Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hurrah, God May be answering Bush's prayer on Iraq

It is the DIPLOMACY of the State Dept. to decrease
insurgent violence, not the MILITARY training of Iraqi
troops that is finally heralding our troops withdrawal
from Iraq. Ambassador to Baghdad Zal Khalilzad is
living proof of how much America gains from being a
melting pot, providing education and citizenship to
people from everywhere; just as Sec. of State Condi
Rice-- like her predecessor, Gen. Powell-- are
irrefutable evidence of the rich treasure of talent,
because of prejudice often untapped, in our Black
Community.

After Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neocons hogged Iraq war
policy to themselves and made a bloody mess of it.
When it got to be too hot a potato for these
incompetents to handle, they tossed it in the air.
Sec. Rice caught it and passed it on to her colleague
Amb. Khalilzad who, it seems, made a touchdown in that
Mr. Bush's prayers may finally be undergoing
answering.

Someone convinced President Bush that Iraq is not
Vietnam. In Vietnam we faced an enemy's entire regular
army operating from safe bases we could not touch
though they were near our perimeter-- never more than
30 miles from South Vietnam's main cities. That enemy
was backed up by the total arms production of the
Communist Bloc, of which Ho Chi Minh considered
Vietnam "a revolutionary outpost."

But Saddam's Iraq was an isolated nation despised by
all its neighbors. Twice it had its forces slaughtered
by US firepower and had no way to get resupply through
the UN embargo in more than a trickle. Thus, Gen.
Tommy Franks self-congratulation for overwhelming
Saddam's forces and entering Iraq are, given the power
ratio then, utter bravado bragging. Proof of that is
that when we faced Saddam's real defense plan-- a
guerrilla war-- we stalled and were more than matched
to this day. In self-defense, we fired almost
indiscriminately. Our "smart" bombs could not be very
smart given that we were totally intelligence blind.
So we killed a lot of innocent Iraqis, turning the
survivors into shaheeds sworn to avenge the victims.
That's when things balanced out; it was a force of
lightly armed guerrillas against a fully armed force
with air support. But, while their men didn't care if
they lived or died, our men desperately wanted to live
and return to their families. For almost three years
blood was shed under Rumsfeld's arrogant but incapable
hogging of leadership. He surrounded himself with
opportunist "yes sir" generals, hungry for another
star, who were selected for their dullness so that
they would not shine over him. That's what Washington
bureaucracies are like, except that this one wasted
the lives of a lot of American heroes and Iraqi
innocents. All through this, Bush was, as Maureen Dowd
would say, "unengaged." But when his political
standing was at risk, he passed authority from Rummy
to Condi. Sure enough, it took a girl to repair
things.

As pointed out by Gen. Shahwani, head of Iraqi
intelligence, the Rummy Way has made the insurgent
force grow from nothing to over 200,000 fighters,
greater that our Alliance expeditionary force. We
think of the Iraq people as divided into the Shi'ia,
Sunnis and Kurds. Actually, these groups heavily
intermarried and had been forced to shed a lot of
blood for what they considered "Iraq." Thus, except
for some ambiguity amongst the Kurds, they consider
themselves, for better or worse, one people glued
together by the blood of all the Iraqi soldiers who
sacrificed their lives for their nation. They are,
therefore, desperately trying to come up with some
sort of government under which they can all live as
one people.

Amb. Kalilzad asked himself: what do you do when you
know that you are not seen as a liberator but as an
occupier and are overcome by resistance from
guerrillas whose culture and language your forces just
don't understand?

The simple answer of course, is that since you
couldn't prove to them that you came as a liberator,
not an occupier, now at least, try to prove to them
that you don't really want to stay indefinitely.

So he went to the insurgents with an offer: We
Americans will decrease our "footprint" in Iraq,
allowing your own forces, for better or worse, to keep
order. You first participate in the political process
(beginning with elections in December 2005) and lower
the level of violence. As the participation in
politics increases and the violence decreases, we
will, more and more, sequester our troops into
designated bases. And, if the participation in
politics and the decrease in violence persist, we will
from these bases gradually withdraw our troops down to
a few liaison units that coordinates the logistics of
your national army.

There is a whole spectrum of Shi'ia interests in Iraq,
though the vast majority, from the followers of Iran
to the Iraqi nationalists than hate Iranians. Sunnis
are less varied but also really a loose congregation
of local interests. Even the Kurds, that seem so
united, are really just a bunch of tribal mafias that
could never get together to form a nation of their
own. There are so many loose bricks in the edifice
called Iraq that nobody knows what configuration will
finally produce a stable state with some modicum of
democratic pluralism. But the point is that whatever
incentive there is to remake Iraq, and there is a lot
especially amongst the young and women, there is now a
great incentive that Khalilzad got Iraqis to fully
appreciate: the more the government can function and
the less violence occurs, the sooner the Americans
leave. Much of the remaining violence comes from
criminal gangs and some foreign religious zealots. But
it will never be so much that a unity government on
its own soil can't handle it.

Today we hear a lot of screaming in Baghdad about the
election being a fraud. But, according to my Iraqi
sources, if one looks at Saddam's trial and the crazy
behavior of the Iraqis in the docket something becomes
clear: so long as the judge and prosecutor and lawyers
patiently stick it out, meticulously following legal
procedures, eventually the court will come to a fair
judgment. It is the same with the Iraqi Parliament.
There will be screaming and cursing and all sorts of
threats. But none of the verbal brickbat is the same
as a bomb going off. There will also be tinny groups
trying to derail the process with a bang here or
there. But so long as the parliamentarians jaw, jaw,
jaw with eachother instead of kill, kill, kill
eachother, the Iraqi ship of state is steady as she
goes on course!

