Monday, June 11, 2007

Look behind the curtain

By Creature

There have been many articles in recent days alerting us to the fact the the US military in Iraq is not only negotiating with Sunni insurgents they are actively arming them to help fight al Qaeda. This new, and desperate, policy is fraught with danger -- arms used against al Qaeda can kill Americans just the same -- and it's not clear that the alliances formed can hold together long enough for the job to be done. However, as he often does, Steve Benen gets to the heart of the issue:

Maybe this strategy will work like a charm. Maybe Sunni militias will be effective in battling al Qaeda and will never turn on those they consider “occupiers.” Maybe we’ll support those who were up until recently killing Americans, and they’ll consider us, for now, the enemy of their enemy. Maybe they’ll eventually lay down arms and agree to some kind of reconciliation in an Iraqi political context. We’ll see.

But in the meantime, I have a question: if Sunnis in Iraq are anxious to take up arms in order to drive al Qaeda from their country, what are we still doing there? If counter-terrorism is the goal, and we can withdraw and let Iraqis do it themselves, why don’t we?

But the problem here is that counter-terrorism is only Bush's stated goal. It's the underlying, and overriding, goal of controlling the oil that keeps us in Iraq and will keep us there for years to come. Even if al Qaeda were to announce tomorrow that they are leaving the fight, the Bush Administration will still find a reason to keep our boots on the ground until the oil is secure. I hate to be so cynical, but not being cynical is simply being naive.

(Cross-posted at State of the Day.)

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