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Thursday, June 14, 2007

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Arm 'Em

This past week it was confirmed that part of the U.S.'s new war plan for Iraq is to arm the Sunni insurgents and allow them the opportunity to help fight al-Qaeda and other radical insurgent groups that have been terrorizing the region. The move is a rather significant admission that the U.S. is now realizing that, after investing more then $15 billion to build them up, it cannot depend on the unreliable Iraqi military or police.

There are so many things wrong with this I don't even know where to begin so I guess I'll go with a question and answer format. Get excited because today we will all get a little history lesson with our Good Times and hopefully I will answer some questions for those of you who are scratching your heads in confusion.

1.) Aren't the Sunni insurgents "bad"?
Well, technically, yes, they are. Well, were and are. Initially, they were pretty upset about the invasion of their country (more about why they are pissed in a minute), but the U.S. is banking on them being MORE angry about the fact that other radical insurgent groups are blowing up a lot of Iraqis.

2.) But weren't the Sunni insurgents friends with the other radical insurgent groups (a lot of whom are also Sunnis)?
You have a good memory! Yes! They were. Initially, most of the identified insurgent groups in Iraq considered each other allies with a common cause. Now the Sunni insurgents believe that the other insurgent groups are killing far too many Iraqis.

3.) Why were the Sunnis so mad in the first place? Shouldn't ALL Iraqis be mad about the invasion of their country?
Why yes they should, but the Shi'ites are less mad because of L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer.

4.) But who is L. Paul "Jerry" Bremer?
Oh how quickly you forget! In May 2003, Paul Bremer took over as Director of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq (you can laugh here because I bet you didn't even know that was a job, given the state of reconstruction and humanitarian assistance in Iraq). In this capacity, Bremer was in charge of all things civilian. During the year he was in charge, he issued 100 Orders. These orders were "binding instructions or directives to the Iraqi people that create penal consequences or have a direct bearing on the way Iraqis are regulated, including changes to Iraqi law."

Order #1 was the "DE-BA`ATHIFICATION OF IRAQI SOCIETY" which banned all members of Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath party from working in government, education, etc. The Ba'ath party was pretty much all Sunnis and had been in charge for over 20 years meaning that they were also the people who had any knowledge about how to run the country.

Order #2 was the "DISSOLUTION OF ENTITIES WITH ANNEX A" which dissolved the Iraqi military, leaving about 350,000 young Iraqis with military training UNEMPLOYED and ANGRY.

I don't have the room or the energy to subject you to a listing of Paul Bremer's 98 other bad ideas. I do recommend you read them here.

4.) So he ostracized the Ba'ath Party (Sunnis) AND he disbanded the Iraqi Military? Where are you going with this?
Simple. One of the major reasons the new Iraqi Military and Iraqi Police forces are having such a hard time getting on their feet is the lack of experienced officers. There is a lack of experience in the Iraqi government, military, and police because the U.S. either banned the experienced people from participating or fired them all together.

5.) Hmmmm...So the Sunni insurgents have a lot to be angry at the U.S. about. Should we really be giving them guns just because the pinky swear to not use them on us?
No. We shouldn't. They could use them on the al-Qaeda related insurgent groups in Iraq. That could happen. Or they could use them to kill Shiites...or Americans...or other Sunnis. In general with this kind of thing, experience tells us you don't just "throw more guns in the mix".

6.) Experience? Surely we haven't done anything like this before.
Flashback, 1979. It was the year I was born, it was also the year that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan (coincidentally, it was also the year that Saddam Hussein took over in Iraq). After the Soviet invasion of Iraq, the U.S. financed, armed, and trained the mujahideen (in this case, Afghanistani Muslims that comprised the groups that opposed the Soviet occupation; Ronald Reagan called them "freedom fighters"). The mujahideen helped bring about an end to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, but the various factions that had united to defeat the Soviets quickly turned on each other. The country descended into civil war and out of that civil war rose the Taliban.

The U.S. proves time and time again that it doesn't learn from its mistakes. Arming one faction in a civil war that we don't understand, in a country that we don't understand, is the worst idea I have heard in a very long time. It might be a worse idea than the gay bomb.

*Thanks to Jenny for the tip!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey it worked with Osam...oh wait, no.

12:18 PM


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