Who are we training the Iraqis to defend against?
Ever since I began publishing this blog in February 2005 I have argued that the invasion of Iraq was the biggest foreign policy blunder in American history. I hesitate to sound like a broken clock, but here I go again.
Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, despite the manipulated use of intelligence data that the Bush Admistration used to justify the war. Although Vice-President Cheney still insists it is so, there was no link between Iraq and Al Qaeda's 9/11 attack, and Saddam's evil regime was not exporting terrorism to foreign territory. It was too busy brutalizing its own population, particularly the Shiites and Kurds.
There is no logic to the Administration's belated objective to introduce democracy--an alien concept--to Iraq. The regional culture there is authoritarian, and what may be desirable to Americans is not necessarily what Muslim societies want. The biggest beneficiary of the Iraq invasion has been neighboring Iran, an anti-American nation that has become a major player in Iraq and a more dangerous source of Islamist terrorism.
Now Iraq is sinking further and further into chaos and violence. Last month the number of roadside bombs planted was the highest total of the war. The anti-American insurgency has continued to strengthen, and both American military and Iraqi civilian casualties are soaring.
Yet President Bush appears isolated from the real world. He and his top advisers boast about "how much progress we're making" in Iraq. They argue simplistically about the need to "stay the course," and warn against the danger of "cutting and running."
The Administration's current goal, it says, is to train and prepare the Iraqi government to defend itself. The big question is: defend itself against whom? No foreign enemy threatens Iraq.
While Washington debates whether a genuine civil war exists in Iraq, the local militias are busy battling each other, often with the involvement of the very military and police forces that we are training and equipping.
In short, the U.S. is caught in the middle. It is time for us to get out because we are weakening ourselves to fight the legitimate war against terrorism.