Saturday, July 01, 2006

Stand Up or Stand Aside

Over at the Pen and Sword, Commander Huber links to the NY Times, Dexter Filkins, who tells us about Iraqi troops standing aside as Americans stand in the line of fire in Ramadi.

Central to the strategy, American commanders say, is the decision to commit significant numbers of Iraqi troops who can hold the neighborhoods after the Americans do most of the work of pacification. That, the American commanders hope, will make the city safe enough for its shattered economy to renew itself and for Iraqi police officers to feel secure enough to start showing up for work[...]

The challenges of doing even that became evident as the operation unfolded Monday. American soldiers — trained, disciplined, with overwhelming firepower — outnumbered their Iraqi counterparts. Officers here said there were about 250 American soldiers involved in the operation, and about 145 Iraqis.

Lt. Col. Raad Niaf Haroosh, the Iraqi battalion commander, said the 145 soldiers represented a fraction of the battalion's usual numbers. He said as many as 500 of his fellow soldiers — most of them Sunni Muslims from Al Jabouri tribe — stayed behind in Mosul rather than fight in Ramadi.

As Commander Huber points out, it is going to be tough for the Iraqis to defeat an insurgency if they are unwilling to fight it.
We've arrived at a point where we're fighting Iraqis because the Iraqis don't want to fight among themselves. How many American troops are in harm's way in Ramadi right now because 500 Iraqi soldiers got to sit this dance out and wax the floors in the barracks instead?

Are we showing resolve in Iraq, or are we being played for chumps? Getting into a bar fight over a girl you just met shows resolve. Waking up in jail the next morning with a black eye and two missing teeth shows how stupid you are.

Iraq has turned into a goat rope tied in a Gordian knot wrapped around a Mobius strip. How did the mightiest nation in human history let itself get into such a bind?
Well, when the mightest nation in human history is lead by the most incompetent administration in human history, isn't the answer self-evident?