Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Peace in Iraq

American Republicans are geniuses at using language to change reality, or at least the perception thereof. It may seem goofy that they all come out one week spouting the same phrase, but before you know it their spin has wormed its way into our consciousnesses and got us all thinking the way they want - at least for a couple of weeks until they've won the vote or the election or whatever.

The latest spin-lie has to do with peace in Iraq. The story is that we are trying to help the Iraqis achieve peace but they have to try too, and if they don't try hard enough then eventually we will have to stop helping them.

The lie in this is that the US created the mess, and the Iraqis are largely powerless to fix it.

Take for example the local militias. The US disbanded previous law enforcement and then used inadequate screening to select new forces, especially at the management level. The result is corrupt law enforcement that is run by local gangs who are terrorizing the population, demanding allegiance from citizens, stealing, and killing people.

Or the death squads in the Ministry of Interior. Or members of the Iraqi government, widely believed to be puppets of the US, who are corrupt, incompetent and in some cases extremists.

Another area where the US is responsible and is not stepping up to the plate is the destruction of infrastructure in Iraq. How are the Iraqi people supposed to get back to normal when their sources of electricity and water were bombed into oblivion in 2003? There also needs to be massive rebuilding of roads, bridges, and buildings.

Perhaps the US is not capable of rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and helping them get back to pre-2003 prosperity. As Baghdad Burning says, "As long as foreign troops are in Iraq, resistance or 'insurgency' will continue" and there will be violent unrest. The US was able to start rebuilding in Japan immediately after the Japanese surrender in WWII, but in that case the US was not the bad guy. Now, most definitely, it is.

So maybe the US should pull out of Iraq, but only if it pledges the hundreds of billions of dollars it will take for other countries to fix the mess.


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