Friday, November 2, 2007

Blackwater Highlights Bigger Issue In Iraq

The incident with the Blackwater Security Corporation in Iraq has been well documented. I certainly would not want to retrace the many stories detailing the charges and counter-charges. The Iraqis have completed their investigation and have concluded the attack against the civilians was unprovoked. The government of Iraq has asked the State Department to remove Blackwater from Iraq. It seems that the government of Iraq is tired of having its citizens being used for target practice for trigger happy mercs. This case and the findings of the Iraqi investigation brings up what I believe is the crux of the problem in Iraq. I think it is why the Iraqis have not worked harder at resolving their differences and trying to meet the benchmarks set up by the US.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The Iraqi investigation into last month's Blackwater USA shooting is complete, and it proves that the private contractors committed unprovoked and random killings in the incident, an adviser to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Tuesday.

Adviser Sami al-Askari told CNN al-Maliki has asked the U.S. State Department to "pull Blackwater out of Iraq."

Al-Askari said the United States is still waiting for the findings of the American investigation, but the Iraqi leader and most Iraqi officials are "completely satisfied" with the findings of their probe and are "insisting" that Blackwater leave the country.[1]

The fly in the ointment is sovereignty. The Bush Administration is big on talking about Iraqi sovereignty, but the truth of the matter is they don’t have any. This administration talks about how they are the guest of the Iraqi government and that government can request the US to leave at anytime, but this is false. Here is a government under occupation; they can’t even prosecute the random murders of 17 of their citizens. The government can’t kick the perpetrators out of the country and so they appear impotent and unable to protect their citizenry.

The government on the other hand refuses to honor any timetable placed upon them by the US. Their only form of protest is to delay reconciliation and prolong the conflict. So you have the government we put in place fighting against the aims of our government. What is rarely reported on by the US media is the pride of the Iraqi people, that pride has been repeatedly ravaged by our insensitivity to their culture, their women, and their religion.

The government of Prime Minister al-Maliki is caught between a rock and a hard place, on the one hand they have the Americans dictating that they must meet this goal or that and then they have their people who want and expect them to show independence from the occupiers. The next election, if we get that far will be a real eye opener for Washington whoever is President. I have a feeling the Iraqi people are going to send a clear message to Washington by electing a nationalistic candidate, a candidate who will distance himself from the US and demand the removal of US troops. By our refusal to allow the al-Maliki government the semblance of sovereignty we are setting the stage for the next radical leader to ascend to the throne. You cannot continue to stick your thumb into the eye of your host and not expect there to be a backlash.

The blowback of the Iraqi people will take the form of a conservative Islamic militant leader, who will play to the Iraqis desire to remove the US occupying army. The one thing most Iraqis agree upon, whether they are Sunnis or Shia is the desire to have the US troops gone. The next leader will campaign on the weakness of this government and its inability to rein in not only US troops, but US civilians as well. The rage of the Iraqi people is seething just below the surface and is never reported by the US press, so to most Americans the results will come as a surprise and they will view the Iraqis as ungrateful and uncivilized. Because of the lack of security the US press doesn’t have a real sense of the mood of the Iraqi people; it is pretty difficult to gauge the mood of the average Iraqi from behind the Green Zone barricades.

The problem with Iraq is even if we accomplish our goals, we still lose. Eventually the “warm welcome” we have received will turn sour and no matter how big or secure our embassy will be it won’t be able to withstand the will of the Iraqi people. Once again we will overplay our hand and overstay our welcome and the end will be worse than the beginning. Instead of having a secular government open to relations we will have a fanatical Islamist in power who will overturn all of our “progressive” agenda and return Iraq to another Middle Eastern theocracy. How’s that for a legacy Mr. Bush and your Neo-Con friends?


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