State of the Un-union
Iraq: the un-union. Properly termed, a political fiasco. American intervention in the disputed country has done little to reconcile the dissenting populace. The campaign designed to "liberate" Iraqis has then in fact turned the majority of natives alike against the neocolonialist American government.
First of all, the idea that there were WMDs in Iraq is a complete fallacy. Not only does the CIA as of 2002 report on Iraq's WMD capabilities and possession only offer inferences and inconclusive evidence, but also its sources are extremely outdated. In "post-war" Iraq, the lack of WMDs is not the only factor that contributes to the capitalized notion (by the Bush administration) that Saddam Hussein had obtained materials for or actually possessed the illegal weapons. Recently, a former senior CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) agent—who was ambiguously dismissed this year—has filed suit against the agency for demanding that he submit falsified reports on Iraq's WMD program that would specifically coincide with President Bush's view on the country. Even Bush is a dupe to his own elaboration, claiming, "…America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison. He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means, and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction." Therefore, the American defense aspect, or any defense aspect for that matter, is an irrelevant issue when considering the logic behind this war.
However, the defense of our own soldiers is apparently an issue to be dealt with lightly. On December ninth, international news agencies reported on the inadequacy of US troop equipment. According to many troops addressing US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, American forces in Iraq have to literally dig through landfills to find scrap metal and used ballistic glass to sufficiently armor their vehicles. Rumsfeld merely replied that companies were upping their production of armor, and that, "You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can be blown up." This argument is almost parallel to that during the election, where Kerry accused Bush of neglecting to properly equip US troops with body armor.
The apparent lack of protection for American soldiers is ill fated, considering that the amount of troops in Iraq is going to rise to 150,000 (one hundred fifty thousand)—its highest level since American occupation—from 130,000 (one hundred thirty thousand) soldiers. The amount of reservists and National Guardsmen being shipped to Iraq is ironic when one considers that, as of 2003, the War in Iraq was over. This as well as the extension of military tours, ranging from the expected year to fourteen months, is not only an indication to the need for a better equipment, but it is also proof that American forces are struggling in Iraq.
The term "American" here is used deliberately. A good ninety percent of the "coalition of the willing" deaths in Iraq have been of Americans. This statistic provides the indication the "coalition of the willing" has failed to meet its promises concerning the war. Such agreements with the US include both military and financial support, both of which are little represented in foreign involvement in Iraq. This may seem to be incompetence, but it comes off more as reluctance to participate in the invalid war, such as Spain conveyed after they abandoned the war effort.
The most striking numbers, which should not be considered statistically, but personally and morally, are the some 1,100 American soldiers who have died in Iraq. The horror of this fact should speak for itself. It should also lead one to question, have the soldiers' efforts been in vain?
The populace of Iraq, then, also speaks for itself. (That is not to say, however, that those American lives lost don't mean anything. To the contrary, the amount of US troops lost is both tragic and upsetting, when one considers the lost cause of the War and amounting evidence proving no confrontation was needed with Iraq) The citizens in Iraq are overwhelmingly anti-American, or at least lean away from American policies. Ever since the overthrow of dictator Saddam Hussein, Iraqis have seen little use for the imposing American presence in their country.
This may account for the increasing insurgency that has plagued "coalition" forces. The recent "liberation" of Fallujah is little when compared to the large-scale insurgency in Iraq that encompasses the whole country. The US military is subject to random attacks from rogue opposition units, roadside bombs, captures and executions…
All opposition is hard to rid of, though. When one considers the more guerilla warfare that the insurgency has begun to follow, attacking in small numbers and leaving concealed bombs to attack enemies (some of which do include Iraqi citizens, those who support or seemingly support the US), it is clearly difficult to encounter such enemies.
The Iraqi army and police forces that are meant to counter this insurgency are not well equipped. Soldiers have been known to lack proper equipment, such as shoes. Perhaps this might have been overlooked by Western authorities? Another notable aspect of the Iraqi forces is that they are small in numbers. Patrol missions are too few for Iraqi policemen to really counter opposition. The army, which followed American forces in the former insurgent stronghold Fullajah recently, humbly followed from behind "coalition" forces. To emphasize a Iraqi presence in the army, as well as keeping a politically correct state of mind, the Whitehouse has dubbed "coalition deaths" "Iraqi deaths" as a more proper substitute. Also, the army has proposed to decrease American army operations to test the reliability of the Iraqi army and let the "coalition" slink in the background.
