Iraqi Suspicions

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/28/AR2006042802244.html?nav=rss_print/asection

HAWIJAH, Iraq — After midnight on a bare stretch of highway near this ramshackle town last week, Staff Sgt. Jason Hoover saw what looked like a fishing line strung across the road and ordered his Humvee to a screeching halt.
The cord was connected to an old, Russian artillery shell half-buried in the earthen shoulder and rigged to activate with a firm tug. Hoover traced its path nearly a half-mile though a plowed field, over another highway, and across a canal, where he found four Iraqi infrastructure policemen who were supposed to be guarding an oil pipeline. They said they had no idea what the cord was doing there.
“There’s two kinds of Iraqis here, the ones who help us and the ones who shoot us, and there’s an awful lot of ’em doing both,” said Hoover, 26, of Newark, Ohio. “Is it frustrating? Yes, it’s frustrating. But we can’t just stop working with them.”
Lovely. We’re fighting the same guys who are helping us? We’re helping the same guys we’re fighting?
Good Morning, Vietnam.

12 comments

  1. Yet it seems dismaying that so many retired generals are publicly angry at the secretary of defense, that the issue of not having enough men keeps cropping up, and that the Iraqi national forces turn blind eyes to insurgent activity against our troops, assuming they don’t actively support said insurgents.

    Actually, the really dismaying thing about this is that someone thinks retired generals in an architecture Rumsfield was deliberately and thoughtfully hand-picked to overturn would have much good to say about him. The fact that they don’t see the real danger in directly opposing, publicly, the acts of the civilian Commander in Chief in a time of war is a damning mark against them and anything they have to say. Unless they and their supporters are really saying they’d prefer a military dictatorship, which is what you call a country where the military stands in opposition to civilian command.

    Mind you, these are still the same people backing Che, so their sense of sanity and place are both suspect.

    I really question what those who’d support having more American soldiers in Iraq really mean, especially when they simultaneously go on about each and every solder’s death being an abomination. More boots on the ground means more casualties, period, in the kinds of operations we’ve been pursuing the last few years. That’s very simple military calculation. So, are they just agitating for more deaths and maiming so they can bewail the state of affairs? I don’t see any real alternative stance there that’s actually principled.

    But no. Even as deficits climb and China buys our Treasury bills and our Congress is rocked with Republican scandals and our President debates immigration issues by objecting to a Spanish language translation of the National Anthem, the conservatives repeatedly tell me to shut up.

    Uh, you do realize that “deficits” just means we have people that owe us money, right? That money’s not just imaginary; its fuelling the global economy. You know what would happen if the US ran with no deficit? 3/4ths of the world outside the US would go into a recession, with the least countries being hardest hit right into depression.

    I suppose that’s OK if you back the entertainment of watching them burn and die. Get it televised and I’ll vote for you.

    For the record, I object to a Spanish version of the national anthem, for the same reason I’d object to trying to sell an American Idolized pop-power ballad version of the Mexican anthem as a celebration of Mexican identity. Its not just bad art, its stupid and wrong-headed bad art.

    Because I don’t have a plan.

    Fine. I’ll shut up. Just as soon as some conservative bothers to explain what the plan IS, in terms that don’t assume I’m a fuck-wit know-nothing liberal.

    Funny, I could swear I’ve posted the plan on multiple occasions.

    • Give people a democracy.
    • See if they screw it up.

    People in free, economically active societies don’t generally suffer society-scale homocidal impulses. They ostracize and isolate those elements, not worship them. That’s a net win for me. We did the same thing in Germany and Japan. Sadly, France was a lost cause.

  2. Yes. I know that there’s a real difference between being a critic of policy and a policy-maker. You know, I had Kissinger himself tell me that, a good many years ago. I know that there’s a big difference between being a Congressional foreign policy wonk and being a middle school teacher, too.

    And no, I don’t believe the Arabs or the Persians are universally evil.

    And yes, I know that civil wars rarely go smoothly, and that conquest is never easy, and that reconstruction is always expensive and difficult and faces all sorts of resistance, and that the job is almost never done right the first time. Witness the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s in this country, which pretty much proved that Reconstruction in this country was a scapegrace ‘success’. And YES, I know that the Iraq War is not going as badly as one side says, or as well as the other side says.

