Citizen Deux said…
Sorry you are so sleepless. I can’t agree with the Iraq observation. The bubbling over of the sectarian violence is our fault. The question is, how awful would it be if we simply left? And would more troops really make a difference?
The issue is policing and law and order. Something military personnel can not accomplish without draconian measures. Measures we are not willing to undertake.
So the question is whether Iraq continues to smolder until it flares up or dies down? And how long? We still have troops on the ground in the former Yugoslavia, whose populations grievances are far less violent than some of the Sunni and Shiite qualms (not to mention the provocation from Iran and Syria).
Iraq allows us two things, establish a government which is self determining in that nation. Act as a buffer to Iran and Syria without the ugly, religious problem of having troops in Saudi.
Remember the war is at three levels;
1) Nation States (sponsors and direct / indirect enemies – Iran, Syria, Pakistan (half), North Korea (logistics))
2) Transnational Actors – Al Queada, Al Ansar al Islam, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc.
3) Splinter Cells – Non-aligned agents who are either directly or indirectly tied to the above (the parlance of national security agencies)
Hang in there…
I was going to respond “in comment” but decided to respond as a post instead.
Yeah, I was tired and not reasoning on all cylinders. But I’m not sure what our presence now is accomplishing. It appears the coalition is no longer the main target of violence, which is good. It seems that after we offed Al Zawkari, something has shifted. Here is a thought. During the first elections, everyone was overjoyed that there was no outbreak of violence, sunni against shia or vise versa, though that was less likely since sunni didn’t officially participate. Neither side wanted to be seen as the one spilling first blood. But now that the sectarian gloves are off, I doubt we will get through another election without bloodshed.
There really isn’t much we can do to stop the different sects from blowing each other up. The problem is that they’re targeting the civilian population, attempting to show that we are powerless to stop them. To me this is the point where the Iraqi police must be able to step up as an independent force and find ways to stop this. Gangs here in the US would never (hopefully) start blowing up civies, in part because there is no purpose to do so, but also because they know law enforcement would descend upon then like the dark angel of death. The Iraq police must become that same type of juggernaught and they won’t achieve that until our military presence in the country is negligible.
I want to write more, but I must get my but out the door and go to work. Will write more later.