Iraq: An Eyewitness Political Analysis & A Political Nightmare
December 11, 2003 8:16 AM   Subscribe

Buying up Iraq and Moving Targets
sample paragraph from the first article:
Trying to rebuild a country, when you are policing its civilians and fighting an escalating guerilla war, is a daunting task at best but the United States has boxed itself into an impossible position. Having justified its war on Iraq as measure that would bring liberation and Western-style democracy to Iraq, it needs Iraq to conduct elections as a fig-leaf to justify its occupation and allow it to step away from the impossible task of governing what may now have become an ungovernable country. And, the Bush Administration wants the Iraqi elections to be held before the American presidential ones. But, the Iraqi political scene contains several irresolvable contradictions.
sample paragraph from the second article (within)
posted by y2karl (6 comments total)
One step the Pentagon took was to seek active and secret help in the war against the Iraqi insurgency from Israel, America’s closest ally in the Middle East. According to American and Israeli military and intelligence officials, Israeli commandos and intelligence units have been working closely with their American counterparts at the Special Forces training base at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and in Israel to help them prepare for operations in Iraq. Israeli commandos are expected to serve as ad-hoc advisers—again, in secret—when full-field operations begin. (Neither the Pentagon nor Israeli diplomats would comment. “No one wants to talk about this,” an Israeli official told me. “It’s incendiary. Both governments have decided at the highest level that it is in their interests to keep a low profile on U.S.-Israeli coöperation” on Iraq.) The critical issue, American and Israeli officials agree, is intelligence. There is much debate about whether targeting a large number of individuals is a practical—or politically effective—way to bring about stability in Iraq, especially given the frequent failure of American forces to obtain consistent and reliable information there.
posted by y2karl at 8:17 AM on December 11, 2003

Two words on the major escalation of Special Forces in Iraq: Death Squads
posted by ALvard at 8:39 AM on December 11, 2003

And here are another two paragraphs of Amal Winter's H-Net post from the first link:

There is every reason to expect that a truly democratically elected Iraqi government will insist on controlling its oil production and little reason to believe that the United States will allow Iraq to elect a truly representative government that would do so. But there is another fundamental contradiction between the Bush Administration's stated goals and the realities of the Middle East. A recent CIA report, submitted to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that U.S. policy vis--vis Israel is one of the primary reasons for negative feeling toward the U.S. in the region. The United States cannot tolerate Arab democracy at the national level because of its unilateral support of Israel's occupation of Palestine and no freely elected Arab government will support Israel against the Palestinians. If real democracy means letting people have a real voice in governing themselves, then there is little hope of this happening in any Arab state, including Iraq.

Was my work in Iraq worth anything? The IFES Pre Election Assessment certainly was. Modesty aside, the IFES assessment will become the international benchmark for similar projects. But I as far as the future of Iraq goes, I doubt it will it make a difference in the larger picture. The United States has its arms around a tar-baby. It cannot stay-without exacerbating the conditions, increasing the resistance-and it cannot leave without plunging the country into the chaotic violence characteristic of a failed state. While I believe the United States can endorse small civil institutions in Iraq such as those that advocate the national rights of women, improve health and education, and encourage local groups to participate in municipal efforts to improve daily existence it cannot allow the emergence of a true democracy at the national level.

posted by y2karl at 12:09 PM on December 11, 2003

The good news for Bush is that very few Americans actually care about the oft-mentioned "Iraqi people". The right found them a convenient reason to justify already-decided action, the left a cause to help tear down Bush.

In the end, most Americans will be satisfied by news reports that elections are going ahead, and that American troops are starting to come home. Few will bother to look deeply into the situation and see all the complexities, contradictions, etc.

The fact is that the country with the means to actually create a better world in Iraq and elsewhere has a citizenry that is horrendously ill-prepared to understand what is needed to accomplish those generally favored goals.
posted by cell divide at 12:18 PM on December 11, 2003

Photographer James Nachtwey, winner of the Robert Capa Gold Medal, of the World Press Photo Award and Magazine Photographer of the Year, has been wounded in Baghdad
He is listed in "stable condition" and awaiting transfer to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany.
TIME magazine senior correspondent Michael Weisskopf has been wounded as well.

For the mefites who don't follow photography much, -- Nachtwey is photojournalism's Michael Jordan
posted by matteo at 12:30 PM on December 11, 2003

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