The most important incentive is for America to
reciprocate with an ever shrinking military footprint,
even if sometimes it seems to make our soldiers feel
more vulnerable not responding to provocation. We just
can't have peace in Iraq if we repeat the devastation
we wrought on Falluja.

Amb. Kalilzad will always have enough troops at his
disposal to intimidate any politicians back into line
that want to return to violence. Yet himself a Muslim,
he fully appreciates the importance of face and so
knows how to salvage the pride of those he has to push
back onto the job of governing through compromise.
Choosing him as ambassador to Baghdad deserves a Medal
of Freedom to ever faithful American Sec. Condi Rice.
She is the one who is really saving GW Bush's Iraq War
standing up for Amb. Khalilzad in the Cabinet!

Mr. Bush's contribution, I guess, was to pray and pray
a lot for some modicum of success in Iraq. It looks
like God appreciates the sudden humility Bush decided
to show in his speeches, much like a repentant sinner.
But that's fine by me and by any American, Republican
or Democrat, because we all want our efforts in Iraq
to bear fruit. However, there is always the little
Lucifer-- Mr. Bush appropriately nicknamed "Vice"--
trying to catch his ear. If Mr. Bush ever lets Cheney
catch his attention, all that Sec. Rice and Amb.
Khalilzad have salvaged will come to naught. So, Mr.
Bush, should keep Cheney locked up in the basement.
There is no need to feel sorry for him, for his
company, Halliburton, seem to have stolen more than
they ever dreamed they could get away with from our
Iraq effort. As for Rumsfeld, his hubris is its own
reward-- and punishment. He had hoped to some day be
president and to do it, as Nixon said of him, in the
way of the shark-- cannibalizing his opponents in the
Republican Party. Well, now this shark just lost the
last set of real teeth in Iraq. From the way he lies
all the time, the present set of FALSE teeth he sports
can easily be discerned when he gives his sharky
smile. As Cheney would say, Rumsfled, "is toast."

Some might think that Mr. Bush got away more lucky
than he deserves. But in fact, the more time passes,
the more the American people will discover how little
character and command he has exhibited. He thought
that he was pulling it off; and with some he has. But
history has a long memory and there is little hope
that in the remaining three years he can do much that
will cover-up his failed presidency.

Yet, this moment of Bush humility, even if contrived,
if it is good enough for God to answer his prayers on
Iraq, it is good enough for me. I had hoped that I
might be pleasantly surprised by a total Bush
re-Salvation and come to him and apologize for
under-estimating him and decrying his lack of moral
fiber; but I guess I have to live with the
disappointment of his ever ready reliance on attempted
deception through the Rove alchemy of trying to turn
dirt into gold.

Most importantly, the American people must realize
that if we are to survive as a great nation, we must
consider every volunteer hero-- remember they all
VOLUNTEERED!!-- we sent into combat to be our own son
or daughter. There is no room, if America is to
survive, for the "ain't my kid goin' to Iraq" syndrome
of disconnection. Fortunately, soon we will all get a
chance to make up for our self-absorbed "disconnect"
when OUR hero kids come home and need a neighborly
hand and veterans benefits to restart their lives.

Lastly, as for myself, being an American by choice,
not by chance, I was so disgusted with the disconnect
and all those expensive Vietnam lessons never learned,
that I was ready to renounce my American citizenship,
the one I took so that I could go to Vietnam. But
fortunately, it is not likely that I would do that so
long as there is still one brave American like
Congressman Murtha who fought for his country as a
young man and again, risked all, fighting for it as an
old man. While other heroic grunts from Vietnam who
made a career in the Pentagon stopped caring about the
grunts of today and just brown-nose incompetent
Rumsfeld's for another star, Murtha alone stood up and
said: enough, stop killing MY kids!

Whether his proposed policy of withdrawal is right or
wrong, I certainly feel it was most apropos, promoting
serious debate about ways to peace, just in time to
welcome the Prince of Peace in this the season when we
celebrate His birth.

I wish you all the spiritual comfort of these
Holidays, knowing that God loves us all equally-- even
Cheney, Rumsfelf, the neocons and Saddam. But perhaps
more Heavenly Kindness can be asked of God by us all
for the families that now suffer the tragic loss of a
son or daughter fallen in battle. In fact, we all
should share their grief with them, letting them know
that those who fell are sons and daughters of us all;
and so, their grief is equally ours, casting a shadow
on on Holidays joy, provoking need to give comfort and
get comfort, extending it throughout the nation as a
whole.

Lastly, may the New Year bring America to feel that
its sons and daughters did NOT fight and fall in vain
as in so many other wars. If a successful peace is
what we end up with, then Sec. Rice and Amb. Khalilzad
certainly deserve to be named in our toasts to the New
Year.

And a word to Mr. Bush: there are no prizes for
deception and spin. Lest you open your heart to your
fellow Americans and realize that to "lead" is to
convince with truth and not manipulation in the Rove
way, you will be remembered as the source of our
greatest self-deception as a people who re-elected
you. History is merciless; Clio, the muse of history
will in time talk the truth loud and clear, no matter
how much documentation you order shred, classify or
avoid putting down on paper. I would hope his present
problems make that clear to him.

But this is the Season we celebrate the Lord's birth--
when we all recall what fallen sinners we are and so,
in seeking the Lord's forgiveness, earn it by
forgiving eachother so that we may feel hope in the
future, together.

Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

Daniel E. Teodoru

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