Thursday, June 16, 2005

A Reality Check For The Unending Iraq War

Conservative North Carolina Congressman, Walter Jones, a Republican has formed a curous bipartisan group of supporters which include progressive Rep. Dennis Kucinich, of Ohio, Rep. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii, and right wing Rep. Ron Paul, who is a Republican who ran as a Libertarian Presidential candidate to propose a timetable for withdrawal of American troops from Iraq. While this bill is unlikely to pass at this time, it will provide a vehicle for a serious debate on the huge mistake of Iraq. This is a very important debate for our nation to have at this time.

For the last two years, America has been misled by the Bush Administration into one absurd untruth after another involving Iraq WMD's that don't exist, absurdly premature claims of victory or stability, or phony misinformation claims of exaggerated numbers of Iraqi national forces trained to defend their own nation, when very few combat ready troops actually exist. The reality is exactly like Rep. Jones sees it, "After 1,700 deaths, over 12,000 wounded and $200 billion spent, we believe it is time to have this debate and this discussion on this resolution".

If the people of Iraq intend to truly run their own affairs, then it is time for them to get serious to defend their own nation against terrorism . But unfortunately, the training of Iraqi forces seems to mirror the failed Vietnamization experiment of the Vietnam War. And the continued U.S. presense only encourages more terrorism and more instablity acting as a magnet for radical regional Jihadists, who seek a MidEast free of Western interests or control. The elected government of Iraq needs to honestly pull their country together and ask for the patriotism and the nationalistic interests of the Iraqi people to defend their own nation and make a democratic Iraq flourish and stand on it's own. But if there is so much ineptness and corruption among some members associated with this government of Iraq, and a lack of will of the Iraqi people to even defend their country, then there is no way to make this country stand on it's own, with or without American troops occupying Iraq. In Vietnam, American went down this wrong path once before. The corrupt government of Thieu, and the lack of serious intent of most Vietnamese to defend this government of South Vietnam made a victory impossible. It was only a matter of time before America would lose this conflict.

Iraq and Vietnam are nearly mirror nationalist conflict images of one another. The American presense is largely unwelcome in both nation's and encouraged more conflict in both war situations. In Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh was a former American ally that American troops fought side by side with his Vietminh forces to battle the Japanese in the 1940's. After the war with Japan, Ho Chi Minh expected the U.S. to back his independence drive against French colonial governent rule, but the U.S. backed the French instead. And even though it was well known to America that Ho Chi Minh was a Communist, during the forties this didn't matter. But by 1958, in a white hot Cold War climate dominated by Joe McCarthy and others, Communism was a deeply feared commodity. During 1958, the first American military advisors entered Vietnam. And by the time of Kennedy Administration, America was well on the path to war in Vietnam against the Communist government of the North that wanted to reunify the country. It didn't matter to many in the South that the Communists of the North wanted Vietnam to be a single state once again, as the South broke apart from the North and would not participate in elections, fueling this nationalst civil war. And as America entered the war, Ho Chi Minh sought the military aid of the Soviet Union, setting up a proxy war in Vietnam and battle of wills between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Vietnam was misintrepreted by both of the superpowers as an important "domino" in whether the U.S. or the Soviets would dominate the world, instead of the nationalist dispute and civil war between the people of Vietnam for their own self-determination. Today after 58,000 American dead and 1,000,000 Vietnamese killed, America once again has a good relationship with Vietnam, with many exports coming to America including Nike shoes, Canon ink jet printers, food products, clothing and many more items. This is the cruel lesson of war. Both sides suffer horrible losses, only to end up with a state of relations similar to the relations the warring sides once had before hostilities got the better of the good judgement of both sides leadership.

Iraq is very similar. There is a strong sense of Arab nationalism that has it's roots in the anger over the British colonial rule that begun in 1917 after WWI, and extended past WWII, until the British were thrown out in the 1958 rebellion. In 1920 to 1930, Britain found the insurgency so strong that Britain resorted to massive mustard gas attacks against entire villages and use of armored vehicles to crush the civilians of Iraq who opposed the British colonial government. For 41 years, Britain tried to hold on to Iraq against the nationalist will of the Iraqi people. America is the new Britain in Iraq. In the view of many Arabs, America has poisoned their land with our influence. This draws nationalists and foreign Jihadists like a magnet to attack not only Americans, but Iraqis seen as collaborators. To many Arabs, their part of the world must be set free from the rule of a Christian world they see as evil and corrupt. This makes victory highly unlikely in Iraq for America. Nationalist interest fueled warfare is simply too difficult for any superpower in history to overcome. The Soviet loss in Afghanistan is another bitter lesson of the failure of a superpower to control a nationalist uprising. The conflict with Jihadists and other nationalists is simply unending. New fighters will always replace the fighters killed in combat with the Americans. Unless America wants another 41 year losing war like the British lost in Iraq, then the best policy is to push the elected government of Iraq to quickly encourage the patriotism of their young men to defend their own nation, so America soldiers can leave and take away this source of Jihadist conflict. Jihadists actually prove their faith in Allah by challenging a superior opponent. And America is unfortunately seen as the greatest "Satan" in the Muslim world.

The vote on the Jones bill will almost certainly fail, or be vetoed by the Bush Administration. But it at least is starting a mature debate on a nationalist conflict that is unwinnable in Iraq. Representative Jones was the Congressman who once pushed the absurd "freedom fries" proposal after American disappointment over the failure of France to support the Iraq War mistake. This is a sign how much both Rep. Jones, and much of the country has grown. Those that oppose the war have been proven right. Iraq is a mistake, and is an unwinnable war against Arab nationalism. As many Americans that can be sent to Iraq in a misguided mission of "American security" or in a mistaken sense of fighting the "War On Terrorism", many more Jihadists will take up the fight against America pouring into Iraq from all Arab nations. The best thing America can do is begin to leave the conflict, and as America withdraws, violence should also in turn lessen. It's time for patriotic Iraqis's to start to defend their own nation. Just like Vietnam it has been proven that America cannot do that for one side against another in a civil war based on strong nationalist sentiments. America should welcome a mature debate on Iraq, replacing two years of misguided American partiotism and flag waving that has no mature understanding of America following in the footsteps of the bloody historic mistake of British colonialism in their losing 41 year war from 1917 to 1958 in Iraq.

Bring on this important debate.