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News and opinions on situation in Iraq
    
1/4/06 
Why Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam … the Truth About Delay? …’
  

TMPress International Newswire

TMPress ™ – United News & Press Features

(TMPress International – New York – April 01, 2006) – Why Iraq is Bush’s Vietnam … the Truth About Delay? … In Vietnam … documents and tapes from the last years of the Nixon White House prove that a Nixon/Kissinger withdrawal strategy was developing in 1969, at a moment of secret White House realization of the acknowledged coming delayed defeat of South Vietnamese forces by the NVA and the VietCong – it was called and loosely labeled the `decent delay interval’ of 1969-73. It worked together in tandem with tactics of stepped-up B-52 bombing of North Vietnam, US military and CIA incursions into Cambodia and Laos … all while Nixon/Kissinger carried out `big power negotiations’ of detente with China and the USSR. This interlocked foreign and defense policy of Nixon and Kissinger worked to extricate the US from the Vietnam quagmire and also led to the SALT I treaties with the USSR and rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China – but at a very high cost indeed … almost 30,000 more US troop deaths in Vietnam. This is the very same strategy being employed by the Bush/Cheney White House … except they are trying to do it without high casualties of US troops … that is why we see US forces sparsely patrolling the streets of Baghdad and other major cities – `staying to the bases’ … while mainly ferrying a largely Iraqi Shiite Army into areas of Iraqi Sunni rebellion, like Anbar province. This is why the Pentagon and most US military commanders continue to talk about how the Iraqi Army is `almost ready’ to take care of this largely Sunni area of Iraq with heavy Sunni insurgency (but of course backed-up by US troops) … they also like to point out the heavy Iraqi Army casualty numbers vs. the US troops and its downward trend. It is in this time period when US forces will try and withdraw from the cities, while a low-level civil war begins to erupt in the largely blended areas of Sunni-Shiite control. The Kurds, generally have effective military supremacy of the North of Iraq … so that region will not probably suffer the fate of Central and Central-South Iraq … which is already turning into the `killing fields’ of religious ethnic cleansing.

   Here is a recent Op-ED from Gwynne Dyer, Arab News via MENAFN.com … she also notes the comparisons with Vietnam and they are striking – here is an exact extraction of her column … `We must cooperate and work together against this danger…of civil war,’ said Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani, but others think that the civil war has already arrived. At least 130 people, almost all of them Sunnis, were murdered in reprisal killings, and over a hundred Sunni mosques attacked, in the 24 hours after the destruction of the Al-Askariya shrine in Samarra, sacred to the Shiites, on Feb. 22. But it is not yet time to say that Iraq has slid irrevocably into civil war. The casualties of the sectarian violence in Iraq are already comparable to those in the Lebanese civil war — a couple of dozen killed on slow days, a hundred or so on the worst days — but Iraq has about eight times as many people as Lebanon, so there is still some distance to go. And Iraq may never go the full distance, because it is hard to hold a proper civil war unless the different ethnic or religious groups hold separate territories. The Kurds do, of course, and it is unlikely that the fighting will ever spread to the north of what now is Iraq, for Kurdistan is already effectively a separate country with its own army. The Kurds are currently allied with the Shiite Arab religious parties of southern Iraq who control politics in the Arabic-speaking eighty percent of Iraq, but even if that alliance broke the Shiites could not take back the north. The worst that might happen is ethnic cleansing around Kirkuk and its oil fields, where Saddam Hussein encouraged Arab settlement to erode Kurdish dominance of the area. Southern Iraq is already controlled by the militias of the Shiite religious parties, and has only a small minority of Sunnis. Baghdad and the `Sunni Triangle’ in central Iraq are the only potential battlegrounds of an Iraqi civil war, but even there it is hard to have a real civil war, because only one side has an army. The old, predominantly Sunni Arab army of Iraq was disbanded by Proconsul Paul Bremer soon after the American occupation of Iraq. The new army and police force being trained by the US forces are almost entirely Shiite (except in Kurdistan, where they are entirely Kurdish). Indeed, many of Iraq’s soldiers are members of existing Shiite and Kurdish militias who have been shifted onto the payroll of the state.

   So how can you have a civil war? All the Sunnis are capable of at the moment is guerrilla attacks and terrorism. Unless really substantial aid and reinforcements come in from other Arab countries, they are unlikely to be able to move beyond that. They can kill some American soldiers (they are currently accounting for about a thousand a year), and they can play a tit-for-tat game of kidnapping and murder with the Shiite militias and the Interior Ministry’s death squads, but they cannot really challenge Shiite control of Arab Iraq. Three years after the American invasion of Iraq, it’s possible to discern many of the final results of this `war of choice to install some democracy in the heart of the Arab world,’ as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman called it just before the invasion began.

   It is a study in unintended consequences, and a good argument for the rule that ideological crusaders must listen to the experts even though they know that their hearts are pure. Those consequences will include: The emergence of an independent Kurdish state in what used to be northern Iraq. The destruction of the old, secular Iraq, and the installation of a thinly disguised Shiite theocracy in the Arabic-speaking parts of the country. A perpetual, low-grade insurgency by the Sunni Arab minority against the Shiite state, but no change in their current desperate circumstances unless neighboring Arab states become involved. The destruction of the secular middle class in Arab Iraq. Most of these people are abandoning the country as fast as they can, for they know that all the future holds is Iranian-style social rules plus an unending Sunni insurgency. The extension of Iran’s power and influence to the borders of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

   The United States has handed Iraq to Iran on a plate. American troops will remain in Iraq for several years, probably right down to the November 2008 election, because it is impossible for the Bush administration to pull out without admitting a ghastly blunder. Too many people have died for `sorry’ to suffice. US troops stayed in Vietnam for five years after Richard Nixon was first elected in 1968 on a promise to find an `honorable way out,’ while Henry Kissinger searched for a formula that would separate US withdrawal from total defeat for its Vietnamese clients by a `decent interval’ of a couple of years. Two-thirds of all US casualties in Vietnam occurred during that period. We are probably going to go through that charade again, but it won’t change any of the outcomes. – 2006, by Gwynne Dyer, MENAFN.com and additional header Op-ED by John Osborne – Sr. Political Editor, TMPress International Newswire.
 
  2006 TMPress International Newswire. Please query MENAFN.com for reprint permission.
 
 Article Sources/Citations: `Iraq Invasion: A Study in Unintended Consequences,’ – www.menafn.com/qn_news_story_s.asp?StoryId=126970 – by Gwynne Dyer, Arab News, TMPress International, newswire services.
 
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