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U.S. Military Defeat Worsened by Bush

U.S. Military Defeat Worsened by Bush

By José María Rodríguez González

As Mr. Bush delayed his decision on Iraq, 109 American soldiers died during the 2006 holiday season. The war has no holidays, but Mr. Bush celebrated his and let the daily killing and wounding of our troops go on.

Mr. Bush is the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military, but he is acting for partisan, not national reasons. His objective is to use the rapidly deteriorating military situation to force the Democrats to approve an increase of thousands of troops and nearly $100 billion dollars in additional war expenses. The real goal of this damaging political game is to preserve Bush's “stay the course” mindset -- code words for the establishment of permanent U.S. bases in Iraq and secure access to Iraqi oil for the president's Texas oilmen cronies. These ambitions can no longer be hidden behind the failed excuse that the US has the upper hand in Iraq’s security and can impose a pro-Israel and pro-U.S.A. democracy in the sectarian-torn country.

Ironically, the continuing loss of American lives and treasure does nothing to further the neo-con's fatuous dream of a Middle East tucked safely under the wings of an American Empire. Most Americans won't support this delusion, but Mr. Bush’s actions may be surprisingly welcome in unexpected quarters -- Iran, for example.

Iran cannot admit it publicly, but keeping as many American troops as possible bogged down in Iraq, strengthens Iran’s position in the region. Besides, Iran could easily retaliate against troops without major mobility in their areas, in case of an American or Israeli attack on its nuclear facilities. Mr. Bush intends to reinforce the troops, mostly in Baghdad, but Baghdad is not Iran’s only resource.

Al-Qaeda, on the other hand, is now another Sunni group. It may be domestically hated, but its strategy of fueling civil war and hurting Americans troops has proven successful. The presence of American troops provides hands on experience training and an excellent recruiting tool. Sunni control of the Anbar province proves it, since the Americans overwhelmingly took Faruya. Wouldn’t Shiites wait for Americans to overwhelmingly take over Sadr City to spread their own Faruya?

A proxy increase of American troops in Baghdad, still fresh, received an insurgency’s and militias’ short pause to adapt to the new number and logistics of the increased troops and then unleash their recent violent campaign.

The insurgency’s strategy is simple: “the bigger and more powerful your Army, the easier it is to humiliate it and defeat it”. The current rationality is also clear: “The U.S. has 140,000 super soldiers, the best armed in the whole world,
and we forced them to call for reinforcements to save themselves. The more targets the merrier”. The troops are not clandestine, but the insurgency is. The Commander-in-Chief’s disastrous strategy has the American troops relegated to fortified bases, fighting behind the Iraqi troops that serve the Americans as their human shields. Without tanks and planes the Iraqi Army is practically an unarmed army. Moreover, the Iraqi army and police are both infiltrated by the insurgency and the Shiite militias. Both of them gather valuable teachings in counterintelligence, training that keep them ahead of the American troops.

The American troops practically lost control of the Anbar province and Baghdad. They have no role in a political, intelligence and counterintelligence struggle. The civil war can be only stopped politically, so the American Army is just loosing lives and wasting money. Taking the troops out of Iraq immediately is the most diplomatic way to demonstrate that the U.S. has no interest in having permanent military bases in Iraq or taking Iraqi oil. This action would leave the insurgency without an enemy and encourage the Iraqis to make peace as their alternative to civil war.

There is no middle ground for the U.S. in Iraq. Is it reasonable to suppose that the U.S. could intensify the civil war by supporting Al-Qaeda and the Sunnis to stop the Shiite political lead in the region, under Iran’s umbrella? Or could we support Iran, Syria, and the Shiite ethnic-cleansing of Sunnis to semi-eliminate Al-Qaeda in Iraq, at the price of establishing a permanent explosive Sunni unrest in the region? Or could the U.S. re-invade Iraq?

The best option is to pull out our troops without any delay, relocate the most rested troops in the neighborhood and rebuild Iraq at any price. Failing to do so, Bush will add to his responsibility for launching a war of choice, breaking our army with an unwinnable strategy, destroying our diplomatic and political effectiveness in the region -- and covering his hands with the blood of brave Americans who continue to be sacrificed day by day on the altar of a vainglorious scheme.


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José María Rodríguez González is a U.S. foreign policy researcher.

ENDS

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