Does Iraq even matter anymore? We Westerners have a blazingly short attention span when it comes to kicking over other countries. Canadians were focused on Iraq for a while when Jean Chretien declined Bush's invitation to join the party (for which that moron, Stephen Harper roundly condemned not just Chretien but Canada itself). Then there was the conquest and the looting. Abu Ghraib sent us into a state of high dudgeon, although we were just a tad sanctimonious about it. Then there was the online execution of Saddam Hussein and, with that, we began to turn the page. At the 11th hour, Bush threw in his star quarterback, David Petraeus, for the Hail Mary play, the Surge, that supposedly clinched the game in the dying seconds.
Now it's becoming apparent the Surge was mainly smoke and mirrors. As discussed here yesterday, "In Baghdad It's 2007 Again," the targeted assassination of Iraqi police and security officials has resumed in Baghdad. Moqtada al Sadr is back from Iran. Al Qaeda is resurgent. The Kurds are becoming insistent on gaining autonomy over Kirkuk and its massive oilfields. And the cornerstone of the Surge, the Sunni resistance is changing sides once again. The Sunni problem is discussed in today's New York Times:
Although there are no firm figures, security and political officials say hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Beyond that, officials say that even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.
The Awakening members’ switch in loyalties poses a new threat to Iraq’s tenuous social and political balance during the country’s ongoing political crisis and as the United States military prepares to withdraw next year.
“The Awakening doesn’t know what the future holds because it is not clear what the government intends for them,” said Nathum al-Jubouri, a former Awakening Council leader in Salahuddin Province who recently quit the organization.
“At this point, Awakening members have two options: Stay with the government, which would be a threat to their lives, or help Al Qaeda by being a double agent,” he said. “The Awakening is like a database for Al Qaeda that can be used to target places that had been out of reach before.”
Think of all the lives taken, by some accounts over a hundred thousand civilians, the million plus Iraqis displaced, America's thousands of casualties and the trillion dollars plus of borrowed money Washington squandered on this Iraq venture. Was hanging one despot really worth all those lives, all that treasure? Madness.