Sunday, June 04, 2006

Where do we go from Haditha?

Iraq has become like quicksand in slow motion, sinking everyone who has a piece of it, slowly, steadily but surely. Once in a while, an eye opener like Haditha pops out for everyone, left, right and centre, that gives us a chance to look inward and do the necessary crosschecks. A chance, once again to straighten out the mess in Iraq by being objective, admitting the reality, and acting upon it.

The relevant people holding an irrelevant road map, however, have had their eyes wide shut for a long time, and the war has forced them to live in a cobweb of lies, from which they don't have the balls, the desire or the smartness to come out. In all likelihood, they are probably going to self disintegrate once their delusional comfort zone is taken away. So they stay where they prefer to stay, in the name of WMDs, in the name of Freedom and Liberty and watch the troops die, who serve honorably but unaware of the ego-driven politicians who put them into harm's way.

To address a problem, the first step is to recognize the problem, which in turn requires standing up for the basic principles working within which a reasonable solution can be found. This benign observation is deeper than you think, because standing up for principles requires understanding the principles, which means:

for George W, appreciation for Texas slangs, workouts at his Texas Ranch, and not meeting a grieving mother,

• for Dick, appreciation for Halliburton,

• for Alberto Gonzales, appreciation for curbing the human rights and of course listening to your phone calls in case you are talking to Bin Laden,

• for Rummy, appreciation of the secret torture and detention centres,

• for Condi Rice, appreciation for the Nobel Peace Prize, only if the Iranian President bites the carrot.

So, where do we go from Haditha?

Let me start by saying, I've never liked the Iraq war although I support, in a sort of way, the invasion and subsequent occupation of Afghanistan. The reasons are two fold: for one, the Taliban, the erstwhile rulers of Afghanistan harbored the terrorists, not the small fishes but the biggest ones, the masterminds, the roots of all evil Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri, actively and openly without any fear of backlash from the world, and secondly, they took the entire Afghan society back to the medieval age of darkness.

The Taliban got their false sense of security from Pakistan, or more precisely, from the ISI, Pakistan's CIA equivalent. What they never realized was that they were created for a purpose and not in the name of religion, as they were made to believe. When things got too hot to handle, they were abandonned and left to the mercy of whoever got to them first, which happened to be the United States.

In its war against terror, the United States made the blunder of all blunders by letting the top Al Qaeda leaders escape along with Mullah Omar, the Taliban Supremo. To this day, what baffles me is the initial Gandhian approach taken in Afghanistan, specifically asking the Taliban to hand over Bin Laden or make him leave the country, knowing fully well that the Talibans are not exactly famous for their vegetarian habits.

And right now, the only way to get to them is to comb the mountains and jungles of Tora Bora. If the US acted earlier, they could have actually caught the terrorists and the war against terror would be over and we wouldn't be having this discussion today.

I bring up Afghanistan, because, I think the failure to capture Bin Laden led the Bush Government to look for a scape goat, an evil person, who's famous or infamous and who will become the symbol of success in the war against terrorism; he doesn't have to be a terrorist because not all evils are terrorists, but a five star "bad guy" resume will suffice.

For me, I never bought into the Iraq for Oil argument or the lies of mushroom cloud and WMD. After the careless slip in Afghanistan which didn't reflect too well in their political bank balance, the administration wanted to act swiftly and with the purpose of getting a prized trophy to showcase their intent. So they went after Saddam--an easy pick by all standards.

Of course, the Bush clan was never fond of Saddam, but Bush senior was smart enough to realize the consequences of waging a full scale war with Iraq. Junior, however wanted to finish the unfinished business of the family. The perfect cowboy when the tooth fairy has gone to bed.

As the Iraq war progressed, the paradigm shift cannot be overlooked, from WMD to freedom, liberty and democracy. Clearly the purpose is served, now that the looters and insurgents enjoy the freedom they never had before, feeling liberated in a true sense, and democracy starts with a puppet government that can only wish to have the power to clean the basement of their own house without asking for US permission.

The bottom line is: the invasion of Iraq has been proved to be a mistake of Vietnamic proportion, and it makes no sense to compound it by keeping the US forces there for an unforeseen time. Deaths will just continue to pile up on both sides.

The Iraq adventure is over. If the Bush administration continues to act like the bullies in the playground, it is time to let them know that in this game lives are lost, and stubbornness serves no purpose.

Get the troops back home and let the Iraqis sort things out themselves. Trust me, the Iraqis will be happy to see you leave and to have the opportunity to get back on their feet.

By the way, if the administration really cares, it can deploy only a fraction of the resources that are being wasted in Iraq, to the mountains of Tora Bora, and hunt for the real terrorists, and not the innocent civilians in Haditha.

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