Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Insurgency in Iraq

This is a follow on from the previous post, US Military Power.
Today the new Iraqi parliament met for the first time. There is still no agreement on the formation of a new Iraqi government;
Iraq MPs sworn in amid deadlock, BBC News

As I write this the Iraq Body Count website reports that there have been a minimum of 16,389 civilians killed since the start of the military intervention. This figure includes those killed by insurgents and those killed by US and other military forces. The insurgency shows no sign of abating and the death toll of Iraqi civilians is likely to keep rising. The coalition have made a number of pronouncements on the subject of the insurgency. I will paraphrase those which I remember.
1 The insurgency will lose support now that Saddam's sons have been killed.
2 The insurgency will die down when sovereignty is handed to the Iraqi interim government.
3 The insurgency will be quelled now that Saddam has been captured.
4 The insurgency will be defeated when the Iraqi elections are held in January 2005.

The sad truth is that fight against the insurgents shows no sign of coming to a conclusion. Suicide bombers are attacking in Iraq at a rate which is entirely unprecedented. I find it difficult to see how the insurgency can be defeated, especially given the extremely blunt ways in which the US military applies it's power. This is why I would like to see a timetable for the withdrawal of US and other foreign troops in Iraq.

My own opinion is that Mr Bush and his administration are the main cause of the death toll in Iraq. This is not to say that I supported the regime of Saddam Hussein. I just don't believe that the welfare of Iraqi's was, or is, high on the list of priorities for the US government. The haste with which the invasion was launched seems to indicate that there were other issues at stake. I do not believe that one of those issues was the threat from WMD. I certainly don't believe, as many Americans apparently still do, that Saddam had any links to Al Queda. As has been well documented, the two detested each other.

To conclude this post I would like to quote some of the words of warning Colin Powell gave to Mr Bush before the start of the invasion.
"You will become the government until you get a new government. You are going to be the pround owner of 25 million people. You will own all their hopes, aspirations and problems. You'll own it all."
(Colin Powell cited by Bob Woodward, Plan of Attack, Ch14, p150.)

Mr Woodward says that Powell privately called it the Pottery Barn rule: You break it, you own it. Two years after the invasion and with over 16,000 civilians killed it is undoubtedly true that the Bush regime has broken Iraq. It is difficult to see how they can mend it.

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