Friday, March 14, 2008

How long can we afford to stay in Iraq?


Palm Beach Gardens, March 12, 2008.

As the dollar value falls, the stock market declines, the housing crisis deepens, the national deficit skyrockets and entitlement reserves (for Social Security and Medicare) erode, and as the economic and social security of the nation worsens on every front, how long can we afford to stay in Iraq?

It is true that last year’s increase in American troops has allowed soldiers to establish zones of security in previously explosive Baghdad neighborhoods and the Iraqi army has gradually gained some skill and confidence in defending the country against suicidal insurgents. While the US troop surge in Iraq has reduced American fatalities significantly, it has not significantly reduced the danger to Iraqis. Casualty rates among Iraqis remain high and quality of life continues to be worse than it was before the war.

The political situation in Iraq remains gloomy. Iraqi leaders are not reconciled; the country is divided; ethnic cleansing does not stop and a national political vision is absent.

Few observers have analyzed the causal connection between the surge and security in Iraq. Measuring the specific impact of the surge on the war is complicated. Many analysts attribute the improvement in security, in part, to the self imposed withdrawal of Muqtada Sadr and his powerful Mehdi militia from armed conflict with US forces and with Sunni factions. Moreover, troop increase has been accompanied by massive infusion of money into the pockets of local Sunni militias in recent months. Contractually, the army pays 80,000 Iraqi insurgents 300 US dollars a person per month to join the national security forces.

In this deal we do not know how much money is also being secretly funneled to militia and tribal leaders. We do not know what would happen to security if this military bankrolling were to be withdrawn. Are the alleged results of the surge a function of military perseverance and troop dedication to cause or an artifact of bribery of a nation that is starving?

It is not clear who first conceived of the idea that the US war in Iraq could be won with more US boots on the ground. Some Republicans are counting on the surge to save America from its current dismal failure in Iraq. Twice as many Republicans as Democrats see progress as a result of troop increase. John McCain, the Republican presidential nominee, claims intellectual ownership of the surge in order to promote his campaign. The Arizona senator argues that America is not ready to leave Iraq in the near future; the surge is merely the initial step in the long march toward victory. McCain’s chances for winning the White House are closely tied to the future course of stability in Iraq.

Determination to succeed is admirable, but has it never occurred to the Vietnam-veteran senator that America has already achieved “success” of some sort in Iraq? American forces in 2003 succeeded to knock off Saddam Hussein, to disband the army and to remove the Baath party from power. But since those initial achievements continued war has come at a high collateral cost.

The occupation has demolished the socio-economic infrastructure, displaced about ten percent of the population, allowed massive ethnic cleansing and tolerated the split of the country into three ethno-sectarian zones. Moreover, the US occupation has had the counterproductive effect of mobilizing terrorists worldwide to join forces with local Iraqi insurgents in fighting unwelcome US presence on Arab and Islamic soil.

The military surge was adopted as a last resort to attempt to reverse the downward spiral in Iraq. Instead of assuming responsibility for the tragic failure of US policy in Iraq, the Bush administration had chosen to allow political and economic conditions to reach catastrophic proportions.

Can a foreign and distrusted military establish security in Iraq and facilitate political reform? Iraq’s political problems can never be solved militarily. As long as Iraq’s neighboring countries are frustrated with US Middle East policy, and as long these regimes feel marginalized, the US will face insurmountable difficulties in stabilizing Iraq.

Even if the surge policy ultimately succeeds in improving security how long can the US economy sustain the cost of the Iraq war? The occupation has already cost the US one trillion dollars, and according to Joseph Stiglitz, a reputable Nobel laureate economist, Iraq expenses are expected to reach three trillion by 2017, in contrast to much lower government estimates.

The current cost of the Iraq war is 12 billion dollars a month. With a monthly twelve billion dollar budget we can provide medical insurance to millions of Americans, protect the national border, reduce teen age pregnancy, divert youth from jail, place more students in college, restore economic security to neglected neighborhoods, improve the quality of education and employ many people who are out of jobs.

