This one is by reader T-Bone…
If we’re going to stay in Iraq, we need a new strategy. Unfortunately, I have no faith in the current administration of seeing reality or any solutions.
Now as I understand things, Al-Qaeda operates as a decentralized network. There is no head or director of operations to cut off. It’s just like you and a few of your friends, with some of your friends who know these other friends, and so on. And there’s no way to tell a terrorist apart from an Iraqi.
In Iraq, unemployment and desperate poverty is rampant… numbering in the millions, and surprisingly is getting worse! Inflation and the large amounts of reconstruction money being lost to corruption are just making the problem worse. So to make a buck (or 50 bucks), many Iraqis have found a decent employer… The terrorists. They plant bombs, shoot people, and do other simple tasks to make a buck to feed their families and themselves. A friend of mine in the army tells me about the guys they catch planting IEDs, how they are just doing it for the money, but are otherwise just an impoverish Iraqi nobody.
That presents another problem… We’re not catching the real terrorists when we catch these “errand runners”. We catch small-time “criminals” (if you can call working for necessities criminal). The number of IEDs in Iraq have been increasing tremendously (although deaths from them have remained steady). I’d guess that this is caused by Al-Qaeda becoming more connected to more of these poor unemployed Iraqis, developing a network of sorts… the kind of stuff we probably should be doing… And of course we have the sectarian violence as well, which I’d guess is related to poverty and unemployment as well.
In any case, thats a lot of bombs. Please tell me we have a ton of bomb sniffing dogs over there walking the streets… I’m sure people who spend time in an improvised bomb factory don’t have the chance to shower and wash their clothes before they leave… Where’s the suggestion box where I send these ideas? Hmm, nevermind, even the generals of the military aren’t allowed to make suggestions…
What can we do? But now that we’re done watching American Idol, perhaps we can start feeling like we’re at war in terms of the economy, like in the old days of the World Wars. We haven’t changed our habits at all here. We’re out there buying things on our credit cards, while the government continues to spend spend spend us into huge deficits, even while giving our richest more tax breaks, while the fed keeps interest rates extremely low to try to do what the tax cuts for the rich won’t ever do — grow the economy, and those low interest rates allow us to buy home we can’t afford while driving up inflation.
Well why don’t we reverse those tax cuts for the rich that we can’t afford, actually invest real money and sacrifice into the reconstruction, humanitarian, and employment efforts in Iraq, and perhaps show a little bit of willingness to sacrifice that troops on the ground show. And maybe, just maybe, we can start a new slogan for consumers…
Economically speaking if we’re going to solve Iraq’s unemployment problems, we’re going to have to provide lots of money. And I don’t think just any unskilled worker can take part in certain reconstruction efforts. So we can either do it through hiring unskilled Iraqi’s to dig and refill holes, or other forms of inefficiency for the sake of hiring people, or we can provide a market for real goods paid for by consumers who at least get something out of the deal. There must be a way. Maybe subsidize the goods. Hey, how bout a little “communism” to go along with the “democracy”, where our government owns the means of production for a while… For their retirement plan, we’ll give them shares of stock in the business. Who cares if the businesses need to go in the red a little bit, at least that red isn’t blood red. Because honestly, I don’t think capitalism is working too well right now in that situation over there. Who wants to open a business in Iraq?
Cactus here… and this post ties in nicely with something I’ve been noting for a very long time – since the point when we’ve been treated to the incessant “things are wonderful in Iraq, just look at all the painted schoolhouses” story-line. As I noted, none of the folks who peddle that story line seem willing to take their families on a vacation to Iraq. T-Bone reminds us that they don’t have to risk their lives to put their money where their mouths are.