Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Solutions?

In speaking political
We tend to be critical
And point out the faults
Of an engine that halts
Rather than praise
The sunnier days
Yet meaning no harm
To the Animal Farm
We’ll put into print
The broadest of hints
On how to confess
And clean up the mess

A few days ago, Brad, a Republican friend of mine reminded me that anybody can cite the wrongs of this administration, but that the responsible thing is to provide solutions. I responded that many of my past essays offered solutions, so I offer this installment. There are too many suggestions to fit into this essay, but I can begin.

In the classic 12-step recovery process, or any serious change approach, a person first has to admit to a problem. Only when Bush admits that he forced the intelligence, instead of shifting the blame to the intelligence community and then awarding a medal to George Tenet, will he will be on the first step to recovery. Until then, it is more of the same BS (Bush Shift). He also needs to admit that the planning to get into the war in Iraq was mainly a Public Relations plan and not a War plan. We went in with too few troops and did not have the troop skill mix or the allied participation to secure the peace or provide basic security. By firing all of the Iraqi Army and dismantling the economy, he immediately put most Iraqi adults out of work and he single-handedly created the very insurgency that we warned against. Instead of hiring Cheney’s Halliburton, Bush should have hired Iraqis who needed the work and might feel enough Iraqi pride to defend the oil production and the water supply and the power generation. Instead, we have some highly paid US managers supervising the cheapest non-Iraqi labor they could find. Halliburton and the Outsorcery are there to make money, not to solve Iraqi problems or share the Iraqi wealth with Iraqis. They have lifetime passes on the no-bid gravy train and have no motivation to leave Iraq.

The PR plan continued with the dog and pony show of “Mission Accomplished” and even the tearing down of Saddam’s statue. The latter, choreographed by our troops, was made to look like an Iraqi event. It fooled many Americans but did not get by the Iraqis. An aerial photograph of the scene shows just how poorly attended and how phony the event was. Meanwhile, Bush, Cheney and Rice boldly state that we do not torture while saying that we need the flexibility to do so. Cheney states that the insurgency is in its last throes while Rumsfeld states that there is no insurgency at all. The troops on the ground know better. The Iraqis on the ground know better. Even the timid US press has begun to question the spin. In the last few weeks, we found that the administration paid at least $300 million (outsourced to the Lincoln Group) to plant stories in the Iraqi press. If this were a PR war and not a real war, then our casualties would be generated from paper cuts instead of IED trauma. They have it wrong and need to make it right. How can we fight an insurgency if we do not admit that it exists? The way to fix that is to stop the BS and move Iraqi soldiers and police out of Iraq to train them thoroughly and re-insert them as trained units with leadership that may include some Baathists who have experience and can be trusted. Competence counts. Cronyism kills in Baghdad as well as in New Orleans. Incompetence punishes the brave for loyal service.

The Iraqi flag needs to be everywhere in Iraq instead of factional symbols and we need to separate the scores of militias from Iran and their Taliban South government. We set up conditions for a Shiite theocracy by pushing for elections and knowing demographics of the electorate. Shiites rule. Women had considerable freedom in a secular Iraq. They will be in abayas soon and could be in burkhas before we depart Iraq. No amount of PR will change that. We have created Theocracy through Hypocrisy by hiring convicted embezzlers like Ahmed Chalabi (simultaneously aligned with Cheney and Iran). Bush has now used the NSA to spy on Americans in showing Iraqis that laws are meaningless and that only power has meaning. I think that Iraqis knew that. They were taught by Saddam. Brad, you may not like the answer, but the only way for us to break even is to undo the harm done to Iraq and ourselves. End the hypocrisy and heal the body and soul of both nations.

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