Troop Speak

Mr. Bush likes to say that his wars are bigger than politics and that major decisions belong to the generals, rather than Washington legislators. Repeatedly we’ve been told that this general or that would deliver the truth about Iraq and competently (as only a general can do) map out the next step in Bush’s military adventures.

That Bush has simply ignored or fired several generals who were not appropriately competent has gone mostly unremarked upon by the war-think media. They even continue to trumpet the coming report of the latest expert — General Petraeus — even as Bush has made clear that the General won’t actually be delivering the report and that the report won’t actually be his. Sigh.

If only he would listen to real experts:

A few nights ago, for example, we witnessed the death of one American soldier and the critical wounding of two others when a lethal armor-piercing explosive was detonated between an Iraqi Army checkpoint and a police one. Local Iraqis readily testified to American investigators that Iraqi police and army officers escorted the triggermen and helped plant the bomb. These civilians highlighted their own predicament: Had they informed the Americans of the bomb before the incident, the Iraqi Army, the police or the local Shiite militia would have killed their families.

As many grunts will tell you, this is a near-routine event. Reports that a majority of Iraqi army commanders are now reliable partners can be considered only misleading rhetoric. The truth is that battalion commanders, even if well meaning, have little to no influence over the thousands of obstinate men under them, in an incoherent chain of command, who are really loyal only to their militias.

Short version: everything we’ve been told about the US standing down as the Iraqi army stands up is total bushit. And tying our withdrawal to such bushit is insane.

Given the situation, it is important not to assess security from an American-centered perspective. The ability of, say, American observers to safely walk down the streets of formerly violent towns is not a resounding indicator of security. What matters is the experience of the local citizenry and the future of our counterinsurgency. When we take this view, we see that a vast majority of Iraqis feel increasingly insecure and view us as an occupation force that has failed to produce normalcy after four years and is increasingly unlikely to do so as we continue to arm each warring side.

Coupling our military strategy to an insistence that the Iraqis meet political benchmarks for reconciliation is also unhelpful. The morass in the government has fueled confusion while providing no semblance of security to average Iraqis. Leaders are far from arriving at a lasting political settlement. This should not be surprising, since a lasting political solution will not be possible while the military situation remains in flux.

Why do these surrender monkey troops hate the troops so much?

Michael Sky