Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Twelve Angry Soldiers and the Iraq We All Know

12 Army Captains spoke out in public today on the 5 year anniversary of the authorization of force in Iraq and the fiasco that has been Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the thousand "Operations this or that" which have followed. Bush's administration and the vaunted neo-conservative movement which brought him to power failed to rebuild a capitalist, foreign-owned, democratic and pro-West puppet. While the military found Saddam in a hole in the desert, and the Iraqi judicial court found him guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to death, we stayed in Iraq for the dreams of Wall Street.

Within months, our own brutal military tactics and the irresponsible outsourcing that allowed in mercenaries sparked the rise of a bloody insurgency. Bush winked and nodded while American contractors sailed off to the Caribbean with $9 billion in stolen Iraqi oil money we had been entrusted with by the U.N. And three thousand soldiers died, more than half from weapons constructed out of munitions the Bush administration failed to secure during the invasion, so sure the only dangerous thing to be found would be the still invisible WMD. (We'll find it on Nov. 1, 2008, wait and see!!)

U.S. forces, responsible for too many objectives and too much "battle space," are vulnerable targets. The sad inevitability of a protracted draw-down is further escalation of attacks -- on U.S. troops, civilian leaders and advisory teams. They would also no doubt get caught in the crossfire of the imminent Iraqi civil war.

Iraqi security forces would not be able to salvage the situation. Even if all the Iraqi military and police were properly trained, equipped and truly committed, their 346,000 personnel would be too few. As it is, Iraqi soldiers quit at will. The police are effectively controlled by militias. And, again, corruption is debilitating. U.S. tax dollars enrich self-serving generals and support the very elements that will battle each other after we're gone.

This is Operation Iraqi Freedom and the reality we experienced. This is what we tried to communicate up the chain of command. This is either what did not get passed on to our civilian leadership or what our civilian leaders chose to ignore. While our generals pursue a strategy dependent on peace breaking out, the Iraqis prepare for their war -- and our servicemen and women, and their families, continue to suffer.

There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.

The Jawa Report claims the 12 Captains are actually anonymous WaPost staffers who paid the soldiers for the use of their names. Blackfive spins the usual "your opinion doesn't matter unless you served in the military" to "veterans are idiots." Interesting that Uncle Jimbo dodges the draft (lol) proposition by the Captains, with the emotional plea of "victory **(see conditions, updated and revised, subject to further pie-in-the-sky reevaluation)." The Captains also get smeared as dirt by FloppingAces, who are betraying better soldiers who had the guts to stay. One commenter on Confederate Yankee said that the only reason they were no longer on active duty was because they were losers. Looks like the Republican congressional leaders need to burn some midnight oil about not saying meanie things about our soldiers.

In the October 22 edition of Time Magazine, Samantha Powers notes the erosion of America as the world's superpower in an article noting Bush's complete inability to lead the world towards ending human rights violations and creating true democracy in Sudan and Burma, just as he claims he has been trying to do in Iraq.

"The U.S. has raised its voice on Darfur and Burma louder than any other country. George W. Bush has regularly denounced the Sudanese campaign of destruction as "genocide," Washington has spent $2.5 billion on humanitarian aid to keep Darfur's refugees alive, and the Administration has spearheaded creation of a 26,000-person, U.N.-led peacekeeping force. When the Burmese regime cracked down on protesters, it was Bush who used his appearance before the U.N. General Assembly to announce that the U.S. would freeze the assets of Burma's repressive leaders and deny them visas.

Yet when he urged "every civilized nation" to use its diplomatic and economic leverage to "stand up" to the regime, his appeal was largely ignored. Many countries acted as if they agreed with Burma's self-serving claim that the crackdown was simply an "internal matter." Not withstanding the U.S.'s $500 billion military budget and $13 trillion GDP, its summoning power has dwindled.

The inaction is partly backlash against the discredited American messenger. Torture, "black sites," extraordinary rendition and the bungled, bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq have all made U.S. human-rights appeals ring hollow."

America's time as the world's only super power began with one President Bush and ended tragically with the presidency of his son. Castro may even live see Bush pack it up and move out. What sort of world will we face in 2009, when the idea of a world safe for democracy has become a punchline, and communism finally eclipses us on the international scene? When the U.S. finally faces our $9 trillion debt, what sort of military will we be able to afford? And how many more genocides will we have to categorize and memorialize?

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