Friday, June 09, 2006

Zarqawi Dead: Too little, too late

With the US hyping the fact that they bombed the heck out of this man, and minimizing that to get him they also had to blow up a half-dozen civilians or so, the question remains: Does this matter?

In my uninformed opinion, no. For one, the ethnic and religious tensions in Iraq are already out of control. Yes, he contributed to this, but he was not alone. Even allies of the Iraqi government have at times played the ethnic card, and in fact the government there is based on a division of power between ethnic divisions. Something Americans would understand is having to have, by law, a President who is either Irish, Hispanic, or German, and the vice president must be of a listed group that the president is not. How absurd.

The above is a perfect example of how to drive a country apart, not unite it.

The side show is the actual insurgency. The Right will say it's better to fight jihadis there than to fight them on US soil. The problem with this argument is, in the days of Total Information Awareness, it's probably easier to catch them here. It's certainly less risky, given that collateral damage by the less-than-discriminate use of force by US forces lends credibility to the jihadis.

Let left will say we need to withdraw. All a road map like that does is give the jihadis a goal to fight towards.

The answer? Invalidate every argument they use to fight us, one at a time.

Their immediate grievances:
  • Presence of infidel soldiers on what they regard as holy soil. Can't do much about that now. I'll argue that this is tolerable to the vast majority, provided the other points were addressed.
  • Indiscriminate use of force. This turns the US from a liberator to an occupier. The US needs more appropriate training for what should be a police action now, not a military one.
  • Admission that it is the US that has propped up Saddam, increasing the peoples' suffering, in the past, and saying "sorry, we screwed that up."
  • Admission that the US's ADD-like foreign policy post-Gulf-War-I was to the detriment/demise to thousands of Shiites in Iraq. US: "Go ahead, rise against Saddam. We'll give you air cover." Shia: "Okay, let's go." US: "Oh, just kidding...". Why did people want to think that the Shiites would treat the US as liberators now?
  • Admission that what happened to the Shiites in Iraq was also what happened to the afghans after the Soviet withdrawal.
The point in the case of the afghans and the Iraqis is that the US should see this as an opportunity to make amends for past mistakes. You can't blame the dems or reps in either case, as both have contributed to the messes in both countries. Afghanistan dropped from the radar during Reagan's reign, and continued to be unimportant under Bush I. Clinton dropped the ball on the Shiites in Iraq. Bush the II and friends failed to plan the Iraqi engagement with any degree of competency - they expected their liberating troops to be welcomed as if they marched through Paris in 1944, complete with the French partisans to take over policing after the troops marched through.


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