In defining national security within a paradigm of force, the US is generating insecurity in its homeland and in the rest of the world. The surge is a symptom of a desperate and short-sighted foreign policy.

Contact author through email: Grubeiz@comcast.net

5 Comments:

Blogger oakleyses said...

nike air max, tiffany and co jewelry, tiffany jewelry, prada handbags, oakley sunglasses, coach outlet store online, longchamp outlet online, michael kors outlet online, kate spade outlet online, coach purses, tory burch outlet, louboutin shoes, longchamp outlet, louis vuitton, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, coach outlet, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton handbags, michael kors outlet online, coach outlet, longchamp handbags, ray ban outlet, polo ralph lauren, nike air max, jordan shoes, burberry outlet online, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, christian louboutin shoes, gucci handbags, christian louboutin outlet, burberry outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, oakley vault, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, kate spade handbags, nike shoes, red bottom shoes

8:40 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

vans pas cher, nike air force, converse pas cher, north face, tn pas cher, true religion, ralph lauren pas cher, sac michael kors, mulberry, lululemon, air max pas cher, hermes pas cher, scarpe hogan, nike roshe run, true religion outlet, lacoste pas cher, ralph lauren, nike air max, michael kors canada, burberry pas cher, air max, nike blazer pas cher, guess pas cher, oakley pas cher, true religion outlet, longchamp, ray ban pas cher, hollister, chaussure louboutin, ray ban uk, longchamp pas cher, louis vuitton pas cher, new balance pas cher, sac vanessa bruno, michael kors uk, nike air max, nike free pas cher, timberland, louis vuitton, north face pas cher, air jordan, sac louis vuitton, hollister, louis vuitton uk, nike free

8:41 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

giuseppe zanotti, herve leger, soccer shoes, reebok shoes, instyler ionic styler, roshe run, babyliss pro, beats headphones, soccer jerseys, ugg, nike trainers, abercrombie and fitch, asics shoes, mcm handbags, nike roshe, north face outlet, ferragamo shoes, barbour, ghd, jimmy choo shoes, ugg soldes, north face jackets, valentino shoes, uggs outlet, longchamp, bottega veneta, wedding dresses, marc jacobs outlet, celine handbags, nike huarache, nfl jerseys, chi flat iron, rolex watches, hollister, new balance outlet, vans outlet, p90x workout, mont blanc pens, abercrombie and fitch, ugg outlet, lululemon outlet, mac cosmetics, insanity workout, birkin bag, uggs on sale

8:42 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, converse shoes, nike air max, ugg, hollister clothing, ralph lauren, canada goose, hollister canada, lancel, karen millen, coach outlet, replica watches, iphone 6 case, timberland shoes, uggs canada, gucci, hollister, louboutin, canada goose pas cher, canada goose outlet, oakley, juicy couture outlet, moncler, canada goose, wedding dress, moncler, air max, converse, moncler, canada goose, moncler outlet, supra shoes, louis vuitton canada, parajumpers outlet, montre femme, moncler, ray ban, toms outlet, moncler, canada goose outlet, baseball bats, canada goose uk, vans, ugg boots, juicy couture outlet, moncler

8:43 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

canada goose outlet, converse shoes, nike air max, ugg, hollister clothing, ralph lauren, canada goose, hollister canada, lancel, karen millen, coach outlet, replica watches, iphone 6 case, timberland shoes, uggs canada, gucci, hollister, louboutin, canada goose pas cher, canada goose outlet, oakley, juicy couture outlet, moncler, canada goose, wedding dress, moncler, air max, converse, moncler, canada goose, moncler outlet, supra shoes, louis vuitton canada, parajumpers outlet, montre femme, moncler, ray ban, toms outlet, moncler, canada goose outlet, baseball bats, canada goose uk, vans, ugg boots, juicy couture outlet, moncler

8:43 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home