We’ll see you in September Iraqi leader tells Bush: Get Gen Petraeus out – Telegraph

Iraqi leader tells Bush: Get Gen Petraeus out – Telegraph:

“Relations between the top United States general in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, the country’s prime minister, are so bad that the Iraqi leader made a direct appeal for his removal to President George W Bush.Although the call was rejected, aides to both men admit that Mr Maliki and Gen David Petraeus engage in frequent stand-up shouting matches, differing particularly over the US general’s moves to arm Sunni tribesmen to fight al-Qa’eda.”

Over and over and over and over… we’ve heard George (president of the occupation optimists club) Bush tell us politicians weren’t going to make military decisions in Iraq, the generals were. It seems al-Maliki didn’t get the memo.

When the much bally-hooed September briefing premeires in Congress later this summer, no one better be telling me our working relationship with Iraqi leadership is peaches and cream.


  1. I wanted to appologize… I’m argumentative by nature… even when I agree with parts of what you’re saying.

    I’m not completely sure which side you’re advocating. (Maybe you’re playing a little “devil’s advocate yourself?”) When you say, “how much can it cost to get people together,” are you still advocating for partition… and if so, why would we get them together to break them up? Isn’t the whole rationale for partition that they’re so incapaple of living together that we have to split them up? If they’re so incapable of getting along, how likely is it they’ll get together for a peacefull divison of their most valuable asset… their oil wealth?

    As for maintaining an army in the field versus getting people together (peacefully)… well that’s the $10,000 question, isn’t it? If I thought partition would bring about peace, I’d be all for it. If I thought maintaining current troop levels would bring about peace, I’d be willing to listen.

    This diverges from the primary discussion… but I can’t stop now, I’m on a roll ;-) My problem with Iraq is that it confirms the middle east’s worst fears about the U.S.: that we’re hopeless imperialists. We’ve successfully turned an unfriendly, dangerous country with no ties to terrorism… into an unfriendly, dangerous country which is a magnet/haven for terrorism. I have no idea what the solotion to this mess is, but I figure the quicker the better… because the longer we’re there, the more imperialistic we seem. However, I’m not blind to the fact that Iraq has BECOME a terrorist problem… and leaving it abruptly could cause it’s own problems.

    Believe me, I wish partition was the solution. On it’s surface it seems like an elegant solution: less fuss, quick exit, thanks for coming folks! I’m just not sure we can afford another big mistake. At some point we’ll eclipse the damage caused by just abandoning Iraq in the first place – in terms of the voilence and deaths that have occured (versus those that would have occured). That’s a terrible calculation… but it’s our own fault we have to make it. I think you’re absolutely right… voluntary ethnic cleansing is already taking place. I’ve heard that overall (when you consider the entire country, not just Baghdad) deaths are up in Iraq… despite the surge. If that’s true, and things are continuing their downward spiral – despite our presence there – keeping us there as a stabilizing force makes less and less sense.

    I pray that I’m wrong… I do every night.

    You mention Brussels… you have a valid point. There are places on Earth where people from various ethnic backgrounds (speaking different languages) coexist. Sadly, I think Iraq suffers the same problem of other countries with diverse cultures, ruled in modern times by overthrown tyrants. One or more cultures enjoy a certain amount of influence while the tyrant is in power. When he leaves (or is overthrown), the liberated seek to fill the vacuum… throwing in a little come-upance for good measure. We’re uniquely stuck in the middle this time… being at once the liberators and the occupiers… and thus disliked by everyone.

    What a mess.

    Thanks again for the comment. I may not have addressed your points coherently, but I’ve enjoyed the conversation (and may yet a little more).

  2. Compared to maintaining an Army in the field, how much can it cost to get people together- we could do a lot just on the Internet, basically for free.(Within WordPress)

    Voluntary ethnic cleansing is already taking place. At least a million Iraqis have left the country Sunnis are leaving Shiite dominated neighborhoods and vice-versa. There can be some kind of a time table or it can be voluntary . It need not be done all at once. Brussels is a bilingual city and it functions.

  3. First I want to thank you for commenting. I hope my previous posts don’t suggest animosity… none was intended. I say this because I’m about to play a little devil’s advocate… which might very well suggest animosity (more so than before). But again, none is intended.

    Why will partition be infinitely cheaper, or involve any less military presence than the current strategy? It seems that the solution of partition presupposes that people are fighting in Iraq over territory. I don’t think anyone really thinks that’s the case… not even our military leaders. I think that’s telling, because our military leadership cut their teeth in the era of wars being fought between standing armies, and the land held at the end of the day.

    If our military leadership is predisposed to believe this is a war over land… and they don’t, how can we?

    Quite the contrary, I think this is like every other conflict in the middle east… a conflict of ideas. This isn’t the greatest analogy, but do you think separating the Palestinians and the Israelis will keep them from tearing each other apart? The Sunis and Shi’ites are no where near that kind of historical animosity… but they seem to be heading in that general direction. Partition also presupposes that we can make them separate. From what I understand, many of the major cities are inhabited by both sects… most notably Baghdad. Who do we make leave? If Baghdad is in the middle of Suni dominated land, do we make the Shi’ites leave? If so, do you think they’ll leave any more willingly than the Palestinians would leave Jerusalem?

    As many mistakes as we’ve made in Iraq, I think the question has to asked whether we CAN be part of the solution there. I don’t make this statement lightly, as I think we have a moral obligation to straighten things up. My parents always taught me if I made a mess I had to clean it up… but this is a pretty big one.

    Despite my misgivings, I will say I’m leaning towards “cutting and running,” but that’s a whole ‘nuther post.

