Archive for March, 2007

March 15, 2007

Bush Has Created a Terrorist State in Iraq

by Gedalyah Reback

This has been the most back asswards and painfully intellectual experience of my life. Listening to George W. Bush make an absolute military fool of himself and then having to listen to his excuses for his mistakes over the last four years. For all his ideas, I truly believe I trust his intentions with his latest scheme – to secure Baghdad. He may have finally realized that the men he is dealing with in that city – ruled by corrupt power-seeking former revolutionaries with militias full of murderous delusional failures of seminary students – are leading the newest and most sinister terrorist government in the world. I am essentially accusing George W. Bush and his policies of creating a terrorist state in Baghdad.

For the last four years, Iraq has become a cesspool of corrupt former revolutionaries and mobsters (I’m looking at you Muqtada al-Sadr), hell-bent on carving out their “fair” share of what will be a new order in the new Iraq. No matter how much the bush Administration sugarcoats it, the Baghdad government is precisely the opposite of what we had been led to believe George W. Bush had set out to destroy – terrorist-sponsoring states.

Look at the logic. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has created for himself and his government a consistent and disturbing track record of behavior. I will use two of the most recent examples to demonstrate what I mean.

A couple months ago, George W. Bush went to Jordan to meet with Prime minister Maliki. They were going over security – obviously. What disturbed President Bush and demonstrated to me the man still had a conscience was when the Prime Minister disagreed with the idea of a new security operation in Baghdad. He wanted American troops to redeploy to fight Sunni insurgents in the infamous al-Anbar province west of Baghdad. The problem with this is that all the developing security problems are popping up in Baghdad – the entire purpose of the meeting.

Those problems in Baghdad are sectarian. They involve militias ethnically cleansing major neighborhoods in the city – mostly Shi’is pushing Sunnis out of the city and driving them either across the Euphrates River or making them into Syrian or Jordanian refugees. The Iraqi police, which have been infiltrated by the Badr Brigades (a Shiite militia) and the Mahdi Army (a Shiite militia), have been accused of these crimes. Maliki, who himself is a Shiite – as is most of his government – tried to sell his idea on the basis it involved Iraqis taking control of security.

Unfortunately, Maliki is also a malicious and developing tyrant who has essentially turned a blind eye to crimes perpetuated by Shiites against Sunnis, while trying to utilize every asset he has to only stamp out Sunni insurgent activity.

LAST MONTH, Shi’i Iraqi troops that were part of the latest security “surge” in Baghdad were accused of assaulting and raping a Sunni girl in her home. It turned into one of the most awkward domestic political disputes in modern Middle Eastern history. All Sunni politicians sympathized with the young girl – but all Shiite politicians accused her of fabricating the story. Within hours the Iraqi Prime Minister was hailing the soldiers as heroes. He refused to investigate the incident.

He is not the only sectarian politician in Iraq, but he is assuredly no many with whom the United States can work to secure the alleys of Baghdad – and thus the rest of the country. The suggestion US troops stay in al-Anbar provoked Bush to order the “surge,” BECAUSE Maliki was trying to get US troops out of the way so Shiite insurgents could freely impose their will on the Sunni inhabitants of the city. There is no reason to believe a Sunni Prime Minister might not do the same thing at this point in Iraqi history, but either scenario would only prove this point – Iraq has become what George W. Bush claimed to have been seeking to destroy – A TERRORIST STATE.

March 15, 2007

4 Years Ago: What I Remember from the Beginning of the Iraq War

by Gedalyah Reback

I initially saw the War against Terrorism (T.W.A.T.) as something important that had to be done. I watched everything fall apart on September 11th on television in my high school German classroom. I watched CNN and MSNBC for about a month up until the exact moment newscasters started announcing we were bombing Afghanistan on October 7th (too bad no one remembers that date without looking it up).

Either way, the media had me caught up in the action for months. It was one of the things that drove me toward studying the Middle East (even though I had already decided to do so because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict). I watched with intrigue wondering who we would strike next. I remember what should be seen as eerie reports on which countries would be the next “targets in the War on Terror.” News reports about Somalia, Iran, Lebanon, a slew of African countries and possibly Iraq were released within months of the attacks. Before long I began analyzing all these news reports. I started looking at what exactly made these countries newsworthy, and was glued to the History Channel.

Oh what an amazing advantage to live in an age where books were not necessary to become moderately intelligent, especially when you hate reading!

I felt I was on an intellectual high. I remember having to debate the issue of Iraq in both my History and Civics classes on the same day, in back-to-back class periods, while taking one side of the debate in the first class and the opposite argument in the next class – I won both debates. Regardless, I felt like I was the most learned about the issues for months (I was pretty freaking arrogant, but I thought I was respectful so it does not matter what you think).

Aside from my obvious genius, I did become confused and slightly frightened after a while when I decided that there was no logical reason to invade Iraq when Iran posed much more of a Middle Eastern and global danger – and the massive amount of domestic opposition to the Iranian regime would have been a lot cheaper of a tool for regime change in Iran than a military invasion of Iraq. I was barely against the war, but for practical reasons. I despised people who were accusing George W. Bush of trading “BLOOD FOR OIL” and was frustrated by people who were blindly following Bush’s logic on Iraq – considering after what I thought was a respectful look at the facts I did not understand that logic myself.

So I put my thoughts down on paper. Some big shot at the Philadelphia Inquirer edited it and BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA I had myself an editorial printed and published on Tuesday March 20th, 2003. It talked about the strategic blunder it would be to invade Iraq at this point, draining our military resources from other potential hotspots around the world. We were using our military to democratize the Middle East at an illogical starting point. I thought it made a lot more sense to crunch Iran and let it crumble under its own people’s pressure. We would have had a regional democratic superpower in Iran that would have been friendly to the United States. Too bad we had actually started dropping the bombs on Baghdad Monday night, March 19, 2003.

Some experts probably came to the same conclusions I did (about the overstretched military AND democratizing Iran), but the ones who were on the news every night were not necessarily advocating this view. Sometimes the most qualified are not necessarily correct, and the most amateur do not necessarily have to incorrect.

So my Mom basically snagged all the copied of the inquirer from the local convenience store before anyone had the chance to buy a copy of the biggest headline since 9/11.

Where am I going with this? I could go in a lot of different directions. I could talk about three things: how this was a proud moment in my life and an intellectual high point I have been aspiring to get back to; how I came to believe that the Iraq war was over money and business; how George W. Bush has essentially created a terrorist state in Iraq; or, MOST IMPORTANTLY, it is not too late to view the IRANIAN PEOPLE as the most important AGENT OF CHANGE in the Middle East and the Iranian government has been trying to frantically consolidate its own power over the last three years and still has its weak points. I feel like writing about all of them. I will get to them later.

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