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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Iraq Insurgency for Beginners

Iraq Insurgency in 2007

The interview in with Evan Kohlman, a man who works as a consultant for the DoD, Dept. of Justice, FBI and CIA gives a clear and rational picture of the insurgency in Iraq and how it happened. President Bush and his Administration look like complete idiots. Some highlights (comments in brackets [ ] are mine):

it was almost like Osama bin Laden was trying to vibe into George Bush the idea: "Invade Iraq, invade Iraq." This was an opportunity they seized with amazing alacrity. As brutal and terrifying as what they've done is, you have to acknowledge they capitalized on an opportunity that we handed them.
[actually the Bushites] thought that if we get rid of Saddam Hussein, people would come together and celebrate and democracy would reign throughout the Middle East. The people who thought that up are people who think Iraq is like Texas. Iraq is not Texas. To Iraqis, tribal affiliations, religion and family mean a lot more than saying, "I'm from Iraq." You know we're doing a bad job of communicating our own message when we're losing the propaganda war to people who cut other people's heads off on camera. Think about it: People in one of the most Westernized countries in the Middle East would rather trust al-Qaida than the United States. That's a terrible sign of things to come.
But if you want to know who is responsible for the fact that al-Qaida is succeeding in Iraq, it's Saudi Arabia. The most common nationality of foreign insurgents in Iraq has been Saudis. Where do you think all the money comes from to pay for these operations? It's from Saudi donors. I'm not blaming this necessarily on the Saudi government. But they have made some very provocative statements about the idea that if the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, they're going to actively aid Sunnis in their war against Shiites. If we're going to put pressure on Iraq's neighbors, let's put pressure on all of Iraq neighbors to stop contributing to the violence.
I thought perhaps, in invading Iraq, they had some long-term view that nobody else could see. But that hope faded very quickly. The Bush administration didn't reach out to anyone credible when they were asking about, for instance, the connections between al-Qaida and Saddam Hussein. Anybody with any real knowledge of the region would have told them there are no connections between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida. The only people who believed that nonsense were lunatics.

If I was going to invade Iraq, the first thing I would do is commission the top history experts, top geographical experts, top cultural experts, and sit them down at a table and say, "This is what I'm thinking about doing. Is this feasible?" That was never done. Nobody in their right mind would have taken a look at Bush's plan and said, "Oh, yeah, that's going to work." It's not possible that it could work. Every historic precedent works directly against Bush's plan. I know it's easy to say, but the best solution is not to have invaded at all.
[emphasis mine --2+2=4]

Thank about the significance of this: someone who actually knows something about the region and its people would want to consult a wide range of experts (real ones, not whack-jobs from a "think-tank") before trying anything.
The Bushites represent one of the very worst qualities about U.S. society *: a contempt, even hatred, for well-educated people who make an effort to know what they're talking about. The War is a kind of victory of the anti-intellectual blow-hard who "knows what's what" and doesn't need any "eggheads" to tell him anything. There exists an element within American society who vehemently hate education and educated people. But sad to say, it's the ones who despise expertise and study who have created better and more efficient organizations and demonstrate an ability to elect candidates. We can not accuse Bush's supporters of complete and total stupidity. They played hard, they played for keeps, and they won elections. Why can't more educated and knowledgeable people do that?

*No, I do not hate America. I direct my comments to certain individuals and certain groups within U.S. society, not the whole country.

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