  4. If “Stay the course ” is the only course, why not simultaniously get the appropriate people together to brainstorm and game the issues of partition just in case the present strategy does not produce the desired results?

    Run the 2 projects in parallel. Why not? My suggested project is infinitely cheaper than the military one and should produce some information that will be useful in any case.

  5. Presumptuous is a good word, but I think it was used in the wrong sentence. I think this whole exercise in Iraq to date has been a textbook definition of presumptuousness. What I’m trying to say is that the article I’ve linked to may be another example.

    Bush seems to do a lot of talking about wanting partnerships… with the Democrats, with the Iraqis, etc. The problem is his actions (and those who act in his stead) do not suggest he wants to partner with anyone.

    I’m not saying I’m against studying possible solutions… quite the contrary. What I’m saying is the issue appears to be moot as long as Bush is our president. Bush doesn’t seem to be interested in studying anything, and at this point his opinion is the only one that matters (or his surrogate brain, Cheney). We’ve done some studying. Hell, Bush himself seemed to be waiting for the Iraq Study Group’s findings with desperate anticipation. However, it seems to me that Bush wasn’t building up anticipation for the group’s findings because he thought it would offer a change in strategy… I think he was hoping it would validate his actions. When it suggested doing something different, he became A LOT less enthusiastic.

    This stark choice between “stay the course” or “cut and run” is what has been foisted upon us by Bush. This is the political reality, and the Democrats in Congress know it all to well. That’s why we won’t see anything meaningful come out of the legislature, because they don’t just need the 60 votes to overcome a filibuster in the Senate… they need 67 votes to make it veto proof. Bush may have historically low approval ratings, based almost wholely on Iraq. However, there are still something like 30 percent out there who inexplicably approve of his actions. Assuming that he still enjoys a similar following in the Senate… he’s effectively veto-proof, and “stay the course” is the only course. (Much to my disappointment.)

  6. myself

    If I have properly understood you, you are saying either “stay the course” until the Iraqis decide what they want to do OR “cut and run” and let the Iraqis decide what they want to do

    and it would be presumptuous for us to study a way of bringing peace to their counrty, while working with them, and then presenting it to them.

    So the maiming and killing of Americans goes on…

    (I am just as certain that we need to explore this avenue as I was in 2002 that the invasion of Iraq would be a mistake) I wish that I had been wrong in 2002.

  7. The problem, as I see it, is that our president hasn’t acknowledged that we’ve failed (or are in the process of doing so). He talks about reaching across the political isle for solutions, but his track record puts the lie to his words.

    As I see it, the political situation in the U.S. is this: the POTUS, as commander in chief gets to call the operational shots – and he doesn’t show any willingness to change course. Constitutionally speaking, congress can’t dictate a different strategy (for the most part)… all they can do is take away the money. That’s why we’re stuck… with only two choices: “stay the course” or “cut and run,” as you and other’s have put it (which I don’t particularly care for by the way). My feeling is you can lay this predicament squarely at George’s feet.

    As for the partition issue, that’s something the Iraqis should decide for themselves. “The West” has been drawing their borders for them for the last 100 years… and maybe that’s part of the problem. Maybe we should let them decide wether they want to draw them differently. If I recall, there was a BBC poll which asked Iraqis what they favored: a unified Iraq with a strong central government, a unified Iraq with a weaker Federal government and semi-autonomous regions (or states), or partition. I think the results were something like 80% favored some form of unified Iraq, and only 20 percent favored partition.

    The other reason the issue of partition has been a sticky widget (rather than a slam dunk) is because Iraq isn’t quite as neatly divided up as we would like to believe. In general you have Kurds in the north, the Sunis in their triangle, and the Shi’ites in the south, but there’s some mixing of Shia and Suni in the middle, particularly Baghdad. It’s not as simple of drawing lines between areas of cultural influence… because the lines aren’t that clear (or overlap). In any case, the issue’s moot unless someone finds a way into that impenetrable fortress that is Dubya’s thick scull.

  8. Soliciting a few more opinions? How about getting together the appropriate people to discuss the issues involved in partitioning Iraq into 3 separate counries.

    By doing that we could come up with an opinion worthy of consideration. Either yes it is worthy of consideration or No! there is no way that it could work.Until we do a rigorous exploraration of the question , I believe that there is no way we can opine one way or the other.

    It would seem to me that if the only 2 possibilities that are being considered are “Stay the course “or “Cut and run” in the aggregate we are frozen and indecisive.

  9. I may not be a member of the invasion fan club, but I hardly think our actions in Iraq warrant the “deer in the headlights” comparison. Personally, I think we’d be better off if it was. Quite the opposite, we went over in grand cowboy style, shooting first and asking questions later, gleefully following our president into what may be the greatest foreign policy disaster since Japan decided to attack Pearl Harbor. Now we’re stuck in a morass with no easy way out. Given the disastrous results from our rash actions which started this mess, I think a “time out,” (or a even a little “staring at the headlights”) might be a good thing at this point… provided we do a little more thinking this time… soliciting a few more opinions…. inviting to the table someone other than the members of the Cheney “Yes-man Group” (they’ll be appearing in Washington D.C. on September 5th through the 18th*).

    * Just in case you’re wondering, I made the dates up.

  10. What happens in September, if Petraeus tells the truth and says that the surge is’nt working? Do we then cut and run?

    If we we at least discussing how partitioning the country, we would have a plan B which could yield a result that could make both the “Stay the course “crowd and the “Cut and run” crowd happy.

    It seems as if Americans prefer to be like so many deer frozen in place with their eyes caught in the headlights.

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