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There are bodies everywhere now . . . November 26, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Iraq.

There can no longer be any doubt that the situation in Iraq has spiraled completely out of control. In October alone the United Nations calculated that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed. U.S. troops continue to die. Our troops are being shot at from all sides. Protecting one group one day and being shot at by them the next. Civil war is the only applicable term to describe the current situation. Powerful Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr commands the Mahdi Army, a band of Shiite militiamen, their stronghold is the Baghdad slum of Sadr City, home to approximately 2 million souls. This is the nightmare scenario that no war planner wanted to see: American troops stuck in the middle of a brutal civil war between Shia and Sunni militants on the streets of Iraq.

Fundamental missteps by the United States provided the backdrop for the escalation of this conflict. The inability to recognize the realities of the Iraqi street. Flawed war planning from the word go. I think of an editorial cartoon in today’s Trib, we could’ve known, of course we could have. Our brazen leaders walked us into a hornet’s nest without even realizing what they were doing until it was too late. The idea of victory seems impossible now, the United States badly needs an out in Iraq and polls show that the majority of Iraqis badly want us out.

The news is continually grim. Bodies turning up all over Baghdad. Immolated. Drill holes in knees, stomachs and heads. Americans missing. Roadside bombs. Car bombs. Suicide bombs. Death squads. Countless murderers and murdered.

So now we are right where we never wanted to be thanks to the short sighted invasion executed by a terribly out of touch U.S. administration. Some, such as McCain, are advocating more troops, up to 20,000. More troops won’t help. Putting more bodies between the warring factions of Iraq will serve only to increase American casaulties. What America needs is a clear and concise exit plan. A way to get out of the mess we created and ideally an exit with some sense of American dignity preserved. Trickier, is how to do that. Negotiations seemed feasible at one time. But with all out civil war raging on the Iraqi street that seems an unlikely scenario. There has been talk of a regional summit on Iraq of sorts, involving the United States, Iran and Syria. Although, just how much influence any negotiations with Syria or Iran would be in Iraq is a matter of varying opinion. Sadr’s militia, it appears, receives little if any assistance from Iran, beyond some roadside bomb technology in the early phases of the war. Not to mention both nations are considered state sponsors of terrorism by the U.S. State Department. Iran, part of Bush’s so called Axis of Evil, is in the midst of crisis with the international community concerning its nuclear ambitions. All of this adds up to making the negotiations like trying to seal a business deal with the person whom you just spent fifteen minutes insulting.

If more troops and regional negotiations won’t work, then what, praytell, will?

I’d like to say I knew. I wish someone knew. Likely, someone does. Whether that someone is in any position to effect change is a whole other question. Based on this administration’s track record in Iraq I am guessing that any person who may have been in a position to do just that has long since been “downsized.” Personally, I think that no matter the fix used, America will have to leave Iraq to its destiny. Be it today, tomorrow or ten years from now, American pride cannot simply sustain the burden of this war (both financially and emotionally) for an indefinite period. I ask, who will be the last American to come home in a flag draped casket for a mistake? If it has to be, I would rather have 3,000 die in vain than have 10,000 die in vain.

Regardless, everyone can get a little more edumacated with some further reading. Update: (11-27-06) More links follow in the comments concerning George McGovern’s plan for leaving Iraq.

Sword of the Shia (Newsweek)
The Next Step? Think Vietnam (Newsweek) by Fareed Zakaria
See what the New York Times is publishing about Iraq.
What Iraqis Think: polls, reports and blogs out of Iraq.


1. yinn - November 27, 2006

How about adding a link to George McGovern’s plan? I think the article, an excerpt from his book, is in the latest Harper’s. He & his co-author say get the heck out, dismantle all the bases (including the so-called embassy we’re building) & instead of trying to use the U.N., draw personnel from other Muslim countries to stabilize the situation. Use Iraqi contractors to rebuild & to detox the place. Pay for everything through a third party–they put a price tag on each project & of course it’s much less than the current insanity.

2. dr. gonzo - November 27, 2006

Roger that.

Here’s what I got:

The Way Out of War (Harper’s Magazine) By George McGovern and William R. Polk
McGovern on Iraq: Withdraw in 6 Months (NPR interview, audio)
Should the U.S. Get Out of Iraq? (NY Public Radio debate, audio)

And yeah, if you want the book by McGovern and Polk, get it here.

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