One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

According to this NYT article , we’ve decided to basically give up on Samarra, and it’s a strategy that’s being replicated all across the country.

Having been in Samarra, having seen many of my brothers in arms wounded in the fighting there, can of you guys who’s still convinced that the Administration has a plan to triumph in Iraq tell me exactly what that plan is? Because it seems to me that if the Administration isn’t willing to take the time and make the effort necessary to win this war, then how can it possibly ask me to put my life on the line?

If this is what it’s coming down to–a long, slow, sad surrender, reminiscent of Saigon–then let’s just end this right now, declare victory, and bring the guys home. This retreat isn’t worthy of our sacrifice, and it isn’t worthy of our country.

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One response to “One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

  1. I think maybe the election is pulling rank on the war. Every day that we lose 2 or 3 soldiers, Bush’s popularity drops a little bit. Every day we lose none, it stays steady.

    Bush doesn’t want any bad news from iraq before the war, and casualties are bad news. So that means pull out of any place you might get hurt — until after the election. If Bush wins then on 11/3 you guys will have the chance to go back and re-take everything you pulled out of.

    But then, as far as Allawi is concerned the January elections take precedence over the war. It looks bad for him when americans kill iraqis. It looks especially bad when it’s airstrikes and artillery and tanks firing in cities. And the stuff in Najaf may have done him in. How can he win an election after that? He was the one that we said could tell us to stop advancing, and he didn’t. Was he so stupid he didn’t see the need, or did we ignore him?

    Maybe they could have honest city elections, and maybe whoever wins an honest vote will have the majority of the militia guys in that city on his side?

    Maybe some places one militia in particular is in control. But it sounds like a lot of places they aren’t that well agreed with each other — they just don’t like us. The more we fight the more of them don’t like us. Restoring order is hard that way.

    You guys have the weapons and the training to be militarily unbeatable given their weapons and training. But what good does it do?

    I’m not sure why this reminds me of the american Civil War. There are a lot of big important differences. But the Yankees won a solid victory, the southern armies were beaten and they knew it. There was a lot of bushwhacking and such after the war partly because things were so disrupted, farms burned, cities burned, not enough of anything, easier to take stuff from people who had it than try to work for it and still not find it for sale.

    There was no real insurgency because the southerners knew they were beaten and they mostly got the vote if they’d say the Pledge of Allegiance.

    After the economy started to improve there was still a lot of violence against blacks. The army got sent in to stop it, and they couldn’t. The problems happened wherever they weren’t. Eventually the troops got sent home.

    The violence died down when it was established that the blacks were beaten. The plantation owners and carpetbaggers and whoever did sharecropping which gave them most of the advantages of slavery without the disadvantages.

    90 years after the war there was such an economic boom that it was possible to let the black population advance without setting anybody else back. After a lot of arguing and a little bit of white violence, that happened. Now blacks can advance economicly when the economy is booming, and they fall back when the economy stagnates or contracts.

    That’s in the USA which has 200 years of democracy. What kind of results can we expect in iraq? How can you hope to end insurgency when you can’t be everywhere at once? You can kill the guys who shoot at you, you can kill guys you see with guns, but you can’t stop them when you aren’t there. So what good does it do for you to patrol part of the time, some of the places?

    I don’t know whether the administration has a plan beyond winning the election. My guess is that the plan is to declare victory and get out — after the election. Or maybe after the January election. Or possibly try to hold on in iraq until enough new troops are trained so we can invade iran and syria, I don’t really know.

    I think there used to be a plan but it didn’t work out, and I’m not sure there’s much of a backup plan. After the “they’ll welcome us with flowers and set up a democracy themselves” then we had “we’ll set up a democracy for them after we’ve stopped the violence” and then “it will all be OK after the handover”. Now we’re on “they’ll all calm down when the reconstruction money starts circulating”.

    My natural thought is to vote for Kerry because he didn’t get us into this. But I don’t know what he’d do and I don’t know what Bush would do.