Sunday, August 19, 2007

What is Really Going On in Iraq

Juan Cole of Informed Comment highlights from the essay in today's NY Times OpEd page written by soldiers currently serving in Iraq:

As Bill Maher has quipped, we have had a balanced set of commentaries on the Iraq War on television news. We have heard from the generals and the retired generals. Today at the NYT we hear from some specialists and sergeants. In a thoughtful, analytically precise, and informed essay, they lament the pie in the sky thinking in Washington, admit that 'hearts and minds' are not being won and are unlikely to be, and decry contradictory US policies trying to please everyone that end up alienating everyone. They point to the massive number of Iraqis displaced abroad and the similar number internally displaced, to the lack of electricity, services, potable water, and above all security. They highlight how unreliable they find the Iraqi military, which they think penetrated at the street level by Shiite militiamen and their supporters. They tell a chilling story of a US patrol hit by a roadside bomb between two Iraqi military checkpoints, and almost certainly set by their Iraqi 'allies' or with their knowledge. One of the six suffered a severe head wound while in action during the period they were writing the piece. We can't be too grateful for what these guys are doing for us. The essay is a major part of seeing through their duty to the American people, since in a democracy, for the people to have a clear-eyed view of the situation is essential to informed policy-making. I hope they will let us in the blogosphere know if we can help Staff Sergeant Jeremy Murphy and his family in the wake of his injury, which he is expected to survive.

This essay describes an Iraq I recognize from reading the Iraqi newspapers every day and watching Arabic satellite television. It has the Byzantine political intrigues, the seedy militiamen, the back-stabbing and deal-making, the electricity-deprived tenement dwellers baking in the August sun, the 4 million homeless families, the incommensurate political goals of the factions. It does not depict 'a war we could win.' Money graf:

'In the end, we need to recognize that our presence may have released Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but that it has also robbed them of their self-respect. They will soon realize that the best way to regain dignity is to call us what we are — an army of occupation — and force our withdrawal.'



Post a Comment

<< Home

More blogs about Eschew Obfuscation.
Who Links Here