The Kid Gloves Have to Come Off...
Vis-a-vis recent events in Iraq: when will it become evident, even to the most enlightened in the administration, that there is a segment of the Iraqi population (and probably present to a certain degree in every Arab/Muslim society) that wouldn't know a good thing if it kicked them in the ass? Additionally, once this pertinent fact has been discovered by said administration, when will they do something proactive about it?
I write this with equal parts of frustration and bewilderment. I have said before on this page that the Iraqi experiment was never going to be a cakewalk, but it's starting to become a farce.
First, we have to wonder how it is that in a country where Saddam had 22 million spies (i.e. every breathing citizen) that we cannot get good information on where these terrorists (or as the Clinton crowd likes to call them, "insurgents") are in order to round them up or kill them. Say what you will about Saddam being evil and all, but he and his regime were very well informed about troublemakers and potential troublemakers. Perhaps viciousness is all Iraqis understand, and the way to get them back into their old habits of informing on each other at the drop of a hat is to start using some of Saddam's old tactics. For example, I believe Fallujah should have been raised to the ground and returned to it's pristine wilderness state. The Pentagon believed that Fallujah shad to be assaulted, allowed to recover, and then assaulted again. The carrot and the stick approach. I vote for all stick next time.
In the All-stick-all-the-time approach, if there should be a "hot spot" like Fallujah, we should give the women and children 24 hours to walk out, leaving the men behind. We then give the men 24 hours to surrender in small groups, leaving only the stupid and the terrorists behind, and then we wipe the town off the map. High explosives and bulldozers doing what they were intended to do sends an unequivocal message: "We're serious. Stop this shit, right now".
I'm getting a little sick and tired of us having to wear the white hats here. We're taking all the risks, spending all the cash and suffering the casualties, while Iraqis walk around with thumbs firmly inserted in their collective anal orifice.
Let's start making examples. It's the only way that these "dead enders" (as Rumsfeld has called them) will get the message, and it's the only way to get the vast majority of Iraqis to mobilize for the betterment of their own society. What we have now is a rabble that mills around around like sheep sans shepherd, unwilling to take personal responsibility. It has to be made perfectly clear that a civilized, democratic society cannot be created or sustained without an involved, responsible citizenry. The first step in creating that responsible citizenry is to show them what happens when they don't get involved --- people die, property gets destroyed, local economies collapse. Brute force is apparently the only way to convey this message.
When enough Fallujah-style piles of rubble have been created, maybe the message will finally get through. Naturally, it follows that some ill-will gets created in the aftermath of such brutality, but could the situation actually get any worse? I doubt it.
Second point on the Matt Noto Plan to Civilize the Cradle of Civilization Plan calls for the United States to review it's defense commitments around the world through new lenses. One of the reasons we're having such a difficult time in Iraq is that there simply are not enough boots on the ground to cast a continuing shadow over the entire country. We're not going to be recruiting and training enough men (and yes,it has to be men to do this job) anytime soon, so we will have to make do with what we have. This means screw the Japanese, the Koreans and the Europeans, and move American troops from the Korean Peninsula, Okinawa, Germany and Kosovo. The Koreans and Japanese are perfectly capable of handling their own defense but our presance gives them an excuse not to (even while they complain bitterly about the presance of American forces and would scream louder if we actually left). Americans no longer have a reason to defend Germany --- NATO, in case no one noticed, was dead on or about September 12, 2001. That's when NATO invoked Article 5 of it's charter (an attack on one member is considered an attack on all) only to have it un-invoked by Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Norway (I believe) within 6 hours.
Germany should defend itself. Europe should defend itself. Again, the presance of the United States gives the EU a ready reason not to do so. Kosovo is a European problem that Europeans were singularly unable and unwilling to deal with. They should be forced to now. There is no major American interest to be served in keeping Serbs from slaughtering Muslims while we battle Muslims elsewhere.
Take those troops, already trained and equipped, ship them to Iraq and flood the streets with armed Americans, on a hair trigger and willing to engage in widespread destruction, and watch the "insurgency" melt away. While it fades, what pases for an Iraqi government should be working double time to ratify a constitution and a system of government, even if it means the Sunnis (or is it the Shiites?) don't want to be involved. Leave the door open to them, but by all means forge ahead with the job at hand. Being sensitive to other people's needs has never been a hallmark of Middle Eastern politics, why should it start now?
The kid gloves have to come off before this thing spirals out of control.