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The issue of trust
Those who read this story in The Bandar Beacon
(Washington Post) with care will note how revealing it is. For this article tells us a great deal about the fatuity, the waste, and the danger unfairly imposed on American soldiers and Marines, by an Administration both too obstinate (in sticking to a policy that squanders resources and prevents the intelligent exploitation of divisions within Islam, so obviously present in Iraq, and encouragable outside Iraq), and too ignorant (how many people in the Pentagon, or in the State Department, are worrying about the islamization of Western Europe, and its military, political, and civilizational consequences? And how many of them are permitted to connect that theatre of the Jihad with the one in Iraq, and to comprehend how trivial Iraq really is, except possibly as a way to encourage Sunni-Shi'a and Arab-non-Arab Muslim divisions?
Below are some excerpts from the full story, and commentary just below each
"There's two kinds of Iraqis here, the ones who help us and the ones who shoot us, and there's an awful lot of 'em doing both," said Hoover, 26, of Newark, Ohio. "Is it frustrating? Yes, it's frustrating. But we can't just stop working with them."
Why not? Because he, that soldier, has not been permitted even to think such things. American soldiers have had dinned into them that they cannot possibly leave Iraq because then it might lead to "civil war" and "instability" and that, of course, would be a "bad thing." Why? Oh, because it would. Just the way the Iran-Iraq War was a bad thing, presumably, for Infidels. Poor, misinformed soldiers - deliberately misinformed, deliberately kept ignorant of Islam, or the ways in which, if the enemy were properly defined, one would come to understand that leaving Iraq, and exploiting its internal fissures, both sectarian and ethnic, make the best and only sense]
"In some places they hide the fact that they don't like you. They don't hide it here," said Hutson, who stops by his base's medical station periodically for a shot of Toradol to soothe a shoulder injured when his vehicle flipped during one of the attacks.
Comment: so this officer has after fighting with, and beside, Arab Muslims in Iraq, and had contact with all kinds of civilians, has realistically concluded that there are two kinds: the kind of Iraqis who show you that they hate you, and the kind who hide the fact that they hate you.
"It sounds strange, but more police have been killed lately, which means some of them are finally doing their job," one American officer here said."
Almost all recruits to the "Iraqi" army and "Iraqi" police are doing it not to "save" Iraq but to make money; there is no large "Iraqi" patriotic impulse, much as American government propaganda tries to create it, or to convince us that it exists.
Horton said he gives Iraqi officers just minutes' notice when bringing them on a mission, and never tells them exactly where they will be going to prevent them from tipping off insurgents."
The American officer (Horton) doesn't tell them because, based on previous betrayals of American forces, including information about the routes convoys will take to those setting I.E.D.'s, he doesn't trust them. And shouldn't - not now, not ever.
"I've seen them laughing when we come back in with a vehicle destroyed by a bomb," he said. "I've seen them stand 10 feet away and do nothing but watch when we are in the middle of a firefight."
So these "Iraqi allies" laugh at the sight of a destroyed American vehicle, and no doubt find equally hilarious the dead American soldiers - American soldiers who are being kept in Iraq to somehow make something of nothing, for people who hate or at best dislike them. The Americans are being asked to create, by their own willfully blind government, a nation-state out of a collection of warring ethnic and sectarian groups, a nation-state that will somehow be a model for all the other Arab states. Those states, either Sunni-dominated or Sunni-ruled (except for the Ibadis so prominent in Oman, and the Alawite military caste that rules in Syria), or both, cannot possibly look with favor, much less model themselves on, an "Iraq" in which Sunni dominance has been transferred to the Shi'a]
" Over sweet tea in a grubby police station at the center of Hawijah last week, the station commander, Maj. Ghazey Ahmed Khalif, assured Horton and his team that things were quiet in town that day. But when Horton asked some Iraqi officers to accompany him on a drive through town, Khalif discreetly whispered something into a translator's ear."
"All of a sudden he remembers he got a tip about an IED," said Horton, using the military acronym for improvised explosive device, or roadside bomb. "If we hadn't asked his guys to come, put them at risk, no way he tells us about that."
Our Iraqi allies. Our loyal Iraqi allies. Our loyal and staunch Iraqi allies. The ones American soldiers are being asked to lay down their lives for.
"Soldiers working with the Iraqi army here report similar problems. Iraqi soldiers have been reprimanded for selling their government-issued ammunition in local gun markets and for hocking their boots, only to turn up for duty in leather loafers."
"Before a highway patrol to search for roadside bombs last week, an Iraqi unit accompanying U.S. soldiers refused to ride in American Humvees, which provide far better protection from bomb attacks than the unarmored pickup trucks normally used by Iraqi forces."
"Shaking his head and staring at the ground, Sgt. Ghazi Esa Muhammad, 25, explained that a local cleric had decreed that Iraqis killed in an "occupier vehicle" would not go to heaven.
"Tell your guys, if they refuse to ride in the Humvees, they will go to jail for 10 days. It's not a choice," said Lt. Aaron Tapalman, 23, the patrol leader. "They want to be able to claim they are not associated with us," said Tapalman, after the Iraqi sergeant relented and told his men to mount up"
"About an hour later, the patrol came across a white bag on the roadside that Tapalman suspected might contain a bomb. When he asked some Iraqi soldiers to move it off the road, their commander balked, saying it wasn't his job.
"It is your job to protect the people," Tapalman said, increasingly exasperated. "I can go and move it myself, and you know what? I will, but don't you think your people should see you doing that kind of stuff. Someday we're not going to be here anymore." The Iraqi soldier declined again, apologetically, and drove away."
Let the Americans risk their lives The Americans said they were here to help us. Well, then they're the ones who should risk their lives removing explosive devices. Why should we? Hell, it's not our country, this Iraq. We're Sunni Arabs and Shi'a Arabs and Kurds. We're not risking our lives for "Iraq." The Americans can do that.
Remaining in Iraq squanders every kind of resource: men, money, material, military morale and civilian willingness to engage in measures necessary to check the Jihad to spread Islam, and furthermore, it distracts from other matters, not only Iran (where the presence of American troops as hostages to Iranian retaliation gets in the way), but most importantly, the subject of Europe's islamization, with the military, political, even civilizational catastrophe that that would bring.
Stories such as those above show how dangerous and foolish it is to force American officers and men to work with, to train, to fight alongside or attempt to, those who do not wish you well, who wish you ill, who have given every visible sign of wishing you ill. There is no "Iraqi" patriotism. There is potential and actual betrayal and treachery, of the Americans, by those to whom they have done nothing, and whom they have tried to help, in removing a despot, in spending tens of billions in aid (and hundreds of billions to conduct the whole operation). To remain in Iraq will simply mean a further waste of American lives, vast amounts of American money (that could have been spent on energy projects -- $400 billion might have gone a long way to ending the oil wherewithal that has made the Jihad go from theoretically potential to practically possible), materiel, everything.
And those who have failed to criticize the Iraq policy for being such a squandering, in precisely the manner, and for the reasons given here during more than two years, are also to be blamed. For they, unable to conceive of the Jihad as the enemy, and willing to abide by those foolish phrases such as "a war on terror," have been unable to come up with any criticism of the Administration that makes sense.
They deserve each other. The leaders of the United States, and of the rest of the Western world, with a few remarkable exceptions, have been weighed in the balance, and found wanting.