By giving George W. Bush and his neoconservative advisers far too much credit for recent political shifts in the Middle East, the U.S. news media is emboldening these architects of the Iraq War to escalate their regional strategy, which may include a military solution in Iraq that could cross into genocide."
"... crediting Bush and his neoconservatives for democratic breezes blowing in the Middle East – appears to be just the latest case of dangerous wishful thinking, the kind of rush to judgment that surrounded the erroneous acceptance of Bush’s WMD claims in fall 2002 and the premature celebration of U.S. military victory in Iraq in spring 2003."
"There is also the danger that this latest misinterpretation of events – that the Arab world is rallying behind Bush’s leadership – is already contributing to a backlash that could undermine democratic advances."

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