The Drive to Nowhere

As part of the Bush “surge” American forces are pushing forward north of Baghdad in order to drive al-Qaida from their stronghold in Baquoda. General Mick Bednarek, who head the troops, says that at present Iraq army units,”They’re not quite up to the job yet.” The Iraq army has 159,000 and he believes they need at least 20,000 more troops.

The current drive ignores historic processes of dealing with insurgents. A study of any counter-insurgent effort reveals the need to combine economic and social components with military. One needs troops who believe in what is being done, but it is apparent the current Iraq army lacks that attitude. Back in the 2004 election, George Bush boasted in his debates with John Kerry that over 150,000 Iraq soldiers had been trained and would soon take over military operations. That statement was made three years before his current comment about the need for a “surge” which would give time for Iraq soldiers to be trained.

There is no one “solution” to the Iraq debacle. But, diplomatic efforts can play a part in moving toward a solution. The US has to engage Syria and Iran in peace efforts. General Bednarek’s statement that Iraq units “lack ammunition” is fascinating considering the US military budget is greater than all other military budgets put together. The lack of ammunition is connected to the lack of will. The people of Iraq must first create a viable government which offers hope for all.