12 January 2007

Missed the Iraqization Speech

I was busy helping a friend out so I completely missed what the POTUS has to say about his plan of action for Iraq. So being completely interested I bounced over to the White House's website and read the transcript. I am glad that he is willing to admit that the mistakes lay with him. That is something big. Why you ask? Well that to me is what makes up a good leader, one that is willing to step up and say "I flubbed it" and take the heat for it. That is something they try and teach us at leadership schools to have people be willing to follow you.
Reading through it some more I will also accept the point that we can't let Iraq descend into radical extremist control. That isn't to say we need to install an pro-western puppet. I would rather let the people decide after this nation has become stabilized what they want to do. I will also say this that if extremists gain control then who knows what could happen. There has been plenty of time in the past when America or American people have been hurt by extremists gaining control of a nation or a group. We can't let this happen again. Even though I don't like to use this idea, no matter how true it is, but especially since Iraq and the rest of those nations around the Persian Gulf are capable of holding most of the world's economy hostage because they control a large amount of oil. Think about it for just one second people, most of Asia which are currently the largest producers of high value consumer products for the US and Europe. Also the two of the three biggest economies in Asia do not have ready access to oil, those two are Japan and South Korea. The People's Republic China does have some limited access to oil in the South China sea but those deposits are currently being argued about between the PRC, Vietnam, Philippines, and some of the other nations around the South China Sea.
Don't go all "Ah, so it is about the oil" on me please. I don't believe it is about the oil but if you don't believe that oil doesn't help run this nation's economy along with about 96% of the rest of the world's economy then you are sorely lacking in an education. Just think about how much people saved and scrimp to keep extra cash in their pockets from this past year as oil prices, and in turn other fuel prices, went up to some of the highest levels seen in a while. So to a point this conflict is about oil, but it is also about trying to prevent the collapse of economies and another possible major depression world wide.
I feel really so-so about the comment regarding the Iraqi's and the Iraqi government need to take charge of the security situation. From everything that I have read in the military blogs out there and on the external US media (i.e. the media from outside the US), the Iraqis want to take charge but it is to much like the Balkans or parts of Northern Ireland over there. In that because of some insult going years and possibly even centuries back between the three major ethnic/religious groups is just causing all sorts of hate and discontent. President Bush's plan just sounds too much like Nixon's plan of "Vietnamization" during the Vietnam war. That was turning over more and more of the actual combat to South Vietnamese troops. Meanwhile American troops would slowly be withdrawn and go back to training cadres. I know, gentle readers, if the President is pushing 21K plus troops into Iraq he really isn't withdrawing now. No, but it could very well be the start. I would also remind you ,dear reader, what happened to South Vietnam shortly after the Vietnamization process started. That was an serious increase in actions not by the Viet Cong but by the North Vietnamese Army in South Vietnam that ultimately lead to the Easter Offensive by North Vietnam into South Vietnam. Who is to say what might happen to an obviously weakened internal government and a military that is wrought with problems as well.
If we do pull out like the Democrats and Liberals want us to do, then we could very well have a country like Taliban control Afghanistan or even the Ayatollah control Iran on hand. If the extremists on the other hand gain control then we could very well have another Syria, Libya, Sudan, or dictatorship that could be outright hostile to the west. What might be really nasty is Iraq would become like Lebanon was in the 70's and early 80's. After the start of the Lebanese civil war , a beautiful country saw itself overrun by three major forces all jockeying for control of the nation. Israel from the south supporting a group in the civil war, Syria from the east supporting the Hezbollah and another group, and internal the PLO trying to create a home base for their movement. That could very well happen to Iraq if we fail to try and secure a major peace for the country. There are a number of Iraq's neighbors that are honestly looking for payback for some of Saddam's aggressive tendencies. Do you honestly want to believe that people would stand by as that country would be torn apart by its various neighbors as it really did descend into a civil war? I do believe that some of the more rabid liberals and bush haters would love to see that happen.
I seriously believe that the "CNN Factor" has been in play since late in 2003. With those groups that are seriously opposed to the West in trying to establish a democracy in the region. They have been playing up to both the local media and the international media trying to paint a very bleak picture at home. All of this has been in an attempt to turn the West's civilian population against the objective of building a better nation out of what is there. What is the "CNN effect" you ask it is a term that I heard a friend use to explain how the American political will and civilian will can falter if CNN (or any 24hr cable news network) shows American soldiers losing. This will in turn lead to the president at the time to pull the troops out. For example Panama in 1989 after the press pool got shots of looting and lawlessness in certain neighborhoods, the success of the American forces took a back burner to the shots of troops blasting hard rock at the Vatican Embassy and rioter and looters taking everything not nailed down in some of the major cities. Another famous example was would be Somalia in 1993, after CNN and a number of other news agencies showed the bodies of the dead Delta Force and Rangers being drugged through the street and the report of CWO3 Durant as a prisoner. In turn the US military withdrew from Somalia and it has now been generally believed that this emboldened Osama Bin Laden that the US was a paper tiger. The anti-US forces have been very effective in trying to portray Iraq as a cess-pool and they have been using the media as their unknowing pawns in this portrayal.

Overall, I think that the President is right. This is going to be a very long fight and we a nation need to accept that it it not a Nintendo war. Where we will be treated to wonderful shots on the evening news of night-vision cameras and enough laser light bouncing around to put on an awesome rock concert. Rather this will be a war of hard fought actions over a few pieces of ground and the achievements won't be measured in historic battles like Tripoli, Midway, Bastogne, Chosin, Hue. Rather it will be measured on the ability of the people of the Iraqi nation to create a government of their choosing and a nation built in their own ideals.
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