no end to iraq

Posted on April 13, 2008

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The Iraqi government has just fired 1,300 army and police personnel, for not performing up to par, if at all, during the recent offensive ordered by the country’s prime minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki in Basra.

You can hardly blame them for not wanting to fight. The offensive was reportedly so haphazardly planned that it turned from an offensive into a farce, as the weaknesses of the government troops soon became obvious and quelling the Shiite militia became an embarrassing failure that resulted in more chaos.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that after five years, the training of Iraqi troops still remains sloppy and discipline is a joke. After all, the US government under the Bush administration has not set boundaries for improvement and is just meandering along with no exit strategy, no goals nor objectives, bleeding a staggering $12 billion a month on this fiasco while the US economy is fast going down the toilet.

So no pressure al-Maliki, you are doing a heck of a job. Take your time, you can sack all those incompetents and start all over again. The US isn’t going anywhere, not according to the Bush administration anyway.

It was pretty shocking — and surreal at the same time — to watch how the commander of the Iraq War, General David Petraeus, and the US ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, waffled and sidestepped the most basic and reasonable questions, such as what conditions had to be fulfilled before troops could be withdrawn, or when the war might end. The most disturbing thing is, Petraeus and Crocker don’t have the answers themselves.

They seem to have forgotten that the whole idea for the “surge” in the first place was to provide stability so that the Iraqis themselves could use the breathing space to strengthen their political and military institutions and US troops could step back, hand things over to them, and LEAVE. Good luck to anyone who still believes that any work was done towards achieving that.

Never mind that 4,000 American lives have been lost. Forget the fact, too, that the war is estimated to cost $3 trillion, according to Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Harvard University public finance Professor Laura Bilmes. Bush does not have a plan and with the way things are going, it is going to be up to the next US president to decide how to handle the mess. Which means more lives will be lost and more money down the drain for a disastrous, senseless military adventure, before there will be relief.

No wonder Bush’s approval ratings just fell again, to the lowest level ever in his two terms of office. 28 per cent said they approved of his performance, according to the latest Gallup poll. The only intriguing thing is, who are these 28 per cent who approve of his performance? Have they been living under a rock all this while?

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Posted in: iraq, politics, US