Perhaps the best reason to read the Washington Post
is coverage of politics, procedure and process. Sunday’s story on the clash of American bureaucracies and experts over government food distribution in Iraq
is a classic example of the intersection between politics and operations. The article is filled with bulldog determination by the Department of Commerce, countermeasures by the State Department and some great quotes and observations. My favorite is about the response to yet another proposal to eliminate food rations,
...officers convened a working group composed of representatives from the economic section, the planning office, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. military command and the State Department's Iraq Reconstruction and Management Office. No Iraqis were invited, according to the two embassy officials. (emphasis added)
My first thought is that Americans are making fundamental decisions about Iraq without involving the Iraqis. Nothing new there, actually. My second thought is “What the hell is the Commerce Department doing in Iraq?. I could have sworn that was mostly domestic US stuff.” Then I remember that this IS the CheneyBush Administration, where every action is designed to support the Leader’s “reality” in Iraq. Commerce may have some role in reconstruction, much of which involves economics and commerce, but the input should flow through the people who are on the ground and responsible for Iraq. Always trust the grunts, the ones whose lives are at risk, to understand the situation best. And you don’t want to be distracting them too much. They are fighting a real war. Once things improve–just ignore the steadily increasing violence and failed promises, CheneyBush surely has the right policy THIS time–then maybe, you can pursue your utopia for Iraq. Assuming that country will ever be safe for Americans in our lifetime.
At least the Iraqis invited the US to their international conference on security
. Not that Iraq could have ever initiated the conference without American acquiescence. Nor would they want to exclude the nation with the most destructive firepower in the region. It would be like ignoring Iran. Simply meeting together in one place is a visible reminder that Iraq is an international concern; many nations have a stake in this Great Game. No solution will be viable without the consensus and support of the nations represented in that room. I hope they keep talking. I hope they figure something out.
Because the United States is on hair trigger alert in the region. We have two carrier battle groups in the Persian Gulf, another in the region. American special forces are reported to be active in Iran. We accuse the Iranians of supporting Iraqi insurgents. I see all this and I think August 1914, when the Balkan match ignited World War I. I think August 1964 when American actions in North Vietnamese waters precipitated a minor incident that was the excuse for a war that should never have been fought.
Since Vietnam, I am wary of armed Americans. In combat we would explode firepower at anything that moved, maybe even call in gunships and airstrikes. It was a terrible violence we brought. It kept folks away from us, which I guess was good. I’ve seen Americans do the same thing in Iraq at check points, killing whole carloads of Iraqis with massed fire. I can only imagine what one of those carrier groups would do if it went off with the same hair trigger. With such a massive build-up and escalating rhetoric, the opportunities for an incident increase exponentially. Surprisingly, some Americans think war is still a good idea. The neo-cons who bungled Iraq so badly believe that attacking Iraq would strengthen America’s security. Why any of the rest of us who object to war and waste, listen to these armchair generals is beyond me. Two failed wars should be enough for any nation. Unfortunately, the man who controls the trigger to America’s terrible violence listens to these false prophets and his own private God.
That’s why the rest of the world must keep talking and stand down the bellicose rhetoric. That’s why Americans should stop listening to the warmongers and begin listening to the world.
Labels: hair triggers, iran, iraq