Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Sy/Raq: Creepy Mission Or Mission Creep?

First published in DelawareLiberal by ProgressivePopulist on 7/1/2014
300 more to Iraq, for a total of 800.  But we're told, no boots on the ground.  Just security forces for the 500 already there, mostly in the Taj Majal U.S. Embassy, just a few in foward positions as "advisors".  Sound familiar?  It does for those of us who survived the 60's and 70's.

So, if these brave souls are not boots on the ground, are they disarmed?  Are they all boots but no arms?  give me a break.  Hopefully, for their own good they're armed to the teeth.  Because ISIS, reportedly about 10,000 strong scattered between Syria and Iraq, is armed to the hilt.  By whom you ask?  Reportedly by our petro-allies the Saudi's and the families that run their neighboring oil soaked petro-nations.  You know, the good folks we still depend on to  power our carbon-saturated nation.

Now for the creepy part.  This hand full of advisors are going to fix in a few weeks or months what thousands of our uniformed people didn't get right or didn't get done in several years before we hauled out of there, evicted as it were by those we brung to the table?  At this scale, looks like just a few loose ends to tie up.  But on closer examination, there's a load more to fix than a few loose ends with the Iraqi military and policing forces.  Too many blanks to fill in here to make me feel comfortable that this is just a non-war making advisory mission.

Rumors too about drones, not to mention carriers and warships bobbing on the waves nearby, loaded with missiles and bomb tonnage.   And megabucks being allocated for "moderate" anti-government forces in Syria.  So this is just psychological warfare?  Give me a break.  This is lock and load time for both Syria and Iraq.

And tell me again how we can with any confidence identify the moderates from the fanatics in Syria?  The right wing blogsphere is loaded with stories about our having trained Syrian opposition fighters in Jordon with a couple of other allies, only to have some of them defect to ISIS.  Similar unsubstantiated reports have emerged in TruthDig and RT.com.  Juan Cole, a respected Michigan middle east scholar similarly reports such training by our CIA starting in 2012, citing Jordan government sources.

But  even if these reports are not true, what guarantees against the defection of the Syrian moderates we fund to the ISIS crazies?  How good is our historical track record in that sophisticated  understanding of middle eastern culture and political dynamics?  Remember how we funded Al Qaeda as our proxies vs. the Soviets in Afghanistan?  Ok, enough of the creepy part.

Now the mission part.  What exactly are we to achieve?  In Syria, a new regime as reliable as the one we crafted in Iraq?   Really?  In Iraq, a restoration of a unity government as strong as the totalitarian regime it took, under tyrant Sadaam to hold things together?  Wasn't there a lesson  in there somewhere ?

Would someone please articulate for me a mission worth creeping toward?