Viewed from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is surreal.
Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched.
As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)
The claim that we are increasingly in control of the battlefields in Iraq is an assessment arrived at through a flawed, American-centered framework. Yes, we are militarily superior, but our successes are offset by failures elsewhere. What soldiers call the “battle space” remains the same, with changes only at the margins.
It is crowded with actors who do not fit neatly into boxes: Sunni extremists, Al Qaeda terrorists, Shiite militiamen, criminals and armed tribes. This situation is made more complex by the questionable loyalties and Janus-faced role of the Iraqi police and Iraqi Army, which have been trained and armed at U.S. taxpayers’ expense.
Probably the most interesting conclusion of these seven soldiers is that only a political solution arrived at by letting the Iraqis work agreements among themselves. It might messy, but it is better then inserting American force in the center of tensions. That the Bush administrations has simply traded the hell of the Baathists with opportunistic criminals and religious factions that are exploiting our presence and the void of any consistent order. I don’t what these guys personal politics are and don’t care – Buddhika Jayamaha is a U.S. Army specialist. Wesley D. Smith is a sergeant. Jeremy Roebuck is a sergeant. Omar Mora is a sergeant. Edward Sandmeier is a sergeant. Yance T. Gray is a staff sergeant. Jeremy A. Murphy is a staff sergeant. But hell hath no more bitter petty vindictiveness then the Republican bloggers and pundits whose views these brave men have dared to challenge. They’re not only still risking their lives- ” Staff Sergeant Murphy, a U.S. Army Ranger and reconnaissance team leader, was shot in the head” (they write he is expected to survive), but they also risk the wreath of conservative flagship The Weekly Standard and assorted basement warriors – see Scott Beauchamp. Will right-wing bloggers be e-mailing these soldier’s command and then swearing they have a written repudiation of the article they wrote.
Pangloss has changed the poison ribbon in his old Royal typewriter, dons blindfold and writes the kind of childish gibberish and lie ridden trash that war dead enders have come to know and love, National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson is dismayed by the criticism of the war in Iraq from congressional Democrats
[I]t is hard to recall of any war in our history — the Vietnam hysteria aside — that a sitting Senate majority leader declared it lost in the middle of hostilities. We have not previously witnessed senior opposition senators alleging that their own American servicemen were analogous to Nazis, Stalinists, Cambodian mass murders, Saddam’s Baathist killers, or engaging in habitual terrorizing and killing of innocent civilians.
The great Hanson can’t be bothered to sight a single documented case of any sitting Democrat in either House from making those comparisons. That is probably because there are no such examples. There are plenty of instances where the Right has tried to twist what Democrats have said to suit their nutty echo of the day. Pangloss wouldn’t want to be intellectually honest at this point it would ruin his record and get his Kool-Kidz membership revoked. As to being critical of the Mess in Mesopotamia, most American’s know that we’re in Iraq on the premise of unending lies, distortions and manipulations. Iraq is acting as a kind of terror growth hormone rather then stopping terrorism. The only cause that has been served by putting boots on the ground is Bush’s re-election in 2004, an excuse to chip away chunks of our Constitution, create socio-political divisions between Americans, ratchet up the level of fear and reach levels of national debt that are a threat to every American’s future and generally weaken us as a nation. Yep Vic old boy we shouldn’t be criticizing the inept frat boy from one of America’s richest most powerful families, thats just like throwing eggs at Thomas Jefferson while he’s writing the Constitution.
“No man is justified in doing evil on the grounds of expedience.”