    Yet it seems dismaying that so many retired generals are publicly angry at the secretary of defense, that the issue of not having enough men keeps cropping up, and that the Iraqi national forces turn blind eyes to insurgent activity against our troops, assuming they don’t actively support said insurgents.

    But no. Even as deficits climb and China buys our Treasury bills and our Congress is rocked with Republican scandals and our President debates immigration issues by objecting to a Spanish language translation of the National Anthem, the conservatives repeatedly tell me to shut up.

    Because I don’t have a plan.

    Fine. I’ll shut up. Just as soon as some conservative bothers to explain what the plan IS, in terms that don’t assume I’m a fuck-wit know-nothing liberal.

  3. You’re right, they’re all subhuman monsters who need to be wiped out like a plague. Virulent disease, those Arabs. You can’t actually rebuild their country without helping folks who don’t have your best interests at heart! So, clearly, the right thing to do is abandon the whole culture the the vicissitudes of their mutual feuds and hatreds (because proper upstanding countries like this one never have civil wars and the like) and stand back as it foments into a boiling cauldron of destruction, death, and either a financial client-state of yet more people who have sworn on their holiest of texts to kill you, me, and everyone we love, or just each other. Because they’re just sand-niggers, right? Can’t never teach ’em nothin’.

    Screw Vietnam, nothing like this ever happened after WWII, when we worked our asses off at rebuilding Germany and Japan, nearly from the ground up. That took a whole frickin’ decade to even see some tiny effects, and the Iraqis have a functioning, if fractious, democracy running in three years. By this measure, they’ll be sitting on the Security Council blocking the protection and rescue of folks in the Balkans in less than a decade, just like the French and Germans!

    So, Andrew, since you’ve decided to pointedly ignore everything you ever read about the reconstruction of countries after conquest at every stage of history and expose yourself as a racist regarding those useless Arab-type towelheads, y’gonna come out and start chanting “Che! Che! Che!” while positing Cuba as the height of modern governance, just to finish off the leftist (and not the good kind of leftist, as if those existed anymore) tropes you haven’t hit, yet?

    I mean, unless you have a real suggestion about how to do things to rebuild a country without helping friends and enemies alike. Because, otherwise, I’m quitting my job, because it funds and supports welfare queens, religious nuts, and guys that march in Castro Street parades (I don’t object to gays, I object to tacky gays). How dare I support scum like that while making sure the rest of the country gets better, too?

  4. You’re right, they’re all subhuman monsters who need to be wiped out like a plague. Virulent disease, those Arabs. You can’t actually rebuild their country without helping folks who don’t have your best interests at heart! So, clearly, the right thing to do is abandon the whole culture the the vicissitudes of their mutual feuds and hatreds (because proper upstanding countries like this one never have civil wars and the like) and stand back as it foments into a boiling cauldron of destruction, death, and either a financial client-state of yet more people who have sworn on their holiest of texts to kill you, me, and everyone we love, or just each other. Because they’re just sand-niggers, right? Can’t never teach ’em nothin’.

    Screw Vietnam, nothing like this ever happened after WWII, when we worked our asses off at rebuilding Germany and Japan, nearly from the ground up. That took a whole frickin’ decade to even see some tiny effects, and the Iraqis have a functioning, if fractious, democracy running in three years. By this measure, they’ll be sitting on the Security Council blocking the protection and rescue of folks in the Balkans in less than a decade, just like the French and Germans!

    So, Andrew, since you’ve decided to pointedly ignore everything you ever read about the reconstruction of countries after conquest at every stage of history and expose yourself as a racist regarding those useless Arab-type towelheads, y’gonna come out and start chanting “Che! Che! Che!” while positing Cuba as the height of modern governance, just to finish off the leftist (and not the good kind of leftist, as if those existed anymore) tropes you haven’t hit, yet?

    I mean, unless you have a real suggestion about how to do things to rebuild a country without helping friends and enemies alike. Because, otherwise, I’m quitting my job, because it funds and supports welfare queens, religious nuts, and guys that march in Castro Street parades (I don’t object to gays, I object to tacky gays). How dare I support scum like that while making sure the rest of the country gets better, too?

    • Yes. I know that there’s a real difference between being a critic of policy and a policy-maker. You know, I had Kissinger himself tell me that, a good many years ago. I know that there’s a big difference between being a Congressional foreign policy wonk and being a middle school teacher, too.

