Why We Fight. No, Seriously, Why?
While the continued attempted attacks by random, unskilled and technologically illiterate nuts in the UK put the lie to the whole "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them over here" nonsense, some additional information is calling into question just why we are fighting over there in the first place. According to soon-to-be-axed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace, success in Iraq means "the Iraqi people feel a little bit better today than they did yesterday." Shit, if that's the case, give them increasing levels of Swedish fish and Nerds candy every day and let's declare victory!
But truly, the fight in Iraq, against al-Qaeda, because everyone in Iraq who isn't our bestest buddy is al-Qaeda, even though the evidence shows that al-Qaeda isn't all that involved with the violence... where was I? Oh yeah, we're supposed to be fighting there to create "breathing space" for a political solution. Except that political solution isn't forthcoming, and since the surge things on the political track have gotten worse.
Iraq Sunnis to boycott government
Iraq's main Sunni Arab bloc has said it will boycott government meetings because of legal steps being taken against one of its ministers.
The Iraqi Accord Front (IAF) has six ministers, and its move is seen as a blow to the Shia-led cabinet as it tries to reconcile the two communities.
Earlier this week, an arrest warrant was issued for Culture Minister Asaad Kamal al-Hashemi, an IAF member.
The case concerns the killing of two sons of a Sunni politician in 2005.
IAF head Adnan al-Dulaimi told the BBC that the bloc's ministers would continue their work apart from the cabinet meetings.
al-Hashemi is accused of carrying out murders on other Parliamentarians. When the government tried to hold him accountable, the Sunni bloc boycotted government meetings. That should give you a picture of how well that "breathing space" is serving the Iraq government.
Meanwhile, while everyone talks about Gen. Petraeus' report in September, the report from US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker is arguably more important, since it provides the basis for the escalation in the first place. Crocker will be reporting on this tattered political situation in Iraq, and early indications are it won't be promising:
Some recent comments Crocker made to a reporter that have gone almost entirely unnoticed suggest that he is on the verge of concluding in his report that the Iraqi political scene is flatlining and that there's really no hope for political reconciliation. And if he does say this come September, it would likely undercut Petraeus's expected plea for more time to prosecute the surge. It would also give antiwar critics much more ammo to pressure wavering Republicans in Congress into abandoning Bush and the war [...]
When (Joe) Klein met up with Crocker in Iraq, he found the Ambassador in something of a frustrated mood, thanks to Maliki:The Iraqi government is irresolute to the point of near collapse. It is nowhere near to figuring out how to make a political deal amongst the contending parties that might lead to stability. "All this attention on benchmarks has actually been bad for the process," Ambassador Crocker says. "We've wasted so much time and energy on getting a hydrocarbon law" — that is, a law to divide oil profits amongst the ethnic and religious parties, likely to be approved soon — "but it has very little to do with getting a functioning government in place." The truth is, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government is puttering along, happily dependent on the U.S. "There are no consequences for them when they screw up," Crocker says. "Whatever's wrong, we take care of it."
Given that the only plausible reason for us to still be in Iraq is to give the government a chance to reconcile and succeed, and given that this report is very likely to say that the government has no hope of reconciliation or success, how can a continued commitment be justified? The answer may be that Crocker's report will be completely buried in favor of Petraeus talking about how many schools have fresh paint and how the enemy's on the run and we just need another Friedman Unit until all's well. But the entire justification for our presence in occupying Iraq is going up in smoke.
...adding, it's also quite telling that Crocker is frustrated about the emphasis on an oil law. Clearly he's not in charge of the priorities of the US government regarding Iraq, and clearly that bid to allow private oil companies to participate in profit-taking is being given major precedence.