Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983
Once again we work in vain to re-tool the Iraqi army. As reported in the Nov. 13, 2014 New York Times:
“Despite receiving more than $25 billion in American training and equipment over the past 10 years, the Iraqi military buckled, and thousands of troops fled, in the face of the Islamic State’s rapid advance across Iraq this summer. Only half the remaining units are considered fit to fight, according to American officials.
But even as Iraqi and American officials are racing to expand the security forces and turn their losses around, they are having to struggle with a widespread perception of the Iraqi Army as a hopelessly corrupt and incompetent institution.”
wenty five billion dollars busted, to train Iraqi’s to fight themselves. [And Congress has just voted to spend countless dollars more under a “destroy the Islamic State” formula, to get them and hopefully Syrians also, trained somehow more effectively to fight themselves.] This business of training proxy armies has been bankrupt from the start. It’s at least the fourth time we’ve tried this in Iraq. Iraq-Iran war [giving them “technical assistance”], Gulf War [provoking Kurd fighters on our behalf], Iraq War [supporting the “Awakening” militias, among other schemes]. It should have been three strikes and we’re out. This strategy that didn’t work in Vietnam either. Nor did it prevent the fall of the Roman and British empires.
We don’t want to live in your country except behind great big Green Zone walls, sending out drone diplomats to negotiate your life & death issues. We won’t fight for you in person face to face. But if you kindly enforce security upon yourselves, we’ll gladly extract the resources we need from your country. You fight for our right to supersede your nation’s rights, don’t bother to fully focus on peaceful resolution of your own local conflicts. Imported guns bombs and bullets will do the trick.
This is madness—policy doomed from its beginning. Who in any other country of the world still believes us? What waste of money and blood on foreign soil. It can only benefit a military industrial power elite that detaches morality from financial interests.
So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
f our country wishes to win hearts and minds in areas of conflict, we must put ourselves in their place, live in their neighborhoods, speak their language, respect their ways as we try to engage them in a respect for ours. We have to risk encounter without resorting to overwhelming force, weapons spreading mass deception, suffering and distrust. This is a tall order, ever more difficult to achieve as we continue the sad trajectory launched by our War on Terror.
We must show the world we are willing to spend more on peacemaking than warfare. Make national service a requirement for every American, but have a Peace Corps and similar efforts, as big as and well equipped for the task, as our armed forces.
Illuminations by Kathy Brahney