Time Is Not On Our Side

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Common Dreams

Time Is Not On Our Side

It doesn't take the world's greatest prognosticator to predict that Iraq's future is indeed ominous. Most people with half a brain or a shred of common sense can view the current situation in Iraq and conclude that George W. Bush's dream for Iraq/transforming the Middle East will never be a reality.

Even before the invasion and occupation of Iraq, the arrogance and incompetence of the Bush administration put us and the Iraqi people on a path to failure.

General Eric Shinseki's educated military opinion regarding post-invasion operations in Iraq were totally dismissed by charlatans, such as Rummy and Wolfowitz.

At the time, our fearless Commander In Chief was still very impressionable and quite susceptible to peer pressure from neoconservative intellectual ideologues whom he empowered solely for the purpose of carrying out this tragic agenda that was in the works prior to Bush even taking office.

Now our military, their families, and the Iraqi people are left with the horrific aftermath.

It came as no surprise to me that violence skyrocketed in Iraq over the past few days. It was all just a tragic inevitability.

Even with surge forces implemented we are still nowhere near an adequate "peace-keeper to population" force ratio of 50:1 that would be necessary to pacify Iraq. In addition, counter-insurgency operations, such as the one we are pursuing, take a minimal of 10 years to successfully complete -- according to General Petraeus.

(This violence may very well be quelled within the next few days. But will it pop up again? Surely).

The desired force needed (according to my uneducated guess) would consist of approximately 1.5 million troops. 500,000 on the ground, 500,000 stateside ready to go, and 500,000 resting for the next deployment. We do not have these troop levels to deploy in such a rapid manner and that is why this surge is absolutely not sustainable.

I clearly understood this when I got my crash course in counter-insurgency 101 walking the streets of Baghdad from 2003-2004 with a bulls-eye on my back.

After an attack, the so-called "bad guys" always ran to a geographical area that we didn't have the manpower to cover. Instead, we would end up shaking down some poor Iraqi man in front of his family just because he lived in the same area where the attack took place.

Did it ever occur to the Bush administration that the Iraqi people won't ever buy what we are selling? I'm not talking about insurgents in onezees or twozees carrying an RPG or planting an IED -- that is all par for the course considering the environment in Iraq.

Most telling for me are the tens of thousands of Shiites who are violently reacting to the Iraqi government's decision to take a somewhat moderate position in dealing with Shiite militias in the same manner that they deal with the Sunnis.

The Mahdi army is now battling Iraqi security forces, while our president continues to tell the American people that this is all the work of Al-Qaeda, not a civil war.

Come on -- if Muqtada al-Sadr got word that Bin Laden was in Iraq, chances are that he would have him killed in a heartbeat. In my mind, this backs up my point that this is not Al-Qaeda. Instead, it is the Iraqi people who have not, will not, and will never conform to the Bush administration's "grand plan" for Iraq that he hoped would have resulted in the United States dominating Mideast policy.

My guess is that Bush knows this quite well. However, he is just prolonging this charade long enough for him to leave office next year. Then when it blows up, he can blame it on the new administration.

Next week Congress will resume from their recess. Shortly afterward we will hear once again from General Petraeus. Then Congress will be tasked with approving the remainder of the FY 08 supplemental that would provide an additional $105 billion in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is likely to be the final war funding showdown between President Bush and Congress.

What does that mean for the American people who have been fighting for years to bring an end to this needless war? It our last real chance to lobby our members of Congress not to provide President Bush with any "blank check" funding under any circumstance. Please call your Representative's office, write to your local newspaper, organize a Town Hall meeting, conduct a demonstration -- all in an effort to let your member of Congress know that they still have a responsibility to deliver on the promise they made in 2006 to change course in Iraq. Furthermore, make sure they know we have not forgotten, and remind them that November is rapidly approaching.

John Bruhns

John Bruhns is an Iraq war veteran and writer. Bruhns had a cameo role in Finding Our Voices, a documentary exploring the American anti-war movement.

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