Wednesday, December 01, 2004

November 30, 2004

Reluctant Warriors
First, a report by the New York Times that details the ineffectiveness and unreliability of the newly American-trained Iraqi forces. The administration likes to brag that they have trained 114,000 Iraqi forces so far. But the training has been so rushed and perfunctory that trainers often refer (in hushed tones) to training and deployment process as “shake and bake.”
“In the most violent provinces, they say, the Iraqi forces are so intimidated that many are reluctant to show up and do not tell their families where they work; they have yet to receive adequate training or weapons, present a danger to American troops they fight alongside, and are unreliable because of corruption, desertion or infiltration.” (NYTimes 11/30/04)
We lost the war in Viet Nam even though the South Vietnamese forces, the ARVN, fought fiercely and bravely. Here we are 30 years later battling another insurgency far from home fighting along side locals who would rather not. What do you think our chances are this time? You do the math.

Oh, one more thing on a related matter. Yesterday a suicide bomber rammed his car into a group of Iraqi policemen lined up in front of their local police station waiting to collect their salaries. Twelve freshly minted Iraqi police were killed and scores others wounded. If this were an isolated incident it would not deserve mention among the massive chaos that now engulfs Iraq. But this kind of thing happens all the time. Every week we hear of a few dozen Iraqi cops, either blown up or shot, while lined up to get paid. One would think that their American security handlers would arrange for a safer way to pay these clay pigeons.

MEMO TO IRAQI POLICE: DO NOT - REPEAT - NOT - LINE UP on the street in front of the police station for your paychecks. We will hand them to you personally when you show up for your regularly scheduled shift.


Terror Tourism
Why are Iraq troops and police so scared? Well, besides having to fight their own angry Iraqi relatives, the US invasion and occupation turned their entire nation into Disneyland for wannabe terrorists. From around the Islamic world they come, by train, by car, by camel, on foot – the Koranically lobotomized soldiers of Jihad.

Since boyhood these guys have listened to the rants of half-educated, madmen Mullahs who filled their heads with glorious images of the day they too would fight, hand to hand, the Great Satan, the defenders of the “Zionist Entity.” Now, thanks to George W. Bush they can do just that. It’s even a short, convenient commute -- right in their own neighborhood. It’s terror tourism. They don’t even have to quit school or their job. They can Jihad over vacation break. Al Qaida and other Islamic radical groups will even make their Jihad-vacation arrangements:

SPECIAL JIHAD GETAWAY: Praise Allah! Ten days, 3 cities, two beheadings, single occupancy. Included: First three RPG’s free. Free car.. no return required. All the beans and rice you can eat.

(Note: If you are fortunate to be martyred on a trip arranged by us, we are famous for the quality of our virgins.)

So, that’s one reason Iraqi troops and police have all developed nervous ticks. They have Arabs from all over the Middle East traveling to Iraq to live out their jihadist fantasies and, if they can’t bag an American, they will settle for someone working for the Americans.

Shake and bake, indeed.

Necessary Evil Dept

We are all still fussing over the fact that George Bush didn’t give UN weapons inspectors in Iraq the time or respect they deserved before going off half-cocked. We wish he had because maybe then over a thousand American boys and girls and god knows how many Iraqis would still be alive.

But, having said that, I have to add that the United Nations is still a festering puss-pot of an institution, a magnet for the world’s sleaziest public officialdom. The UN’s job description is “world peace.” But it’s real occupation is self-indulgence, bloated budgets, limos, parking tickets that never get paid, rapes that never get prosecuted, and the systematic theft of public funds on scale heretofore unmatched by any human institution.

But you knew that. We hear about it all the time, shrug and go on. But every now and then the UN out-sleazes even its low standards, and we have to take notice. The latest is the news that Secretary-General Kofi Annan own son was on the take of a Swiss company now under investigation for stealing tens of millions of dollars from the so-called U.N. oil-for-food program in Iraq.

New York is the wrong venue for an organization that is supposed to focus on famine, ethic cleansing and war. I have a suggestion. Let’s relocated the UN to countries where the ambassadors can get up close and personal with their stated mission… say, Rwanda, Somalia or Liberia?

Want to bet if we did the quality of “ambassador” would go way up as the cockroach variety head for greener, and safer, pastures. Just a thought.

Speaking of Which
Iran said Tuesday it has not abandoned its right to enrich uranium, despite its agreement with the U.N. nuclear agency to suspend the processing. Such a deal. This is the kind of phony agreements the U.N. engineers when member countries don’t want to mess up existing profitable business arrangements. In this case it’s France and Russia who have been selling nuclear gear and know how to Iran for a long time.

So, thanks to the U.N. get ready for a nuclear-armed Iran. Unless of course Israel vetoes the whole matter with air strikes --which the UN will, of course denounce.

Just another day of la de da, la de da at No. 1 U.N. Plaza, NY.

Finally, This..

Remember when the Bush administration said with certainty that the costs of attacking Iraq would be more than paid for with Iraqi oil revenue? Well, like soooooooo many other things this administration believed, or claimed to believe, that too has turned out to be, not just wrong.. but W R O N G. (About $200 billion wrong so far, and counting.)

Nearly two years later Iraqi oil production is still below pre-invasion levels and revenues can hardly keep up with the cost of keeping the oil flowing. Even with nearly 140,000-armed US troops in country, security around Iraq's vital petroleum industry is a hit and miss affair, at best. Insurgents attack refineries and pipelines at will. Between August and October, Iraq lost $7 billion dollars in potential revenues due to sabotage against the country's oil infrastructure. An estimated 20 oil wells and pipelines were bombed this month alone in northern Iraq.

So, how do we try to protect the oil now? (I have to warn you, it gets worse.) Imagine this. Maj. Gen. Anwar Mohammed Amin, chief of the Iraqi National Guardsmen in Kirkuk, said that private US security firms now “hire” local tribes to guard oil installations. The going rate -- $1,100 per mile secured. Ah but there’s a wrinkle. These tribes take capitalism seriously… very seriously.

"The tribes fight over who wins the largest number of contracts," Amin said, “the losers blow up the pipelines and oil wells in retaliation." (And you thought Halliburton played hardball.) And tribesmen who own land through which the pipelines pass also tap into the pipes and steal oil to sell, probably to us.

This is the country; these are the people we “liberated.”

Question: Just who is going to liberate us from this deadly, expensive mess?

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