Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

The Iraqi Tennis Match

Tennis. Two opponents square off each intent on hammering a small green ball past the other. The one mitigating factor in this volley of green missiles? The net. A static border that serves both to divide the territories of each competitor and increase the difficulty of victory through obstruction.

I'm not a big fan of tennis. I am a big fan of Maria Sharapova but that's beside the point. Back to the discussion at hand.

Iraq. Two opponents square off each intent on hammering the other into submission. The one mitigating factor in this bloody contest? The US armed forces. A very proficient military that both divides the territories of the combatants and increases the difficulty of victory through obstruction.

It's shit or get off the pot time in Iraq.

  • If the US is to conquer the Iraqi state (one definition of victory) it will need to commit to annhiliatory actions that will be deemed "atrocious" by much of the planet. Conquest is not a gentlemans sport. Conquest is as bloody and horrifying today as it was under the commands of Alexander, Genghis or Napolean. As such the element of conquest cannot be feasibly considered as a means of victory. The current global and domestic environment simply won't support or condone it.

  • The whole "train the Iraqi's to deal with the mess themselves" gambit is naive, misguided and daft. Sectarian divisions are not going to be "basic trained" out of recruits. Proof is here, one case of many where insurgents dressed in Iraqi army uniforms act in a very ununitarian manner. Whether or not the offenders were Iraqi army is of no regard. The symbolic nature of the uniform is enough to fuel both mistrust, hatred and effectively unravel any real cohesion within a multi-sect armed force. Meanwhile US forces will affect a defensive posture in a foreign state as they bury the infrastructure, resources and political networks necessary to maintain such an operation behind the walls of various "green" zones. The morale effect on the surrounding populace isn't likely to be positive. Add the fact that a purely defensive posture in a hostile environment rarely foments progress and we have recipe for essentially needless expenditure of American blood and treasure.

  • The US could throw their considerable might behind the Shia majority. From a technical standpoint this may well be the quickest route out of Iraq. We could simply unleash a civil war, backing the obvious favorite, the Shia majority. From a strictly Iraqi visage we'd lose little as both Baathist and Al Qaeda elements would find themselves on the business end of one mighty offensive. Ah, but from an international standpoint such action would drive the Sunni states of the middle east into a hydrocarbon tantrum. America simply can't afford a repeat of the Oil Embargo, not with todays blistering global pace of business. I suppose I could place Iran in here as a form of mitigation regarding the Sunni reaction. But it wouldn't be honest as the Sauds alone have the economic power to drive Iran into the ground simply by nudging production up and oil prices down. Keep that little tidbit in mind as the fractious sunni/shia environment in the middle east grows...

  • Redeployment. In the northern geography of Iraq exists a jewel of stability and pro-American ideology. It is known as Iraqi Kurdistan. 15 years of no fly zone enforcement combined with the toppling of Saddam Hussein have realized a burdgeoning Kurdish state. This territory does not recognize itself as being Iraqi, it does not allow Iraqi military within it's borders and it's been inviting American tourism through television commercials here in the states. It is the silver lining in an otherwise dark tale of good intentions scythed down by incompetent practice. Walk away. Hand Malaki the keys, pat him on the ass and walk away. Redeploy to a portion of the country that wants freedom as much as the US wants to deliver it. Allow the rectification of British map drawing. Let al qaeda bury itself in a sunni/shia exchange. It's going to happen slow and painful or quick and painful. The presence of US troops merely serves to prolong the inevitable.

US soldiers are too good to serve as a mere net watching and suffering the volleys of the opponents on either side of them.