Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Seeds of Insurgency: The Conclusion

Posted by AmishThrasher at 8:34 pm
Rumsfeld shakes hands with Saddam:
Nothing to see here...
Over the past 5 days, the AmishThrasher has run a series of posts examining the key reasons why many ordinary Iraqi citizens may be supporting the current Insurgency in Iraq. In doing so, we have seen a wide variety of reasons why this is the case. This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of the reasons for the popular support of the insurgency, but rather an examination of 5 key issues, or motivations, which has seen the War get to the point where it has today.

The AmishThrasher does not not support the Insurgency in Iraq. Rather, the motivations for running this series has been to help promote public debate about why a war which, in the face of promises by various politicians, continues to see more death and destruction every day. Honest public debate on how to address the issues discussed in this series, as well as the other reasons for popular support for the insurgency - and how to deal with these issues - is essential if there is to be any hope of peace in Iraq.

The popular press seems keen to suggest that the bulk of the insurgency is being carried out by foreign, or Islamist terrorists. Conflating Islamic extremism with all the insurgents is both simple-minded and counter-productive. To have any hope in Iraq at all depends on winning hearts and minds of the nationalist element of this insurgency, and the sections of the Iraqi public which supports it. Avoiding doing so will almost inevitably lead to more needless carnage and death.

Not all of these 5 factors are the products of poor planning at the time of the invasion - the British Mandate of Iraq was in place decades before the second Gulf War. But the failure to adequately address them is. The politicians responsible need to be held accountable, and this can only happen through honest public examination of the insurgency, and its causes. Politicians - on both sides of politics - rank somewhere between used car salesmen and snake oil salesmen in terms of trustworthiness. You will have noticed that the AmishThrasher has extensively quoted old news stories - the reason for doing so is that numerous politicians have made comments to the public in the past, many of which seemingly don't stack up with reality. If these comments are made by misinformed politicians, in a Post 9/11 world, that's terrible. If they lie intentionally to us, and our troops, that's worse. And at a time of war, when the lives of both our troops and civilians are on the line, it is thoroughly unacceptable.

As Australians, we face an additional dilemma: how long to support the War in Iraq. In order to decide this, we must have a key list of objectives that will lead to the United States winning the peace, and a timeline. While Australia's relationship to the United States is important, we must not get ourselves involved in another Vietnam as a result of it. The Australian government must have a clear time-line, and a clear understanding that failure to adhere to it will lead to Australia withdrawing its support for the Iraq War.

Where we go from here is up for question. That death and destruction will come from a lack of debate or accountability is not.