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Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

31 January 2007

Tunnel vision

(I wrote this last night and a rambled a bit more than I intended too. I probably should edit it but I'll pass on that task due to time contstraints.)

A pretty much rhetorical question was asked in response to a comment I left on a blog recently. To paraphrase the blog owner asked which one of us had tunnel vision. Now first of all I really appreciate the fact that he at least considered the possibility that he might have it. Usually when dealing with anti war folks there is never any consideration of the fact that they may be wrong. So I thought about it and I suppose the answer is probably “yes”. We both have a bit of tunnel vision.

Now. I don’t know how much thought he puts into his stance and how much consideration he gives the consequences if he is wrong about it. I frankly spend a lot of time thinking about this. I know as do most people that the war in Iraq has been badly handled from the moment that “major combat operations” ceased. There appears to have been no real plan for what to do next. If there was a plan, it seems to have been very badly carried out. So Iraq has gone to hell. There have been chances to turn things around; some things have gone quite well in fact. But overall the place is falling into chaos which I and my loyal opposition all agree on. The difference is what happens now. They tend to feel that we should pull out troops now. And the reasons they give tend to fall back on the President is an idiot and he lied to us and we never should have gone in and now we need to get out arguments. I feel that when we went in we were more right than wrong in doing it. I think though that we were insufficiently prepared for the war. I have had long posts in the past about why I think the whole “He lied about WMDs” thing is hogwash. Iraq was a major destabilizing influence in the area and it was a supporter of terrorism. (Please note there are more terrorists in the world than al Queda) Also, I personally felt that we owed the people of Iraq something after we called on them to rise up against Saddam Hussein after the first Gulf War and then turned our backs on them when they did and let them get slaughtered. But that is a personal thing for me. Now I frankly feel that we owe them because we broke their country. It was in pretty sad shape before but it is worse now and since we made it worse we have an obligation to at least give a real serious effort to fix it. Could we fail? Absolutely. I am constantly aware of that fact. All that we can do might not be enough to counter the rising tide of hatred and vengeance in the country. Unfortunately it is always easier to destroy than to build. The Al Queda In Iraq plans have thus come together perfectly. They wanted to instigate sectarian violence which is why they carried out more attacks on Shia targets than on us in Iraq. They wanted to discredit us and build up a major vendetta between the Shiite and Sunni factions in Iraq. We knew this, we captured their plans and could see what was happening but we never had enough troops in the country to really stop it. And as I said, it is easier to tear things down than to build or repair. They are accomplishing their goals. They are helped greatly by the endemic culture of corruption that grew under the Saddam regime and the woefully human habits of being self-serving and small minded that inflict most politicians in any nation or system.

Failure is a very distinct possibility in Iraq. I know this. But it is only a possibility; it is not a certainty unless we throw our hands in the air and say “Fuck it! We’re going home.” Which is exactly what many, if not most, of the anti war faction wants. As if we leaving will calm the sectarian violence. If we leave things will spiral even more out of control in Iraq. Different factions will be funded by different outside groups. The Saudis will fund the Sunnis because they are not excited about a Shia dominated country on their northern border. The Iranian will support the Shia of course (although I, unlike many do not think that Iran will dominate them. The Iraqi Shia will not consider themselves under the Ayatollahs of Iran, their own religious leaders will take control and one must remember that Arabs and Persians have hated each other longer than Islam has been around.) The Turks will be meddling to keep the Kurds from declaring their independence and thus encouraging the Kurdish independence movement in eastern Turkey. Syria will be a player and let’s not forget Russia to the north. If you really want to see what it will look like go take a good look at what Afghanistan looked like after the Soviet withdrawal. That is what I see as the most likely scenario and it will be a nightmare for everyone including us.

The other problem we will face will be, as I said yesterday, that people like the Taliban will look at the success of the insurgents on Iraq and say to themselves, “Ah, if we kill enough people the Americans will go home.” Then they will up the ante again. And remember, it is always easier to destroy than to build.

