Monday, September 24, 2007

Patraeus or Betray Us?

Regular readers might remember an earlier blog in which I asserted that we ought to keep an eye on Basra because the British pull-out set up a test case for an American withdrawal.

This week-end I saw a report from David Enders whose work is being published by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting which has funded a project in which Enders, working with Richard Rowley, will produce a photojournalistic report on the state progress in Iraq. Enders appears to me have taken an in-depth look at the situation in Iraq in general, but one question focused on Basra specifically. He traveled there especially to assess the present state of security since the British withdrawal. So what did he find?

His visit was sanctioned and hosted by the governor of the region. Although Enders’ focus is photojournalism, he got no pictures because he was unable to go outside the governor’s house for the entire four days he was there. It was too dangerous to be on any street in Basra. In fact, he said, it was also too dangerous to film in Baghdad.

His overall picture of the state of the union in Iraq, in spite of U.S. reports – notably that of General Patraeus – was dismal. Asked what he expected the situation to be like in six months he said, “More of the same.” He felt this way, he said, because what he saw was militias fighting for control of whatever resources remain. He asserted that the central government had little control over anything. Instead, splintered sects control whatever they can win from other sects.

To top all this off, the U.S. is fanning the flames by arming any sect that will fight along side our troops. Since those fights shift from fighting with one sect to another based on which is in ascendancy in the fight for resources, we end up arming everybody. The picture he painted was one of insanity. Complete breakdown of central authority in Iraq exacerbated by American arms being handed out like candy.

In the meantime, the U.S. Congress has failed to act in any way to curb the BushCo expansion of this insane war. In fact, the strongest piece of legislation they produced last week was a condemnation of for placing an ad that called General Patraeus “General Betray Us”. Given the contrast between what Enders reported and what Patraeus says, I’d say that MoveOn wasn’t off base at all.

As long as the American a people continue to believe that problems can be solved by breaking out the six-shooters, we and the world will be faced with the kind of insanity our Congress continues to support in Iraq. It will be our children and grandchildren who pay the ultimate price for our blind support for BushCo’s attack on the Middle East. Hopefully something will stop them from taking us into war with Iran, but there are no good signs of that. Please help your neighbors to understand how that would devastate us, let alone the Middle East.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -- M. K. Gandhi

Individually we have little voice. Collectively we cannot be ignored.
But in silence we surrender our power. Yours in Peace -- BR

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