Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Arming the Good Side

After ABC's recent broadcast of Pentagon news that IEDs were coming in from Iran and arming the insurgency, tightie righties were propounding a call to arms and invasion. This, they declared, was an act of War. Time to invade, they admonished, apparently ignorant of an obvious inability by US forces to actually do any such thing.

I wonder how they must view this:
The United States faces the possibility that it has been arming one side in a prospective civil war.
A civil war in which more American troops, caught in the middle, will surely die. Could this be viewed as an act of war against our own troops? Now that Iraqi forces are dominated by sectarian interests, fueling one sect at the expense of the others has led to inflamed violence, with various untoward outcomes resultant from a misguided notion toward the "Salvadoran option."
Now, the police forces are overseen at the highest levels by religious Shiite parties with militias, and reports of uniformed death squads have risen sharply in the past year.
Ahh, death squads. They were a favourite in the Reagan glory days. So much so, the Pentagon considered them a solution yet again to the growing resistance in Iraq:
one Pentagon proposal would send Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, most likely hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shiite militiamen, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers....
So aware of the intensifying problems introduced by their own "plan," now the US military is trying to undo what they had so inadvisably considered -- and apparently started -- those many months ago:
The American military is trying an array of possible solutions, including quotas to increase the number of Sunni Arab recruits in police academies, firing Shiite police commanders who appear to tolerate militias, and sending 200 training teams composed of military police officers or former civilian police officers to Iraqi stations, even in remote and risky locations.
Originally, the Iraqi death squads were expected to be Peshmerga or Shiites armed to take down what was then strongly believed to be a Sunni insurgency. Now, the military finds itself in the position of trying to undo what it initialised a year ago. Unfortunately, Iraq does not come equiped with a rewind button.

As with all ill-conceived solutions based upon escalating violence in order to quell violence, the unintended consequences have spun out of control and with those, the country itself. Of course, at the time, administration leaders truly believed, just as they had in El Salvador, that they were arming the "good guys." Surely, the rest would take care of itself. Indeed, it has.


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