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Uninhabited zones?

Reader comment on item: President Bush Replies to My Iraq Critique

Submitted by bdoran (Germany), Nov 24, 2006 at 11:42

My dear Sir,

from the ground here let me tell you we have been essentially trying to do that since the purple fingers election by pulling into the "mega-fobs" (the FOBs are forward operating bases, essentially it means pulling back within our own perimeter). This consolidated our holdings here from the many smaller bases, supposedly for a smaller "footprint" but it cut us off from the population-and the population is the objective in counter-insurgency.

The Iraqis were supposed to assume a greater role...but instead it pulled the rug out from under the fledgling government and handed control of the civilian population to a no-doubt stunned with relief insurgency. This snatched military defeat from the jaws of political victory, and saved the insurgency. It's such a basic violation of the most important part of counter-insurgency-control of the civilian population-that we should be considering court-martial for those involved in the decision.

Note: the Iraqi security forces will as small units stand, but only if there is a constant American presence. Otherwise it collapses...as it has in nearly every case where the insurgents (or militias if you prefer) have contested their control after handover. Balad is a prime example..it was relatively quiet. In the month after the handover IED's tripled and then there was the Friday October 13th massacre weekend one month after the handover to Iraqi's. Calm was restored by the Americans resuming joint, heavy patrolling. The local population responds to the security we offer, which means we can still pull the fat from the fire with resolve. You are actually suggesting we basically take the final, fatal step, which would in the end reduce America to the position of 7th century Byzantium (alone, poorer for losing exactly this region to the same enemy, surrounded by enemies).

Finally, let me remedy a common error concerning the Iraqi government and the ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) taking control: There is no Iraqi government south of Kurdistan other than the village and the tribe (well, the insurgents) unless you define government exclusively as they who divide up the swag. As for the ISF....are you kidding? At this point if they show up for work except to defend their own village/tribe they should be automatically suspect. Really. No one in Iraq can stand alone, if we aren't going to be the "Big Friend" they can rely on, they'll do what it takes to live.

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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