One man's view of the world, from the top of this great big rock somewhere in the middle of God's Country, with an eye toward freedom....or at least some way to get back down without goin' over the edge.

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Location: West Virginia, United States

Former U.S. Army, SPC E-4, Veteran of Operation Desert Storm. If you are or have ever been a soldier, you have friends in my house.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

As If Iraq Wasn't Having Enough Problems....

I have never much read the L.A. Times, mostly because -- and I thank my lucky stars for this -- I don't live in L.A. But even if I did live there, I have found another reason to not read this rag.

Apparently, they don't see a problem with giving precious column space to dumbass ideas like this one, as written by Niall Ferguson (link courtesy of Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive):

Yet even if the president were in a position to send in 215,000 extra men, I doubt they would suffice to halt the civil war. Why? Because, having been the war makers who precipitated Baghdad's descent into anarchy, U.S. forces now lack the legitimacy to be regarded as peacemakers.

Bush's medium-term goal of handing over responsibility for law and order to the Iraqi security forces is also fatally flawed. Left to their own devices, those forces will become at best ineffective and at worst active participants in the civil war.

For these reasons, I see only one credible alternative to Bush's strategy: U.S. forces should hand over responsibility for Iraq's security not to the Iraqis but to a new force provided by the United Nations.

Here's part of Unca J's response:

Let's indulge the fantasy and magic 150,000 Malaysians, Ghanians, and unionized Dutch troops to Iraq with all kinds of brand new gear. They have no common operating procedures, often don't even speak the same language, and have exactly zero experience fighting counter-insurgency. Sounds like a winning hand to me. Maybe we just didn't paint our helmets the right color.

If Ferguson had been paying any attention at all to what the vaunted "peacekeepers" at the UN have accomplished in the Democratic Republic of the Congo after being there since 1999, according to this April 2006 report from the Global Policy forum (link courtesy of Don Surber), he might have thought twice about making himself look this stupid.
The report itself is in PDF format and is rather long, so here's an excerpt or two:

In 2006, DRC continues to endure the world’s deadliest
humanitarian crisis, with more than 38,000 people dying every
month as direct and indirect consequences of the armed conflict
according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC).
Approximately 45 percent of these deaths occur among children
under age 18. In addition, children are targets of human rights
violations committed by armed forces and groups on a daily
basis. The overwhelming majority of these crimes are committed
in an environment of utter impunity

...All armed forces and groups continue to perpetrate rape and
sexual violence against girls and women. The victims of rape or
other forms of sexual violence in DRC are believed to number
in the hundreds of thousands. In many cases, the rapes are characterized
by severe cruelty, including against young girls and
sometimes boys...

...Armed forces and groups also pillage and loot hospitals and
other medical facilities. As a result of these attacks and the general
devastation of the nation’s healthcare system, children are
dying each year from preventable causes, such as malnutrition,
malaria, diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, measles,
tuberculosis and others.
The war has left the nation largely with
out drugs, medical equipment and skilled medical personnel,
and with the national health infrastructure in a state of collapse...

And there's this:

...In addition to the six egregious violations identified by the
United Nations Security Council, children in DRC continue
to face a spectrum of other horrific abuses and crimes. These
include: forced displacement, forced labor, forced involvement
in the illicit exploitation of natural resources and others.
Approximately 150 cases of sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA)
by United Nations (UN) personnel have been uncovered and

And let's not even talk about Darfur.

And THIS is what Niall wants Iraq to become? Geez, what'd they do to HIM, piss in his lunchbox or something?

I will agree with him on one point. I, too, believe that 21,000-odd extra troops ain't gonna be enough.

But, unless the new guy in Turtle Bay starts making some drastic changes soon, it's better than anything we would get out of the Useless Nations.

UPDATE: 21,000 troops not enough? Hmm...perhaps I spoke too soon.