Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bases & Politics

Michael Yon has the McCaffrey report and here is an interesting portion of it:
Mr. Maliki has no political power base and commands no violent militias who have direct allegiance to him personally—making him a non-player in the Iraqi political struggle for dominance in the post-US withdrawal period which looms in front of the Iraqi people.

However, there is growing evidence of the successful re-constitution of local and provincial government. Elections for provincial government are vitally important to creating any possible form of functioning Iraqi state.
Source: Michael Yon – General Barry R McCaffrey Report
One observation I have had for a long time is how what we were doing in Iraq is in complete opposition to how we view life and how to organize things. Our society is driven by bottoms-up effort. In Iraq it is the opposite, we expect things to flow from the top down and as General McCaffrey observes it is not working.

Not only is Maliki's main weakness is the fact he does not sit atop a militia all the major players in Iraqi national politics do have militias. That is strongman politics more suited to Somalia than in a nation we hope becomes a united and semi-liberal nation.

Also, General McCaffrey notes the successful re-constitution of local and provincial government.Source: ibid Pretty darn interesting. The government closest to the people is the governmental units first starting to get their acts together. Michael Yon has told numerous stories of how the old way of doing things is slowly giving way to a new way.

The old way was denial of services & goods to unfavored groups and flow of goods & services to favored ones. I recall reading one of Yon's dispatch where a Sunni mayor had to deal with a Shia warehouse manager who was not releasing food to his city because the Shia mayor feared the food would end up in AQI's hands. Eventually, the situation was resolved not with guns, but by working it out face to face – the new way.

Yeah, it would be easier to find another strongman (or let the strongmen fight it out and the last one standing is the new leader of Iraq) and get out, but is that right? Would we have to return? In order, no and yes.

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