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Invasion of Iraq: One Policy, Two Parties|
Posted on Wednesday, October 04 @ 07:51:02 UTC
Topic: Iraqis Protest
The Generals, the Democrats and Iraq|
By Ron Jacobs, counterpunch.org
Recently on CNN, Michael Ware reported from Iraq that US commanders have been privately telling him that they need "at least three times as many troops as they currently have there now, be that Iraqi and American or, even better, just three times as many as American troops." Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, three retired generals told a Democratic Policy Committee that the military itself needs more members. Indeed, General Eaton was quoted in Army Times as saying in a prepared statement that "The war on terror demands we mobilize the country and significantly increase the size of our ground forces."
Of course, the general didn't say how he expected the army to do that, although he mentioned that he thought at least 60, 000 troops would be needed, at least for a start. If I were one of those in the US who are looking to the Democrats to get them out of the bloody mess created since 2001, I would be pretty nervous that these men (and not policy makers opposed to the war) are speaking to the Democrats' policy committee.
History tells us that generals that want to expand the military are not interested in ending any war. Does the name William Westmoreland mean anything to these folks? It was his philosophy that the war in Vietnam could be won if there were just enough troops there. He thought this when there were 50,000. he thought it when there were 200,000. He even thought it when there were 500,000. And he was wrong.
The generals and the politicians that support them operate from a fundamentally incorrect premise. They do not think that their mission is itself impossible and wrong, only that Washington doesn't have enough men on the ground. Although it is remotely possible that a force twice the size of the original invasion force might have achieved the US goal of an Iraq completely controlled by Washington in 2003, the events on the ground since then render any assessment that still believes such a goal to be possible foolish and wrong.
The nationalist resistance and the jihadist opposition combined with the opposition to the occupation by many Shia groups means one thing for certain--Washington will never control Iraq like it wants to. Any government that it supports will never enjoy enough support among the Iraqis to survive its armed and unarmed resistance. The generals and politicians who still believe such a goal is possible are lying. They may not know it, being so assured of US dominance and the rightness of forcing Washington's version of freedom on the world's peoples, but their suggestions that more troops should be sent and more lives wasted is tantamount to negligent homicide.
Unfortunately, that fact probably doesn't matter. If the GOP stays in power in Congress, George Bush will continue to get whatever he wants to fight his wars. If the Democrats take control, He will still get most of what he wants, since those legislators that do oppose the war on some level are not only small in number, their voice is extremely weak. This is in no small part due to the fragmented nature of what all polls tell us is an antiwar majority. Ever since the larger of the two national antiwar organizations-UFPJ-publicly declared its refusal to work with the other national organization ANSWER, those of us opposed to the war are still searching for a national protest we can go to. It's not my intention here to get into the nature of the squabble between the leadership of the two organizations, but suffice it to say it has a lot to do with the Democratic Party's desire to manipulate the masses away from the streets and into the polling booth, as if our choice is between one or the other. Actually, voting is going to make the least amount of difference in stopping this war. Or the war in Afghanistan.
Which brings me to the recent pronouncements by NATO generals in that country. Apparently, they want more troops there, too. Why? Because they operate on the same assumptions as the generals speaking to Iraq do. That the war they are fighting can be won. Without commenting on the nature of the resistance leadership, it should be clear to any clearheaded individual who is paying attention that the essential similarity between the Iraqi and Afghani resistance is their desire to get the occupiers out of their country. Given this, it doesn't really matter how many troops the occupiers have in country, they will never win. That is, unless they kill everyone that opposes them.
It's not that they're not trying, if you believe the body counts coming out of both countries. Add to the tens of thousands already dead a family of eight killed September 27, 2006 in a raid by US troops that locals termed a "terrorist massacre." By the way, the terrorists they were refering to was the US Army.
Going back to General Westmoreland and Vietnam, let me ask one question. Who won that one, even though Washington did its best to kill everyone that opposed them?
A couple more questions while we're at it? Did the Democrats get us out of that one? Or did they go along with every request for troops and money until the protests in the streets and the military made it difficult to conduct the war and even (at times) govern the country?
Ron Jacobs is author of The Way the Wind Blew: a history of the Weather Underground, which is just republished by Verso. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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