Monday, July 16, 2007

The Lost War

It is now not only the war in Iraq that is lost, we are loosing the whole 'War of Terror' according to Alexander Chancellor;

Intelligence analysts reportedly warned the White House this week that al-Qaida is now stronger and better organised than at any time since September 11 2001. If true, this is a shattering condemnation of America's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the rest of its anti-terror strategy of the past six years.

Indeed. So why is this? Lots of reasons, but most have to do with the reality on the ground, something lost on the dogmatic politicians who are supposed to be leading the war. What is happening on the ground gives a lie to any notion of 'hearts and minds' or 'fighting for democracy' - its a brutal spiral of mutual destruction, degradation and death don't take my word for it – ask the soldiers who are there. For example her is how a house raid works:

"You run in....You go up the stairs. You grab the man of the house. You rip him out of bed in front of his wife. You put him up against the wall. You have junior-level troops, PFCs [privates first class], specialists will run into the other rooms and grab the family, and you'll group them all together. Then you go into a room and you tear the room to shreds and you make sure there's no weapons or anything that they can use to attack us...You get the interpreter and you get the man of the home, and you have him at gunpoint, and you'll ask the interpreter to ask him: 'Do you have any weapons? Do you have any anti-US propaganda, anything at all--anything--anything in here that would lead us to believe that you are somehow involved in insurgent activity or anti-coalition forces activity?' ..Normally they'll say no, because that's normally the truth...So what you'll do is you'll take his sofa cushions and you'll dump them. If he has a couch, you'll turn the couch upside down. You'll go into the fridge, if he has a fridge, and you'll throw everything on the floor, and you'll take his drawers and you'll dump them.... You'll open up his closet and you'll throw all the clothes on the floor and basically leave his house looking like a hurricane just hit it...And if you find something, then you'll detain him. If not, you'll say, 'Sorry to disturb you. Have a nice evening.' So you've just humiliated this man in front of his entire family and terrorized his entire family and you've destroyed his home. And then you go right next door and you do the same thing in a hundred homes."

This is the real War of Terror. How about supply convoys?

"There was then a little boy--I would say he was about 10...a little Iraqi boy and he was crossing the highway with his, with three donkeys. A military convoy, transportation convoy driving north, hit him and the donkeys and killed all of them. When we got there, there were the dead donkeys and there was a little boy on the side of the road....We saw him there and, you know, we were upset because the convoy didn't even stop...They really, judging by the skid marks, they hardly even slowed down. But, I mean, that's basically--basically, your order is that you never stop...We're using these vulnerable, vulnerable convoys, which probably piss off more Iraqis than it actually helps in our relationship with them...just so that we can have comfort and air-conditioning and sodas--great--and PlayStations and camping chairs and greeting cards and stupid T-shirts that say, Who's Your Baghdaddy?"

This is why al-Qaida are winning in Iraq and worldwide. IMHO al-Qaida is winning – not because they are winning on the ground (indeed the evidence shows that the insurgency in Iraq is 93% Iraqi) but in people's minds; because the west is trying to impose its vision of what should be happening on nation-states that were created by the west to impose its vision. FFS, we can't even create democracy here, never mind elsewhere;

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Iraq, Palestine, and Lebanon, the "international community," acting unilaterally, bilaterally, and multilaterally, is trying to shore up, strengthen, and create states to provide peace and stability. Some, even many, people of those areas long to become full citizens of states that protect their rights and provide services. But for many others, it is harder to imagine that they might one day be citizens of an effective accountable nation-state than that they might be joined with their fellow Muslims in a renewed caliphate. Somewhere in the mountains of the land its inhabitants call Pakhtunkhwa, Bin Laden is waiting.

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