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About The North Coast times-eagle. (Wheeler, Oregon) 1971-2007 | View Entire Issue (Jan. 1, 2007)
NORTH COAST TIMES EAGLE, JABRUARY & MARPRIL 2007
W e w/// use America’s full diplomatic resources to
rally support for Iraq from nations throughout the Middle East.
Countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States
need to understand than an American defeat in Iraq would create
a new sanctuary for extremists — and a strategic threat to their
survival. These nations have a stake in a successful Iraq that
is at peace with its neighbors — and they must step up their
support for Iraq's unity government..."
If the U.S. purpose is really to promote democracy in
Iraq, why is President Bush pushing for greater influence by
these dictatorships, including the Islamic fundamentalist regime
of Saudi Arabia? And are they really likely to even want to
support an Iraqi government with such strong ideological ties
with Iran or to support a continued U S. military presence in the
Middle East that is provoking extremist elements within their
“And on Friday, Secretary Rice will leave for the region
— to build support for Iraq, and continue the urgent diplomacy
required to help bring peace to the middle East. ."
Given her track record up until this point, Rice will not
likely do any better this time. The United States is not seen as
an honest broker in the Middle East anymore. The Iraq Study
Group's suggestion of bringing the regional players together
would have a much greater chance for success.
“The challenge playing out across the broader Middle
East is more than a military conflict. It is the decisive ideological
struggle o f our time. On one side are extremists who kill the
innocent, and have declared their intention to destroy our way
o f life. In the long run, the most realistic way to protect the
American people is to provide a hopeful alternative to the hateful
ideology of the enemy — by advancing liberty across a troubled
region. It is in the interests o f the United States to stand with the
brave men and women who are risking their lives to claim their
freedom — and help them as they work to raise up just and
hopeful societies across the Middle East..."
This obscene over-simplification ignores the fact that,
as extremist as many opponents of the United States and its
allies in the region may indeed be, the U.S. and most of its allies
have hardly been paragons of freedom and moderation. The
United States is the world’s number one military, diplomatic, and
economic supporter of dictatorial regimes in the Middle East that
continue to deny their peoples basic freedoms.The United States
also backs the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the
Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, which deny those
peoples their freedoms in flagrant violation of international law
and a series of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
Rather than provide a hopeful alternative, the United States has
brought war, devastation, and chaos to Iraq and other countries
in the region.
“From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian
Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick o f the violence,
and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children.
And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America
withdraw and yield the future o f that country to the extremists
— or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for
Through the large-scale U.S. bombing of Afghanistan,
support for Israel’s massive assaults on Lebanon, and support
for Israel’s ongoing occupation and repression in the Palestinian
Territories, it is the United States that is largely responsible
for the violence inflicted upon these nations. Poll after poll has
indicated that the vast majority of the peoples of this region
want the United States to get out of Iraq as soon as possible.
MATT WU ERKER
Leaving Iraq does not mean yielding that country to extremists,
nor does staying in Iraq back the cause of freedom.
“The changes I have outlined tonight are aimed at
ensuring the survival o f a young democracy that is fighting
for its life in a part of the world o f enormous importance to
It should be pretty obvious at this point, given the
ongoing U.S. support for dictatorial regimes in neighboring
countries, that the Bush administration does not particularly
care about promoting democracy in the region. Indeed, the
United States initially opposed free elections in Iraq after U.S.
forces took over that country. As long as the government
remains so dependent on the United States, it will never gain
the credibility among the Iraqi people it needs for its survival.
“Let me be clear: The terrorists and insurgents in Iraq
are without conscience, and they will make the year ahead
CAN’T ANYONE IN CHARGE COUNT?
BY CHARLES A. HILLESTAD
The President is currently insisting after almost four
years, 3000 dead troops, seven times that or more injured or
maimed and a couple trillion dollars (counting equipment
replacements, future medical costs and wasted infrastructure
rebuilding) that we can still have “victory” or “mission accomp
lished” in Iraq by simply adding another 20,000 or so to the
approximately 135,000 U.S. military already there. No wonder
the investors lost money in all the companies Bush ran before
fleeing to politics. He failed accounting.
In the first place, when I was in the military, the ratio out
of all the military to those at the sharp end of the stick, in other
words the “ground pounders” who go out and personally kick in
doors of suspected enemy, was only about one in ten. The rest
were clerk-typists, truck drivers, instructors, and the like. I am
not disparaging them because those jobs needed to be done as
well, but we need to focus on whether 20,000 uniformed bodies,
even 20,000 frontline veterans who have already earned combat
infantry badges, makes the slightest sense.
Let's assume, just for the sake of argument, that the
giant, self-propelled bureaucracy known as the U.S. military has
managed to cut the combat troop to support troop ratio in half by
farming out potato peeling, or counting those in high-risk MOSs
(military occupation specialties) such as military policemen and
combat engineers. That would still mean only about 10,000
additional armed door kickers are available to do the job.
Let’s also assume that none of these get sick or are on
leave, and that they are diligently out there beyond the perimeter
kicking in doors 12 hours a day 7 days a week. That means at
any given moment, only about 5000 are out and about at any
one time. After all, they have to sleep and eat some portion of
each day. That is about the number that attends a decent, but
no, championship, basketball game.
Now, 5000 looks like a lot crammed closely together in a
stadium Bu, disburse them over a country the size of California
and they become lost. That works ou, to about one pair of new
boots on the ground for every 33 square miles of Iraq, or 277
troops per province.
