A fledgling group of Sunni and Shiite religious leaders met for the first time in Baghdad last week to condemn sectarian violence in their country, a move US military officials framed as a first of its kind and a small step toward broader political reconciliation. — from this article
Why are they even attempting this? Not only is it likely to be fail, but it is part of a policy that is likely to fail. That policy involves the attempt to make Iraq into a unified state, with a civic-minded and informed and intelligent citizenry, full of the hardworking and the prosperous. Iraq will therefore offer Sunni Arab states a model of how to be, and everyone will be happy. For the first time in 1350 years, Muslims will take no interest in much of what Islam teaches, though as never before in history, despite their clear military inferiority to Infidels, Muslims are now capable of conducting the Jihad to spread Islam until it dominates and Muslims rule, in large parts of the non-Islamic historic West, through other non-military means, through utilization of the Money Weapon, well-financed and carefully-targeted Campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest.
Meanwhile, the great cost continues to mount. It begins with the $880 billion spent in Iraq. That is more than the total cost of all the wars, save World War II, that the United States has ever fought. But the cost also includes loss of life and of limb that might be acceptable even at far higher levels, in a war such as World War II, a war that made sense, but enrages because the war in Iraq, for the goals stated, not only does not enhance American security and that of its true allies, but worse, it actually requires the American soldiers to work to attain goals that, were they to be achieved (they won’t be), would hinder rather than promote American security.
The exploitation of the sectarian and ethnic fissures within Iraq, if not opposed by the Americans, would inevitably lead to further divisions and demoralization within the Camp of Islam, and that, in turn, can only help the Americans and other Infidels in their own war of self-defense — not a “war against terror” — against the Jihad that is a permanent feature, not a temporary one (there is no “after Jihad,” pace Noah Feldman, and Gilles Kepel, both of them as misguided guides to Islam as can be imagined), of Islam.
What is described in the article above shows the failure by those in Iraq to think beyond Iraq, to think of Iraq only as one theatre in the war of self-defense against the Jihad. The United States has no stake in bringing together Sunni and Shi’a. The Bush Administration, unable to recognize its mistakes about Islam and about Iraq, appears determined to continue to invest more and more, of money and materiel and men’s lives — to pursue a wrong course. In this respect it reminds one of the stubborn, crazed policy pursued during the hideous trench warfare of World War I, for no reasons that made sense, but because, once the thing started, no one could figure out how to stop it.
The generals who have opposed the war for the right reasons (not the zinni-ish line of appeasement, but because the war aims in Iraq make no real sense, the “mission” cannot be articulated by Bush because even to try to do so would show up how misguided the whole thing is) should speak up. And those who are with tunnel vision thinking only of the “job we have to do” right here in Baghdad are not serving the country well.
As for those who say things like “on average, insurgencies last about ten years,” to them one can only reply: what would you think of someone who self-assuredly proclaimed that “on average, American wars last an average of 2.1 years” or “on average, wars around the world since 1500 have lasted about 13.16 years” or “on average, civil wars last about 3.7 years”?
You would see right away how vacuous and jejune are such remarks. But for some reason, those “counterinsurgency experts” who make such statements, and then as well think they are little-lawrence-of-arabias with their knowledge of the “Sunni tribes” and their ability to really get to know those sheikhs because they are aware of how to sit, and which hand to use, and what formulae to utter, and how to listen patiently as the local Arab, continue to utter them. Yet that local Arab knows exactly how to manipulate the American army officer who is under the impression that it is he, the American, who is doing the manipulating. He presents his wish-list for still more money, still more of those nice advanced American weapons and, oh yes, some more raids by American soldiers on that particular sheikh’s particular enemies, whether or not they belong to Al Qaeda, which is not, pace Patraeus and Bush, the only problem — for there are a dozen different, mutually hostile, constantly shifting in their allegiances groups in Iraq, but all of them, in the end, consist of Muslims, and therefore none of them, in end, can conceivably be won over, not their hearts, and not their minds, to be real, as opposed to temporary and feigned, friends of American Infidels.
The article above makes one furious, and sad. Furious at the stupidity. Sad for the troops, sad for the soldiers being asked to be there, fighting for something, trying to do something in Iraq, that makes no sense — none.