I really don’t much care at this point whether we “should” have invaded Iraq. The fact is that we did and now we have a problem that must be solved. Packing up and going home doesn’t solve it.


Blogger opit said...

Back again. Maybe the fact that I'm not a U.S. citizen and have never had to serve my country in combat doesn't make my take worth much to people who have had their asses on the line. Conversely, I don't have the desperate drive to succeed at out-of-my-country imposition of the home team view : it makes no sense to me.
Regardless, "making do" is one necessity in a person who will not be denied. That denial - like the SeaBees motto - of the significance of difficulty is a prime method of pulling off success in the middle
of hell.
Intelligence is the basis of assessment of trends and forces relevant to producing desired ends. In the case of Iraq, I was told Rumsfeld pushed two critical buttons on intel : he suppressed gaming events after successfully taking Iraq - and hid previous projections.
Going past those disastrous and inexplicable decisions, 16 U.S. intelligence agencies reported that American activities in Iraq were making the situation worse.
The President has ignored all counsel. His administration's track record is one of abysmal failure. Taking a force which does not meet the size requirements to do the job would be, by itself, sufficient reason to discount the action. Setting it up for further failure degrades future capacity and enhances the growing snafu.
I don't have to sell you on moral considerations. Avoiding fubar is reason enough. Faith is not a plan.
American responsibility to do the right thing should include not making things worse than they must be. That goes for Iraqis and servicemen both.

7:42 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Crap, I think it just ate my reply. IF it doesn't show up I'll try again later.......

9:26 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

Ok, you cite all the usual problems with us originally going into Iraq and teh initial problems that came about there.
Well here is where my tunel vison really kicks in becasue I don't care about any of that stuff anymore. Things got screwed up. As I said above I agree with that nad I have known/agreed with that for a long time. But what you fail to address are the consuquences of us just up and pulling out. Do you honestly see some other result than that I have depicted above? If yes I would really like to hear it and the reasons you think it will work out. IF not, .... Wellif you agree that is what is going to happen then are you willing to sit back and let it go?

7:53 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Exmi - Another wonderful post.

I've been against the war from the beginning; always been of the quasi- isolationist mindset. However, agreed that if we left, it would make a huge mess and our enemies would see us as weak.

I don't have the answers on this one and I'm glad I'm not making the decisions.

7:54 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Hey, ZS Long time no see! Gald to have you back and hope you are back regularly.

7:31 AM  
Blogger opit said...

Iraq is not something which can be stopped.
If you believe you must try, I want you to make an analogy between what has been done so far and construction of simple explosive devices : they work to restrict and channel a force which the case is insufficient to contain.
What part of U.S. forces in Iraq insufficient to control the situation is different from my comparison ?

That which cannot be changed must be endured. In this case, saving the trained basis of U.S. strategic assault forces from millions ready to evict the meddling invader may be the lesser evil. Iraq ? Fucked.

Things have gone badly. It is certainly possible to make them worse yet.

9:46 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

Wel, I see why we will never agree. I don't think the situation in Iraq is unfixable. It will take alot of work and time but it can be done and, as I have said before, I think it needs to be done. You, on the other hand, seem to have decided the situation is unfixable and have no interest in mitigating the on coming disaster. And speaking as someone who in his otherwise well spent youth periodically built small explosive devices. Alot times when you think the case will blow, it won't and you get a something else. (usually a rocket which is pretty exciting too)

10:43 AM  
Blogger opit said...

If you were in charge I might give it a chance : perception of fair play is usually intrinsic in building trust. This is the government of torture and power to mistreat all without consequence, however. To me, that takes it past unlikely into not reasonably expected.

6:20 AM  
Blogger exMI said...

In a situation where trust is vital as you point out. It does not create that trust when major sections of our Government are saying we need to pull out and leave the Iraqis to their own devices. That is certainly not he way to get people to take a risk agaisnt the various insurget forces and support a unified secular Iraq.

And thanks for the vote of confidence.

11:47 AM  

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