Wednesday, November 28, 2007

American Statecraft and the Iraq War

by Angelo M. Codevilla from The Claremont Institute (US: California)

The U.S. government knew well enough that nearly all of those shooting at U.S. soldiers were Sunni Arabs, usually attached to Saddam's Ba'ath party, who were using foreign Wahabi suicide bombers — usually Saudis — as ordnance. Nevertheless, its response to the Sunni insurgency has been to try to co-opt it by arming and empowering those Sunni Ba'athist military figures who promise somehow to temper attacks on Americans. This purchase of truces as if there were no tomorrow was the hallmark of General David Petraeus's 2003 command in Mosul. It was the thinking behind turning Fallujah over to a Ba'athist general in 2004, who, in turn, made it into the insurrection's citadel. It is also, alas, the thinking behind the plan for extricating U.S. forces while maintaining a veneer of success that Petraeus was sent to execute in 2007, especially in Anbar province ... Whatever tactical victories the surge may bring, it is a formula for strategic defeat. Refusing to choose sides, the U.S. armed forces end up the enemy of all—and, surely worst of all, feared by none.

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