Thursday, September 13, 2007

Send Us Your Tired…

Will we ever get the truth about Iraq?

WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 — The number of detainees held by the American-led military coalition in Iraq has swelled by 50 percent under the troop increase ordered by President Bush, with the inmate population growing from 16,000 in February to 24,500 today, according to American military officers in Iraq.

Nearly 85 percent of the detainees in custody are Sunni Arabs, the minority faction in Iraq that ruled the country under the government of Saddam Hussein, with the other detainees being Shiite Muslims, the officers say.

Of the Sunni detainees, about 1,800 claim allegiance to a group that calls itself Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, military officers said. Another 6,000 identify themselves as takfiris, meaning Muslims who believe some other Muslims are not true believers. Such extremists view Shiite Muslims as heretics.[1]

It looks like our solution to the insurgency is to lock everybody up, as the number of detainees’ increase I think that the warm welcome we have received so far from the Iraqi people will dissipate rather quickly with this news. I find it hard to believe that the only people fighting our troops are the Sunnis, yet they are the majority of the detainee population.

If I didn’t know any better I would make the assumption that we are being the pawns of the Shia majority in rounding up those Sunni troublemakers. While I have no doubt that many of those incarcerated are who they are reported to be, it has been my experience that there are many who are not. Whenever you have military personnel doing policing maneuvers there is always the potential of innocents being included in the roundups. The reason this is important is that there is no true civil court system in place in Iraq and I believe many of those rounded up are turned over to the Iraqi police, who we have documented are rife with sectarianism. This will inevitably lead to torture and abuse for a lot of innocent Sunnis, which in turn will fuel more sectarian violence. It is easy to see how this civil war will continue to feed itself regardless of if we are in the middle or not.

There’s one other thing this administration has neglected to disclose. The majority of detainees’ are not al Qaeda foreign fighters, but in fact Iraqis.

“Interestingly, we’ve found that the vast majority are not inspired by jihad or hate for the coalition or Iraqi government — the vast majority are inspired by money,” said Capt. John Fleming of the Navy, who is spokesman for coalition detainee operations in Iraq.

“The primary motivator is economic — they’re angry men because they don’t have jobs,” he said. “The detainee population is overwhelmingly illiterate and unemployed. Extremists have been very successful at spreading their ideology to economically strapped Iraqis with little to no formal education.”[2]

Not only are they Iraqis, but they are resisting the occupation not on philosophical grounds, nationalist principles, or killing the infidels although I am sure these things play a role. The main reason is money. The majority of insurgents are just poor Iraqis trying to make a buck and their best option, to try and kill Americans. This free the Iraqis from oppression gets better by the day, you couldn’t make this stuff up. We have created the conditions where the best source of some quick cash is planting roadside devices targeted at US troops, is capitalism great or what?

How can we expect our military to combat this? We have placed them in an untenable position that we cannot get them out of, I guess no one in this administration has ever heard of the Powell Doctrine. The more people we detain, the more insurgents we create, the more insurgents we create, the more people we have to detain. This can go on to infinity. No matter how you process this war, it does not end well. There will be no clean break; there will be no victory parades. We just keep digging a bigger and bigger hole. And the best rationale we have for continuing is we don’t want another Vietnam?

The foreign policy wonks still don’t understand how much economics fuel the wars we are prosecuting. Whether it is the poor farmers in Afghanistan harvesting opium or in Columbia harvesting coca in our drug war or the poor Iraqi insurgents trying to survive in our war on terrorism, economics is a driving force. Of course to acknowledge such a fact would remove the smoke screen used to continue these unpopular and ineffective policies. It’s a war of cultures sells better than, it’s a war of the haves versus the have nots.

So send us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free and we will imprison them and label them terrorists. Once they’ve been labeled, then we can do what we want to them; they’re terrorists stupid.

[2] Ibid.

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