I don’t know why this is, but Iraq continues to be such a distraction for the United States that other aspects of the “War on Terror” have been horribly neglected. I can attribute media and popular awareness of Afghanistan and Somalia and Chechnya to ignorance but I don’t know why the government is only concentrating on Iraq.
Take for example the news that the Taliban is openly unfurling its fundamentalist sharia law in North Waziristan, according to the Fourth Rail, which quotes Pakistani sources. The last few months have seen the Taliban seize autonomous regions for themselves where they brazenly fly Al-Qaeda and Taliban flags, and execute “spies”. Training camps are left alone by NATO and the US. The best Bush can conjure up is that he respects Pakistan’s sovereignty.
Meanwhile, in Somalia, Muslim fundamentalists now control Mogadishu and are warring with the previous government. Al-Qaeda is rumored to be moving into the region and capitalizing on its disconnectedness.
The US needs to immediately send Special Operations forces to Afghanistan/Waziristan like it did soon after 9/11. It needs to send advisors to Somalia. This is getting ridiculous. You could not ask for a worse security situation than continuing to focus on Iraq and neglect everywhere else.
Along with these possibly covert operations, there needs to be foreign policy change, and chiefly that means disengagement from Iraq. Americans are so confused; they want to believe that they actually care about the plight of the Iraqis and the future of democratic freedom, but they don’t really give a shit. They certainly don’t care about the security of Iraq’s neighbors. Americans just don’t want to be proven wrong. They don’t want their military to look bad. “Support the troops,” they blurt out, as the little good-will fairies on their shoulders tell them that every wave of a flag kills a terrorist.
And the people who are against the Iraq “war” are missing a huge opportunity to present concrete plans to fight terrorism. I don’t understand their agenda. Are they really that clueless? And why won’t the Administration tackle Waziristan? What’s REALLY going on here?
The U.S. has to get into Waziristan. But obviously Musharraf has issues with that because consorting with Americans is akin to committing suicide. The U.S. has to frame their activities as purely strategic and advisory. Combining this with an attitude of recognizing strong centers of Muslim power (Iran, Syria) would offset our polluting Muslim land.
We are training an entire Iraqi Army that will disband when we leave and sow upheaval for the next few decades. We are avoiding any discussion with Iran until it gives up its nuclear ambitions, which it has no reason to. We warn Syria (Sunni Ba’athist) and Iran (Shi’ite) not to try to influence Iraq. We dissolved all governmental institutions in Iraq. It’s almost as though our policy in Iraq is to destabilize it. Some argue that point to the extreme.
I don’t know. It’s as if everyone’s in a parallel world. Oh god, what will the Iraq Study Group tell us next??!! SAVE US, IRAQ STUDY GROUP! Is it a civil war yet??? Does Al-Qaeda even exist or what???? It’s madness!
Another concern that I want to mention, after having watched part of “Shadow Company”, a documentary about PMCs (Private Military Contractors), is that the ongoing “War on Terror” is producing tens to hundreds of thousands of unemployed soldiers. I witnessed this first-hand when I attended my briefing for career development for soldiers leaving the Army. The classroom was full, as it was attended by all the 101st soldiers who had been stop-lossed for their last year in Iraq. Virtually everyone in the classroom was young and skilled only in mainly military undertakings. A good percentage of them wanted to go into law enforcement and military contracting.
These were typical Army guys. High-and-tights. Muscular. Probably attitude problems. Not too bright. And they wanted to be law enforcement.
I think we will see this manifest itself in a more volatile population of police officers (read: brutality and excessive force) and a boom in mercenary hiring worldwide as more and more conflicts smolder as a result of 9/11 politics.