Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Top 10 Iraqi myths

Incredibly, given that everything they've advocated so far has failed, neo-conservative wankers like William Kristol and Frederick Kagan continue to advocate troop increases of 10,000 to 30,000 in order to somehow "win" the war in Iraq.

In an effort to clarify what the hell's going on with Iraq, middle-east expert and University of Michigan, Ann Arbor history professor Juan Cole has published his list of the top ten myths about the Iraq war.

His arguments are both incisive and compelling and should be read in full by anyone seeking a clear understanding of what's going on in Iraq, and why people like Kristol and Kagan are so full of shit.

But here, in brief, are the myths:

1. Myth number one is that the United States "can still win" in Iraq.
Cole's supporting reasoning is more thorough than mine, but let me ask: How can an outside power EVER win someone else's civli war?
2. "US military sweeps of neighborhoods can drive the guerrillas out."
The most ambitious escalation being considered is Kagan's 30,000 and 20,000 seems the most likely number. But as professor Cole points out, when we recently surged 15,000 troops into Baghdad the effect was actually an INCREASE in violence.

Cole estimates that would take a serious invasion force of half a million (a number, curiously, which corresponds to an estimate I gave a golf partner recently while discussing this very question) in order to completely pacify Iraq.

Ten, twenty, even thirty thousand additional troops only provide more American targets. And further piss off the locals.
3. The United States is best off throwing all its support behind the Iraqi Shiites.
4. "Iraq is not in a civil war," as Jurassic conservative Fox commentator Bill O'Reilly insists.
As I've long suspected, academic historians actually do have a formula for defining civil war. And Iraq has qualified since its first elections were held.
5. "The second Lancet study showing 600,000 excess deaths from political and criminal violence since the US invasion is somehow flawed."
BushCorp™'s ability to get this devastating study buried in the press has been one of its great spin success stories.
6. "Most deaths in Iraq are from bombings."
7. "Baghdad and environs are especially violent but the death rate is lower in the rest of the country."
8. "Iraq is the central front in the war on terror."
It boggles the mind that anyone even needs to point this out.
9. "The Sunni Arab guerrillas in places like Ramadi will follow the US home to the American mainland and commit terrorism if we leave Iraq."
10. "Setting a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq is a bad idea."
As I've been saying for over a year and a half, a timetable would be very helpful for all concerned.

Professor Cole's arguments are vastly superior to my paltry observations and should be read in full by anyone interested in informed debate (i.e. any wingnuts who accidently stumble by can skip them in favor of Fox "News" lastest set of talking points).

Every one else: Go. Read. Now.

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