Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Happy Loyalty Day and this week’s bad news from Iraq

with 4 comments

What the hell does this have to do with May Day?

I had a post about Loyalty Day worked up, but it was pretty boring so I’m folding into a bunch of recent bad news from Iraq. What the hell is Loyalty Day? Loyalty Day was cooked up in by the US congress in 1921 as a counterpart to the communist May Day celebration. Americans are supposed to celebrate their freedoms and re-affirm their loyalty to America. I’m OK with the former, and I’m OK with the later as long as it is loyalty to our nation, not loyalty to the government or the guy sitting in the White House. As long as we are a nation of free citizens, our leaders have to earn our loyalty. And that pretty much covers Loyalty Day, have a great one. Or May Day or whatever you and yours are celebrating this fine day. Now that’s freedom…celebrate the holiday of your choice!

Anyhow, speaking of leaders, holidays, and all that…there’s some good news from Iraq. The leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq was reportedly killed. Well, actually it’s kind of mixed news. Al-Qaeda is not a terribly hierarchical organization, so the loss of any one person is not terribly significant. And with any violent gang, a dead leader often gets replaced with a younger more violence prone leader. Worse, Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been evolving into a native Iraqi group, which is bad news indeed. As long as they were mostly foreigners, they commanded little loyalty in Iraq. Another fine example of how the invasion and occupation of Iraq is making things worse, not better.

Things really aren’t going terribly well in Iraq, for those readers who haven’t been following the news the past four years. A new report on American trained Iraqi security forces is depressing. Over three hundred thousand have been trained, but they are described as a “motley crew” at best. They are inadequately trained, poorly equipped, and have low morale. Absenteeism runs as high as 25% on a daily basis. In other words, they aren’t going to be taking over security in Iraq any time soon.

Reconstruction isn’t going very well either. Most of the projects that have been completed have already fallen apart or simply been looted bare. Fortunately, our administration knows where to place the blame in this case: reconstruction failed failed because of the Iraqis. Well, thank God, Bush is off the hook. Snort. It’s amazing how many of the failures in Iraq are the fault of everyone on the planet except the people who conceived of, planned, and executed the invasion and occupation. Reconstruction has failed because Bush has pretended from day one of the occupation that a handful of troops could do a job that required far more troops. If we had actually had enough troops in Iraq to maintain law and order, the whole situation would have turned out a lot better.

And in more fun news from Iraq, turns out billions of dollars worth of their oil is being stolen. How much of Iraq’s oil is being stolen? No one knows. Haliburton and other American contractors just haven’t managed to get around to fixing the meters on the oil pipelines, even though to do so would be relatively cheap and easy. Basically this is like letting someone run a gas station with a broken meter and trusting them to pay you for the gas they “sell.” The old folks called this “putting the fox in charge of the hen house.” Nowadays it’s known as Bush Administration Policy.

A Bigger US Army? And in another case of too little too late, Gen. George Casey, the army’s chief of staff, wants to speed up a planned increased in the size of the US army. I’m not even sure what to make of this. Unless they institute a draft, this is only going to be accomplished by further lowering standards or further use of the back door draft, the so called stop-loss orders. Since the standards are already lower than they have ever been, not to mention the age limits as high as they have ever been, this is going to be depressing.

Hell, the whole Iraq scene is already too depressing for words. Riverbend, the famous blogger who has been reporting the facts from Baghdad (and pissing off the war apologists so much they have put up fake blogs to try and deflect traffic from her site) is finally fleeing the country it’s gotten so bad. She also points out that before the occupation there was no Sunni/Shiite strife, it was about the same as the Catholic/Protestant strife in the USA. Another fine legacy of possibly the most botched invasion and occupation in history. I pray her and her loved ones reach safety, Hell, I pray everyone in Iraq someday reaches safety including our troops. Who mostly would also like to leave Iraq, just as an aside.

I honestly still can’t decide if the Bush and company are the stupidest conquerers in history, or if the goal all along was to transform Iraq into a permanent failed state. If the former, well, I also plan on blogging a list of the mind numbingly stupid things they have done. Sort of as a compliment to my upcoming “Pentagon Lies” list. If the later, my God, they are diabolically clever and have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. Since “diabolically clever” and “George W. Bush” are not normally associated with each other, I fear the former.

Aren’t you glad this wasn’t another depressing global warming blog? The latest bad news on that front will have to wait till another day. Again, Happy Holiday everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and it is central…OK, peripheral to illustrating the post. Consider it a holiday suggestion. I got tired of looking for an appropriate May Day picture and I came across this one which made me laugh, and that was that. It is from Kittens of Darkness, a wonderful site who have had their pictures pilfered and distributed far and wide without attribution, so I am pleased to be able to give credit where credit is due.)


Written by unitedcats

May 1, 2007 at 8:29 am

4 Responses

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  1. A word of caution re Riverbend. One must bear in mind that she is Sunni:

    What Riverbend says always has to be taken with a grain of salt … since she invariably represents a totally one-sided perspective–that of the formerly dominant Sunni Arab minority–in a society polarized by ethnic & sectarian conflicts. … Riverbend simply cannot comprehend why any other Iraqis, including great majorities of Iraqi Shiites and Kurds (who add up to some 80% of the Iraqi population), might see the situation differently from the way she does, and might find it harder to think of pre-2003 Iraq as the good old days.


    May 1, 2007 at 11:56 am

  2. But riverbend isn’t the only one saying what she’s saying:

    Iraqi Sunnis Battle To Defend Shiites (Aug 2005)

    Rising up against insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, Iraqi Sunni Muslims in Ramadi fought with grenade launchers and automatic weapons Saturday to defend their Shiite neighbors against a bid to drive them from the western city, Sunni leaders and Shiite residents said.

    […] The clashes killed five of Zarqawi’s guerrillas and two tribal fighters, residents and hospital workers said. Zarqawi loyalists pulled out of two contested neighborhoods in pickup trucks stripped of license plates, witnesses said.

    The leaders of four of Iraq’s Sunni tribes had rallied their fighters in response to warnings posted in mosques by followers of Zarqawi.

    […] A grateful Shiite resident of Ramadi said he was not surprised at the threats by Zarqawi’s followers or the defiance of them. “So many ties of friendship, marriage and compassion” bind Shiites and Sunnis in Ramadi, said Ali Hussein Lifta, a 50-year-old air-conditioning repairman and a resident of Tameem.


    May 1, 2007 at 2:25 pm

  3. Thanks for that input, MisterLister. If the Sunnis and the Shi’ites continue to fight shoulder to shoulder against “al Qaeda in Iraq”, that would be a very positive development.

    There’s not a lot of good news from Iraq, but this story qualifies as such.


    May 2, 2007 at 7:48 am

  4. It was good news back in 2005.
    But not the sort of news that travels well in an atmosphere of “fight them there” when “they” didn’t have any power there until the invasion. And “they” are an enemy of the people Bush attacked and invaded.

    Of course, it works better in the “tide is turning” mood of the surge. Predating the surge won’t make any difference. There’ll be plenty of examples of Sunni Vs Al-Qaeda to come. All new and never heard of before. Unprecedented, in fact. Not.


    May 2, 2007 at 10:05 am

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