Friday, April 18, 2008

Must read

A commenter on the "Relevance..." post two items back pulled together in a nice summary the ways in which Iraq policy is being pushed in the wrong direction, his point being that the whole package has to be taken together in order to grasp how bad the implications are going to be for Iraq and no doubt for America as well. Here are a couple of paragraphs from that:
The tactics that Washington is pursuing in Iraq appear to be exacerbating several long-term trends that risk destabilizing Iraq even further and may well also undermine U.S. influence.

Washington’s militant intervention into intra-Shi’ite factional politics is pouring gasoline on that dispute, fomenting civil war between the two most powerful Shi’ite militias in Iraq by encouraging (or ordering?) Maliki to suppress Moqtada’s Mahdi Army. Washington is simultaneously laying the groundwork for a civil war between Iraqi Shi’a and Sunni by funding the organization of numerous local Sunni military units (e.g., the Awakening groups), which could evolve rapidly into a Sunni militia that would challenge the Shi’a since these units are gaining power without a commensurate move toward satisfaction of Sunni grievances. Washington is also fighting Iran’s war in Iraq by intervening in Shi’ite factional disputes on the side of the pro-Iranian Badr faction that constitutes Maliki’s main support. And finally, since Moqtada represents the poor urban Shi’ite underclass beyond the reach of government services, Washington is making war on the poor, a bad foundation indeed for building democracy.

A policy of marginalizing the poor by emphasizing the use of force to suppress their representatives, not to mention collective punishment against the poor themselves through both neglecting to provide services and turning Sadr City into a blockaded ghetto, sets up society for a long period of conflict. (For parallels, check out the impact of Israel’s 1982 invasion of Lebanon, which provoked the formation of Hezbollah; the half century-long civil war against the rural poor in Colombia; and of course the endless sad saga of the mistreatment of the population of Gaza.)
There's more. It's from a post of his on his own blog, at I'm not sure if there's a url for that particular post, but it's April 18.

The point is that he lays out the whole set of implications for following the current policy, versus the implications of turning the thing around. I haven't seen the whole issue laid out so clearly before. Moreover, he agrees there are some key people whose help needs to be enlisted, if there is to be any hope of waking up the Democrats. At the start of his comment, he writes: "I too would encourage Iraq experts like Professors Lynch and Cole to help us think about the future implications of current U.S. behavior."

It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness...


Blogger annie said...

i'm really glad you highlighted this badger. earlier today i checked out his site after reading the original comment and queried him regarding a permalink to the post you sited. i think it must have been an oversite because his other posts have url's.

i recommend googling Dr. William deB. Mills

no slouch!

12:45 PM  
Blogger annie said...

permalink added

1:50 PM  
Blogger James said...

walls in sadr city...

8:14 PM  
Blogger NonArab-Arab said...

FYI to update your Sadr City casualty figures from a few posts ago, watching Al-Jazeera today they quoted the figure now as 400 dead and 1700 wounded.

7:49 AM  

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