Friday, January 26, 2007

What's the Matter With That al Maliki Guy Anyway?

I reprint here an interesting letter from Ed Peck, former U.S. Chief of Mission to Iraq.

A Simple Plan to Support Iraq's Prime Minister

Look, it's not really all that hard. If we are really serious about having Al Maliki, the Prime Minister of a democratically elected unity government, carry out his responsibilities, especially the ones we have publicly assigned him, let's give the guy a chance to demonstrate his problem-solving skills in an environment with challeges that are not only far less difficult but also far less dangerous to our interests. Oh... yeah, and his too.

What I propose is just a quick test, with visible benefits for all parties, that lets him show his stuff. Let's bring him over here, and turn him loose to: a) stamp out inner-city crime; b) settle the abortion issue to the complete satisfaction of all parties; c) win the war on drugs; d) end illegal immigration; e) eliminate corruption. Once those tasks are taken care of, and armed with the admiration and gratitude of the American people, plus the solid, no-longer tentative support of the current Administration, he can go home to Iraq - and fix it. (NB. "On the advice of the legal department, we announce that our Rule is no longer applicable in Iraq." - The Pottery Barn, Inc.)

Once back, with the augmented - No, wait, escalated... No, no... OK, got it, surged military presence required to insure that absolutely everyone, everywhere, understands that he is fully, totally, and completely in charge of every single aspect of goverance, the Prime Minister can address himself to resolving his country's issues.

We all know what he needs to do, and quickly: a) rebuild a totally destroyed infrastructure and the shattered economy it used to support; b) institute something resembling a universally accepted, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, cohesive and fully functional government; c) end sectarian violence; d) create large and effective police and military forces; e) institute total stability and security; f) induce forgiveness and, as necessary, memory loss in those who have suffered the most; and g) secure the blessings of liberty to himself and his posterity. Not necessarily in that order.

I estimate he will need a minimum of, say, eight to ten weeks, after which the entire secure and stable nation (Militias, Turkmen, Shia, Contractors, Sunni, Jews, Kurds, Yazidis, Saabeans, Christians, Collaborators) will be sitting around multiple campfires, democratic to the core, drinking steaming mugs of cocoa, singing Kumbaya and waving as our forces ride off into the sunset.

Won't that be swell? Won't the world admire us, and respect all that we have accomplished? And won't the Iraqi survivors love us?

However, and it is certainly seems entirely possible that those in leadership positions in this country may already have given a great deal of thought to this, we will clearly have someone else to blame when it doesn't work, despite all the help and support we have given Al Maliki What a loser, and it is all, all his fault.

What have we done, and are not yet finished doing, to ourselves, to Iraqis, and to our regional as well as global interests? A catastrophe while we stay; a different catastrophe when we leave. And I sincerely hope I am all wrong.

Amb. Ed Peck

(Please excuse this effort to employ weak humor to underline the arrogant stupidity of what we are asking of a man in minimal charge of a broken non-country. When our CNI delegation ( met with Syrian President Bashar Al Assad last January, after observing the Palestinian elections in Gaza, he told us that American officials always demand that he stop, right now!, people crossing the border into Iraq. He said he replies by asking for the Border Patrol to come over and explain how they did it with Mexico, so he can apply the same successful approach. Heavy silence follows, as it should.)

Ambassador Edward L. Peck is former U.S. Chief of Mission to Iraq and participated in a CNI delegation to monitor the Palestinian elections and meet with regional leaders in January 2006. A video chronicling the trip, titled "Islam and Democracy," is available on


Vigilante said...

What do you think of this wide-eyed theory?

1) US Military is designed to fight and kill, not build and police nations.

2) The thing we should do to resolve a civil war is to pick a side and see that it wins (so we can leave).

3) In Iraq, we should pick the shiites's side, pulverize the Sunnis into submission, and then leave as soon as we are invited by Maliki or his successor.

What do you think?

(Just thinking outside the box; thinking the unthinkable.)

James A Bond said...

If you go back and look at prior posts there are several people who have suggested this strategy but there are a number of significant downsides: 1)we further alienate our Sunni allies in the Mideast; 2) we contribute to Iran's power as Shia are their allies; 3)we further contribute to Sunni-Shia sectarian war across the whole Mideast.

Vigilante said...

All I am asking for, James is an omelette, and you're refusing to break a few eggs? Bush is breaking hundreds of them each day. Let's get out now.

James A Bond said...

I think we do have to consider future consequences of what we do now; not considering consequences is what got Bush and the pseudo-cons into this mess in the first place. People had been predicting for years that knocking out Saddam would strengthen Iran and perhaps encourage the Shia to push for more power in other countries, say Saudi Arabia. That's principally why Bush senior didn't take out Saddam in 1991.

I don't think we want to destroy the Sunnis in Iraq. I'd be for immediate troop redeployment out of immediate conflict but close by, waiting to see what occurred in the civil war after our combat troops moved, engaging Iran and Syria to see what they would be willing to do to encourage compromise in Iraq between Shia and Sunnis, and then play it by ear.