As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Iraq Treadmill

After a day of top-of-the-fold headlines that the Iraqi military had captured the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq (and all by themselves, too, see they can police their own country, only not enough for us to leave for the next 100 years), it turns out, and you're not going to believe this, that wasn't true.

Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, has not been captured, a senior U.S. military official told CNN on Friday.

Iraqi authorities said Thursday that al-Masri had been captured in Mosul.

U.S. military officials were surprised about the report of Abu Ayyub al-Masri's capture -- first reported by Iraqi media and picked up by The Associated Press. And intelligence officials said they were skeptical, even though Iraqi officials said al-Masri was already in U.S. military custody.

Left unsaid here is how AQI is a marginalized force inside Iraq, and virtually immaterial to the long-term stability of the state. The real problem, based on where military airstrikes are targeted, are those civilians in Baghdad slums.

See, we've been laying siege to Sadr City for the last month, first building walls so the population can't leave and then bombing the hell out of it, forcing a crisis where the population must leave.

So let's recap the scene: the US military and its Iraqi "allies" are laying siege to a sprawling neighborhood in Baghdad housing roughly 2.5 million Iraqis, launching air strikes, artillery attacks, tank shells and other assorted ordnance, shutting down hospitals and bombing others, cutting off the supply of food and walling off entire sectors of the embattled region, causing a refugee crisis by their actions - and now actually pursuing a policy with the intent of creating a larger refugee crisis!

For what reason: because a majority of residents in these regions support a political movement, and militia, that oppose our presence. Can't have that. Because we have to keep 150,000 troops in Iraq to safeguard the Iraqi people. After all, whose gonna set up the tents in the refugee catch basins we so magnanimously helped set up to receive the overflow from our relentless assault on political movements that would make it harder for us to stay in Iraq. To safeguard the Iraqi people.

Aside from, you know, eliminating American casualties, leaving Iraq would surely reduce Iraqi casualties and the attendant tensions that arise from those casualties. We hear constantly about the consequences of defeat, but they cannot be worse than creating pointless refugee crises in Baghdad. When you're staying in the country just to fight elements who want you to leave the country, there's a kind of circular logic to the whole thing.

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