Let’s assume, however, tha, the 5000 are no, scattered
geographically. Logically, most would be concentrated where the
people are, in the cities. Let’s also assume tha, no, a single one
is pu, in the Kurdish areas, which still like us to a certain extent
Since there are (or were) 26,074,906 people in Iraq, no, counting
the new terrorists migrating there from elsewhere, and since up
to about 20% of the population are Kurds, tha, means each pro
posed new trooper on patrol only has to suppress about 4000+
Iraqis. Even Custer faced better odds than that. You couldn’t
carry enough bullets per person to defend against them if they
Actually, to be fair, each new troop would not have to
face 4000 hostiles. Since there are already about 135,000 U.S.
military in Iraq (not all of which are door kickers of course, but
most can shoot in self-defense), tha, would lower the odds Still,
very roughly, it is currently only one person in U.S. uniform per
every 167 Iraqis. Adding another 20,000 targets for the Iraqis to
shoo, at doesn’t help much.
According to public opinion polls, about 60% of Iraqis
favor killing Americans in their country. Because that includes
the Kurds, the percentage is presumably higher ye, among
the Shiite Muslims (who represent 60% of the population) and
especially among the non-Kurd Sunni (who represent much
of the balance and lost all their power once Saddam was gone).
The figure apparently rises to 8 or 9 out of 10 Iraqis
who want us to leave, but let’s ignore the ignoring of democratic
opinion and concentrate jus, on the 6 ou, of 10 who openly wan,
our troops dead. Bush proposes to increase the number of
imbedded U.S. advisors with Iraq army units. Oh good, surround
our boys (and girls) with armed Iraqis, 6 ou, of 10 who wouldn’t
mind if a bullet went astray in the hea, of battle toward those
same unpopular U.S. advisors/trainers. In Vietnam, unpopular
officers go, “fragged.” Will they be "Iraqed" in this new configur
Twenty thousand new troops, even quadruple tha,
number, hardly seems adequate given the magnitude of the
task. Would a million troops in Iraq be enough to bring "stability”
and “democracy" to that country, especially given the previous
disastrous policies we have pursuing? Tha, would reduce the
occupying army ratio to suppressed citizenry down to a more
manageable 1 to 20 or so.
I, would, of course, be insanity to contemplate such
a “surge" in troop numbers, no, to mention fiscal suicide.
According to on-line encyclopedias, as of 2004, there were
only 1,450,689 active duty personnel in a//services including
the Coast Guard. About 10% of the grand total is already in Iraq
The National Guard and Reserves are already stretched to the
breaking point. To even add 20,000 more troops means many
more soldiers (and indirectly their families) will have to risk third
and fourth tours in a combat zone, something Bush himself was
no, willing to risk even once.
Bush has been granted an unprecedented carte blanche
for two-thirds of his Presidency to use whatever he wanted in
whatever way he wanted, supervised by whomever he wanted
to pursue whatever ends he wanted Everyone except Bush has
known for years, however, tha, the existing number of troops is
no, enough to accomplish any legitimate objective (even assum
ing there was one to begin with).
It’s time for some rigorous cos,/benefit analysis The
question that must be asked now is whether i, is even possible
to add enough troops to accomplish anything If not, then why
the hell are we doing it? I’m no accountant, bu, it doesn’t seem
to add up.
bloody and violent. Even if our new strategy works exactly as
planned, deadly acts of violence will continue — and we must
expect more Iraqi and American casualties. The question is
whether our new strategy will bring us closer to success. I
believe it will..."
Sending additional troops will just make the coming year
even bloodier and more violent and will make success, by almost
any definition even more elusive.This strategy will only embolden
the extremis, elements even more as reaction to the expanded
U.S. occupation draws more and more angry young men (and
possibly women) into their ranks. Much like the initial invasion
of Iraq, increasing troops will result in strengthening Osama bin
Laden and al-Qaida.
“Victory will not look like the ones our fathers and grand
fathers achieved. There will be no surrender ceremony on the
deck of a battleship. * But victory in Iraq will bring something new
in the Arab world — a functioning democracy that polices its
territory, upholds the rule of law, respects fundamental human
liberties, and answers to its people. A democratic Iraq will not
be perfect. But it will be a country that fights terrorists instead
of harboring them — and it will help bring a future of peace and
security for our children and grandchildren."
Most Iraqis and most Arabs indeed would like to see
stable, accountable democratic governance tha, respects human
rights and the rules of law. Of the scores of new democracies
that have emerged throughout the world over the past three
decades, however, the vast majority moved away from dictator
ship and repression as a result of sustained nonviolent struggle
by indigenous democratic civil society organizations. No new
democracy has emerged as a result of a foreign invasion and
occupation. It is hard to imagine how President Bush's proposals
can improve the situation in Iraq even marginally Twenty-five
years ago, in justifying his Vietnam policy, President Richard
Nixon promised the continued prosecution of the war would
bring “a generation of peace." President Bush's similar claim is
just as ingenuous. It is no less than a rationalization for a failed
imperial policy tha, has destroyed a nation tha, was no threat
to us, drained our national treasury, damaged our international
prestige and sen, thousands of our fines, young men and women
home in body bags and with permanently debilitating injuries.
Steven Zunes is Middle East editor of Foreign Policy
in Focus, from which his article has been reprinted. He is also
a professor of politics a, the University of San Francisco, and
author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy & the Roots of
Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003).
“Editor's Note: The “USS Missouri," which signaled the end o
World War 2 in 1945. “Missouri' hosted 55,000 visitors when
stopped over in Astoria in the spring of 1998 on its way to Pe
Harbor from Bremerton, Washington, to join the sunken “USS
Arizona " as bookend memorials o f the Pacific War's beginning
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