Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Post-Pentagon Peter Pace Preaches Petulant Perfidy

Check out this quote from Peter Pace, outgoing chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
One of the mistakes I made in my assumptions going in was that the Iraqi people and the Iraqi army would welcome liberation, that the Iraqi army, given the opportunity, would stand together for the Iraqi people and be available to them to help serve the new nation,”
IF Pace is being honest here, (and that is a big if for reasons which I will detail shortly) that is one of the most wrong headed and stupid statements in the history of wrong headed stupid statements. Lets take the misconceptions in this quote one at a time...

The Iraqi people and Iraqi army would welcome liberation? In all the history of humankind there are very rarely instances in which a nation has welcomed an invasion and occupation. It is ingrained into the human condition to resist occupation. How a military man would ever think our armies would be welcomed into the very heart of Arabia as an occupation force simply boggles the imagination.

The administration and their spokes puppies can use happy optimistic terms to describe our presence in Iraq, but it doesn't change the very fundamental human condition everybody should be able to understand. Imagine living in a backwards country and having the benevolent Chinese march in and liberate your homeland. They would preach their great new system and how wonderful life will be once communism flowered in your neck of the woods... and chances are very good that you and I would resist them. We did it with the British, the British did it to the Romans, and that pattern can be traced back in human history to the times when cave men were peeing on trees to mark their territory. Grawg may have thought of a bright new way of running his clan of neanderthals back in the day, but the backwards clan across the valley still clubbed him senseless when he decided to take them over, no matter how enlightened a leader he was.

So where Pace and the rest of the gang came up with the notion that we could just plop our army into the Arabian desert and start running the show while the natives applauded is simply a mystery. Actually, perhaps Chalabi means mystery in Arabian.

The next misconception Pace labored under is what causes me to question the veracity of his statement in the first place. Pace says that he thought: "the Iraqi army, given the opportunity, would stand together for the Iraqi people and be available to them to help serve the new nation".

Pace must have been channeling President Bush because the President claimed just last month that he intended from the start to keep the Iraqi military and that Paul Bremer had gotten a wild hair one day and just changed that policy out of the blue. Bremer produced evidence that the President was on board with the policy... and the entire world chalked this up as yet another Bush prevarication with an eye on receiving a more favorable judgement from history. But now Pace is talking about the Iraqi army "given the opportunity" being on board with our goals in Iraq. Given the opportunity... of not being disbanded by the authority which Bush set up after Saddam? Does Pace mean to imply that what happened to the Iraqi Army was somehow their own fault? Like they disbanded themselves or something... while Bremer and the President did their level best to keep them patched together, only to surrender to the inevitable outcome predestined by the fecklessness of the Iraqi military. Or something like that...

Erm, that would be the wrong answer Pete. The Iraqi military never had the opportunity you now attempt to finger as a reason for the failure of our policy in Iraq. The context of the quote makes it appear that Pace faults the Iraqi military, by including it in a sentence in which he also expresses the belief that he expected the Iraqi people to be more welcoming. It is true that the Iraqi army was not available to serve the new nation, but it was our own fault, not theirs. There should be no mistake in this regard. Pace may not want to sound like it but he is condemning the Bush administrations decisions and policies as wrong headed, not the supposed inability of the Iraqi military to remain a cohesive force absent other considerations.

The Pace admission of error is akin to one of those so called apologies which really isn't. In effect he is saying "I was mistaken for thinking the Iraqi's would not screw things up". It's still all their fault by that logic. It's like those infuriating non apologies along the lines of "I'm sorry if you are offended"... which is another way of saying "I'm sorry if you are wrong, but I'm not really sorry for anything I did".

Well I don't believe Pace in this admission of error simply because we can show that American policy all along was to disband the military, and common sense dictates that people don't want to live under occupation. However, if he is being honest, that in itself should be proof enough of the disastrous thinking and wrong headed leadership which has led us to the point we are at now. So which is worse in your book? Blatant dishonesty or rampant incompetence?

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