Saturday, July 28, 2007

Iraq War: Without Purpose, Accountability, or End

We all know that our puppet "government" in Iraq recently missed all the benchmarks that were supposed to measure its progress. We all know that they'll be taking the month of August off, even as our troops continue to fight and die, unable even to take more time off between rotations because the Republicans blocked a bill that would have afforded them that little extra breather. Well, today's New York Times reports:
Iraq’s national government is refusing to take possession of thousands of American-financed reconstruction projects, forcing the United States either to hand them over to local Iraqis, who often lack the proper training and resources to keep the projects running, or commit new money to an effort that has already consumed billions of taxpayer dollars.

The conclusions, detailed in a report released Friday by the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, a federal oversight agency, include the finding that of 2,797 completed projects costing $5.8 billion, Iraq’s national government had, by the spring of this year, accepted only 435 projects valued at $501 million. Few transfers to Iraqi national government control have taken place since the current Iraqi government, which is frequently criticized for inaction on matters relating to the American intervention, took office in 2006.

The United States often promotes the number of rebuilding projects, like power plants and hospitals, that have been completed in Iraq, citing them as signs of progress in a nation otherwise fraught with violence and political stalemate. But closer examination by the inspector general’s office, headed by Stuart W. Bowen Jr., has found that a number of individual projects are crumbling, abandoned or otherwise inoperative only months after the United States declared that they had been successfully completed. The United States always intended to hand over projects to the Iraqi government when they were completed.
How nice.

Forget that it's a waste of billions of our tax dollars, because this speaks to the larger issue: this war is about nothing. It is about itself. We are not creating a democracy, we're not even creating a functioning government. We're creating death and destruction. For no reason. For the profits of the war profiteers, and for the deranged egos of the chickenhawks who are running it. There is no longer even a pretense that we're trying to accomplish anything. The excuses and explanations have absolutely nothing to do with the facts. Need more proof?

In England, the Guardian has this curious story:
The extent of the deterioration in US-Saudi relations was exposed for the first time yesterday when Washington accused Riyadh of working to undermine the Iraqi government.

The Bush administration warned Saudi Arabia, until this year one of its closest allies, to stop undermining the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.
Sounds serious. Our great ally is helping undermine our supposed cause in Iraq. We must do something about that. Right? Well, we are. The New York Times is also reporting:
The Bush administration is preparing to ask Congress to approve an arms sale package for Saudi Arabia and its neighbors that is expected to eventually total $20 billion at a time when some United States officials contend that the Saudis are playing a counterproductive role in Iraq....

But administration officials remained concerned that the size of the package and the advanced weaponry it contains, as well as broader concerns about Saudi Arabia’s role in Iraq, could prompt Saudi critics in Congress to oppose the package when Congress is formally notified about the deal this fall.

In talks about the package, the administration has not sought specific assurances from Saudi Arabia that it would be more supportive of the American effort in Iraq as a condition of receiving the arms package, the officials said.
See? That'll teach the Saudis not to mess with our war in Iraq!

The article does say that the Administration will attempt to stave off Congressional opposition by... selling more arms to Israel. Because the fact that the Saudis are undermining our cause in Iraq is irrelevant. There is no cause. The war just is. It must continue because it is. It must not end because then it wouldn't be. That's the fundamental "logic" of it.

And just for fun, we're also going to start arming local Iraqi Sunnis. The Washington Post has this one:
The U.S. military in Iraq is expanding its efforts to recruit and fund armed Sunni residents as local protection forces in order to improve security and promote reconciliation at the neighborhood level, according to senior U.S. commanders.

Within the past month, the U.S. military command in charge of day-to-day operations in Iraq ordered subordinate units to step up creation of the local forces, authorizing commanders to pay the fighters with U.S. emergency funds, reward payments and other monies.

The initiative, which extends to all Iraqis, represents at least a temporary departure from the established U.S. policy of building formally trained security forces under the control of the Iraqi government. It also provokes fears within the Shiite-led government that the new Sunni groups will use their arms against it, commanders said.
How long before these untrained local protection forces turn their weapons on our troops?

It just gets worse. It just keeps getting worse.

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