did all, and our enemies did nothing
--Idler #30, Samuel Johnson
Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
--Dream a Little Dream of Me, Walter Adolphus
A recent New York Times piece proclaimed, "American and Iraqi Forces Control Half of Baghdad." Sounds like a strategic step forward in the next five year plan.
But couldn't the headline just as easily have read, "American and Iraqi Forces DON'T Control half of Baghdad"?
And of course, controlling or not controlling half of the capital is meaningless if the adversaries of freedom and democracy are simply laying low. It is called consolidation and reorganization. Let the U.S. control whatever ground they occupy, since they will be gone tomorrow, or the day after. . .but they will be gone.
In one-third of all Baghdad neighborhoods there are operations under way to “remove all enemy forces and eliminate resistance” said Maj. General Joseph Fil, the American commander in Baghdad. Removing all enemy forces sounds great, but there are no invading, identifiable maneuver forces that are clearly identifiable.
The referenced enemy forces are actually nothing more than the Iraqi citizens themselves. Obviously, if the U.S. successfully removes and eliminates these forces, dissent will be gone, for the moment. Critics call it the "Whack-a-mole"strategy, driving insurgents out of one area only to have them pop up in another.
It reminds me of a milblog posting I read yesterday via Slate on observations of the night desert, by Teflon Dan at acutepolitics:
"Once I saw what seemed to be a herd of scorpions moving blackly across the road, pinchers waving. Camel spiders emerge from holes, skittering impossibly fast in search of those same armored denizens. Scattered across the desert are moving dirt bumps that turn into hedgehogs as you approach."
The insurgent diaspora lies in wait, like the post's "dirt bumps" waiting to be transformed into hedgehogs. The arrogance of the U.S. to imagine it otherwise.
Three quarters of the way through we read, "American forces had gone into only a small corner" of the Sadr City slum, "a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad and a stronghold of Moktada al-Sadr, anti-American Shiite cleric. American commanders have held off trying to clear the area of militia fighters, fearing that it would set off a fierce street-to-street battle."
They plan on that move once they have armed enough volunteers (=Sunni militias), who have promised they will eventually join the regular Iraqi police units.
Right-o. The U.S. will arm the Sunnis to the teeth , and of course, these weapons will be used exclusively against U.S. designated targets. Sweet dreams.