      And no, I don’t believe the Arabs or the Persians are universally evil.

      And yes, I know that civil wars rarely go smoothly, and that conquest is never easy, and that reconstruction is always expensive and difficult and faces all sorts of resistance, and that the job is almost never done right the first time. Witness the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s in this country, which pretty much proved that Reconstruction in this country was a scapegrace ‘success’. And YES, I know that the Iraq War is not going as badly as one side says, or as well as the other side says.

      Yet it seems dismaying that so many retired generals are publicly angry at the secretary of defense, that the issue of not having enough men keeps cropping up, and that the Iraqi national forces turn blind eyes to insurgent activity against our troops, assuming they don’t actively support said insurgents.

      But no. Even as deficits climb and China buys our Treasury bills and our Congress is rocked with Republican scandals and our President debates immigration issues by objecting to a Spanish language translation of the National Anthem, the conservatives repeatedly tell me to shut up.

      Because I don’t have a plan.

      Fine. I’ll shut up. Just as soon as some conservative bothers to explain what the plan IS, in terms that don’t assume I’m a fuck-wit know-nothing liberal.

      • Yet it seems dismaying that so many retired generals are publicly angry at the secretary of defense, that the issue of not having enough men keeps cropping up, and that the Iraqi national forces turn blind eyes to insurgent activity against our troops, assuming they don’t actively support said insurgents.

        Actually, the really dismaying thing about this is that someone thinks retired generals in an architecture Rumsfield was deliberately and thoughtfully hand-picked to overturn would have much good to say about him. The fact that they don’t see the real danger in directly opposing, publicly, the acts of the civilian Commander in Chief in a time of war is a damning mark against them and anything they have to say. Unless they and their supporters are really saying they’d prefer a military dictatorship, which is what you call a country where the military stands in opposition to civilian command.

        Mind you, these are still the same people backing Che, so their sense of sanity and place are both suspect.

        I really question what those who’d support having more American soldiers in Iraq really mean, especially when they simultaneously go on about each and every solder’s death being an abomination. More boots on the ground means more casualties, period, in the kinds of operations we’ve been pursuing the last few years. That’s very simple military calculation. So, are they just agitating for more deaths and maiming so they can bewail the state of affairs? I don’t see any real alternative stance there that’s actually principled.

        But no. Even as deficits climb and China buys our Treasury bills and our Congress is rocked with Republican scandals and our President debates immigration issues by objecting to a Spanish language translation of the National Anthem, the conservatives repeatedly tell me to shut up.

        Uh, you do realize that “deficits” just means we have people that owe us money, right? That money’s not just imaginary; its fuelling the global economy. You know what would happen if the US ran with no deficit? 3/4ths of the world outside the US would go into a recession, with the least countries being hardest hit right into depression.

        I suppose that’s OK if you back the entertainment of watching them burn and die. Get it televised and I’ll vote for you.

        For the record, I object to a Spanish version of the national anthem, for the same reason I’d object to trying to sell an American Idolized pop-power ballad version of the Mexican anthem as a celebration of Mexican identity. Its not just bad art, its stupid and wrong-headed bad art.

        Because I don’t have a plan.

        Fine. I’ll shut up. Just as soon as some conservative bothers to explain what the plan IS, in terms that don’t assume I’m a fuck-wit know-nothing liberal.

        Funny, I could swear I’ve posted the plan on multiple occasions.

        • Give people a democracy.
        • See if they screw it up.

        People in free, economically active societies don’t generally suffer society-scale homocidal impulses. They ostracize and isolate those elements, not worship them. That’s a net win for me. We did the same thing in Germany and Japan. Sadly, France was a lost cause.

  5. Perhaps not.

    There is the possibility that the trip-wire was set up by the insurgents to lead American forces to baseless conclusions about their allies’ reliablity.

    On the other hand, apparently the insurgents are succeeding in discrediting the Iraqi national forces with the occupying power.

    • Perhaps not.

      There is the possibility that the trip-wire was set up by the insurgents to lead American forces to baseless conclusions about their allies’ reliablity.

      On the other hand, apparently the insurgents are succeeding in discrediting the Iraqi national forces with the occupying power.

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