Though these Iraqi supporters of the American presence are intimidated by insurgency (to the point of death), it is also a measure of the Iraqi people as a whole conveying that they do not wish to support the American endorsed army and police force. Many natives who are soldiers and policemen have also simply need a job, even if it does mean risking ones life against insurgency.
The insurgency however does not only take on a terrorist aspect, as many propose. Though foreign terrorist groups are apparent, such as Zarqawi and an Al Qeada entourage, much of the insurgency is actually that of Iraqi citizens, who are of anti-American sentiment. Such "insurgency" also pertains to children throwing molotov cocktails at American vehicles.
The purpose behind this may be for numerous reasons. One issue concerning the War in Iraq is the living conditions. Since America has invaded the country, many areas have experienced a loss of electricity and blackout periods up to fourteen hours. That is not to mention that sewage is visible on Iraqi streets, and that people have to sometimes walk through trash to get to a desired destination. Citizens have also experienced deficiencies in the water and sewage systems. Under the tyranny of Hussein, there was at least running electricity and water, as well as active sewage systems, all of which have been significantly damaged by American forces.
But perhaps the most convincing purpose for becoming an "insurgent" is that American forces cause many Iraqi casualties. To be more specific, approximately 15,000 (fifteen thousand) Iraqi citizens have died as a result of the actions carried out by US forces. This statistic, which again should have more than numeral value, pertains to missed targets, stray bullets, lack of health care…
Many Iraqi parents mourn the death of their offspring. Because of the destruction of their homes, families must find new ones. The whole Arab community expressed an utter outrage in response to the atrocities (torture, mistreatment) committed at the Abu Graihb prison by American troops. The one debatable reason that Iraqis use to justify their scorn for the US is the "desecration" of mosques, from which foreign terrorists as well as local insurgents are known to attack troops and stash weapons. This, needless to say, is enough to convince Iraqis, who are put in danger by the army, to obtain anti-American feelings.
This is all a paradox to the optimistic Whitehouse view of Iraq. The alleged "Iraq Home Page" on the Whitehouse website has a picture of smiling, celebrating Iraqis with the words "Renewal in Iraq." The page includes updates on US progress in the country, as well as "liberation quotes," many of which are dubiously pro-America and more anti-Hussein in tone. It also has a neat little chart concerning American progress in Iraq. The page is overwhelmingly a close to utopian vision of Iraq, coinciding with the Administration's thoughts rather than the actual reality of the nation.
A persistent Bush believes all of the factors presented are not stifles to the January 30th (thirtieth) elections. A mere premise of "freedom on the march" will do the trick concerning democracy and tranquility in the troubled land. But one must consider "knowing the facts" when deciding the outcome of the elections. Even if the democratic system as proposed by the US does work, will not US—sorry—Iraqi forces have to maintain a large presence in the country just to "liberate" insurgent attempts at the government?
Aside from insurgent threats and possibilities, many Shiites are entering Iraq from Iran, specifically sent to influence the January thirtieth elections to make a predominant Shiite state. The Iranian Muslims instigated by their government to go to Iraq, present a problem as to the fairness of the election. In what way can the US forces ensure that the elections are actually just in Iraq? Along with a shaky nuc-u-lar position, do I smell a war with Iran…?
In the midst of all this, there is still a bright light in Iraq: business! American business has been walking away with quite a sum of money due to the war. This constitutes not only for American businesses currently establishing work in Iraq, but also for "defense" corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, that have had a field day selling weapons. In fact, business has been so good for Vice President Dick Cheney's former company Halliburton, that an official investigation is underway concerning its involvement in Iraq and its 10 (ten) billion dollar profit from the country.
In conclusion: More Americans are dying to "insurgents" that actually are composed more of Iraqi citizens than terrorist groups, while the US government appears apathetic to soldier safety—even while more soldiers are entering Iraq—but still upholds an optimistic vision of the ultimate mess of blood, anti-Western sentiments, and foreign exploits.