Friday, March 28, 2008

Violence in Iraq Spikes Under Al Sadr, What’s our Role?

"Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's followers say security forces are abusing a
cease-fire by his Mahdi Army militia to unfairly target them in raids.

The government says it is acting against criminal gangs.

The answer to Iraq’s security issue has to be regional security with allegiance to the central government of Iraq. This is the same system that the US uses, where cities and counties take care of local issues, followed by state government, who all pledge allegiance to the federal government.

The mistake in Iraq has been too much focus on the central government, and the central government’s subsequent fighting with the regional security forces.

As much as I hate the devil child, Muqtada al Sadr, he and his followers may be more in the right than we think. Now, of course, al-Sadr has not been elected councilman of anything… he is a self proclaimed leader and head of an illigitimate gang… so IMHO he needs to run for a post, or petition his government for the creation of regional posts, like city council or county commissioner. That will legitimize he and his followers, and bring people in to the political process.

Notice that I use “illegitimiate” instead of “illegal”. It is for a purpose. We in the United States have set rules and regulations, the breaking of which is against the legal system as voted on by the people or their representatives… thus illegal. In Iraq, there are not the same set of rules, elected representatives, or an effective democratic structure. It is a land of renegades and regional order (or disorder), with groups fighting with the US troops or the Iraqi government because they have no other way to petition their government – the system doesn’t exist. So they engage in civil war, or widescale gang war…

With the lack of rules of, by, and for the people, and the increased frustration of the people in Iraq, I have to ask myself and our countrymen: what is our role?

I was discussing the war with my best friend, Curtis, during our road trip. Curtis is active military, scheduled to deploy in January of 2009. He said, “It’s our job to stay there until the job is done”. To which I replied, “What is the definition of the ‘job’ and how will we know when it is ‘done’?” He couldn’t answer, so we discussed the irony of being in a war, and supporting a war to which there is no end in sight, or there are no clear objectives.

Should the objectives be set per my guidelines, we could end ground combat within a year, and chose to establish a few permanent bases for regional security should we so chose.

My guidelines for ending the war would be this:
  1. The establishment of regional states, which would establish rule of law in accordance with the Iraqi Constitution, the election of regional or state Governors and legislature, and the creation of these state’s own constitution, as prescribed in Chapter 5 of the Iraqi constitution. Each region would have one year to complete a draft regional constitution and submit it to the voters.
  2. Complete the training of the Iraqi Military for basic infantry combat. Our continued presence with bases can continue training higher tech military personnel and officers.
That is it. Two goals. Establish the rule of law, and provide for the defense of that rule of law. Everything else is extra, as part of a post combat effort.

If we continue our combat in Iraq as part of a “stop all violence” effort, we will have zero chance of success. What we are now is the Iraqi police, fighting thugs and gangsters.

The role of the US combat troop in Iraq is done. The political process, however difficult, needs to be allowed to work. We should establish a combat ready force at local bases to ensure there are no strings of genocide, and to help qwell a civli war… but our task must be complete.

For those who disagree, I would argue that most combat that is seen now is, in fact, an attack by a gang (you may call them terrorist groups, but they are gangs). This is reminiscent of Los Angeles during the gang war years.

So my plea to the US government is to define the job, so we will know what it is that needs to be done. Let’s finish the job you define. Let’s end combat in Iraq and unite this country!

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