While the Democrats in Washington are doing there best to sabotage the president’s best efforts to bring the situation in Iraq under control, the Iraqi government has just given them all of the ammunition they need to start pushing legislation through that would require the Bush administration to begin pulling U.S. armed forces out of the Iraqi theater.

(Times Online article)
America’s refusal to give Baghdad’s security forces sufficient guns and equipment has cost a great number of lives, the Iraqi Prime Minister said yesterday.

Nouri al-Maliki said the insurgency had been bloodier and prolonged because Washington had refused to part with equipment. If it released the necessary arms, US forces could “dramatically? cut their numbers in three to six months, he told The Times.

Asked how long Iraq would require US troops, Mr al-Maliki said: “If we succeed in implementing the agreement between us to speed up the equipping and providing weapons to our military forces, I think that within three to six months our need for American troops will dramatically go down. That is on condition that there are real, strong efforts to support our military forces and equipping and arming them.?

Although this plays right into the hands of democratic philosophy of letting the Iraqis mop up the insurgents and getting our troops out of Iraq in six months, it is not only impractical, it’s improbable. If the Iraqis haven’t been able to become self sufficient in 4 years, how can we expect them to get a handle on the situation in the next 6 months?

The Bush administration has given literally tons of money and hundreds of tons of equipment, guns, ammunition and assorted munitions to the Iraqis only to have much of it ending up either unaccounted for and, even worse, in the hands of the insurgents and militia organizations.

A L.A. Times article from June 22, 2005 that was reposted today at CommonDreams.org illustrates the extreme measures the U.S. government has gone to in order to give the Iraqis all of the cash and equipment they need to get the job done, only to have those resources squandered by Iraqi officials.

(CommonDreams article)
It weighed 28 tons and took up as much room as 74 washing machines. It was $2.4 billion in $100 bills, and Baghdad needed it ASAP.

The initial request from U.S. officials in charge of Iraq required the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to decide whether it could open its vault on a Sunday, a day banks aren’t usually open.

Then, when the shipment date changed, officials had to scramble to line up U.S. Air Force C-130 cargo planes to hold the money. They did, and the $2,401,600,000 was delivered to Baghdad on June 22, 2004.

Both Republicans and Democrats appeared taken aback by the volume of cash sent to Iraq: nearly $12 billion over the course of the U.S. occupation from March 2003 to June 2004, said a report by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles), who had reviewed e-mails and documents subpoenaed from the bank.

Almost $12 billion (363 tons of it) in U.S. currency was shipped to Baghdad between March 2003 to June 2004, and many more shipments have been made since. Much of the cash and supplies that the Iraqi government has managed to keep away from the crooks and insurgents was mismanaged by incompetent purchasing agents within the Iraqi government. The Global Policy Forum posted an article on the looting and waste within the Iraqi Defense Ministry in July of 2005.

(Global Policy Forum article)
In one case, a team of Iraqi defense inspectors traveled to Poland to check on what they understood to be a fleet of refurbished transport helicopters that cost the government more than $100 million. What the inspectors found were 24 Soviet-era helicopters, each about 30 years old and way past its prime. Disgusted, the Iraqi team refused the aircraft and returned to Baghdad empty-handed, with neither helicopters nor the money paid up front for them. “You could say the helicopters were out of order,” al-Duleimi said.

Other disastrous purchases include a shipment of sleek MP5 machine guns, costing about $3,500 apiece, that are now believed to be Egyptian-made knockoffs worth $200 each on the street, according to American and Iraqi officials familiar with the contracts under scrutiny. In another case, defense officials bought expensive armored personnel carriers to protect Iraqi troops on trips through perilous areas. The vehicles leaked so much oil that they broke down after only a few miles. Eventually all were parked as too dangerous to use, the officials said.

So, where do we go from here? President Bush now finds himself in the very unenviable position. A great many of the American people doesn’t want our military in Iraq, which has turned many of our politicians against the war, and now it turns out that even the Iraqi government doesn’t want us there anymore either.

Should we just pack up and leave Iraq? Not unless we are planning to return in the future and are prepared to deal with a well organized Iraqi/Iranian coalition army that would be equipped with hi-tech weapons and munitions from Russian, French, and German suppliers. The Iranians are waiting for the door of Iraq to open up far enough for them to stick their foot in it, and a troop withdraw would be just the thing to make that possibility a reality.

Will a troop surge in Iraq work? Yes, but only if U.S. policy in regard to our military’s mission is changed. For more than four years the U.S. armed forces have been trying to develop a capable military and police force in Iraq, but due to many factors, (incompetence, corruption, mismanagement of supplies and funding, sectarian differences, thievery, foreign fighters from neighboring countries, to name a few) the Iraqi’s have been unable to perform security functions at a level that would allow their government to endure.

While our politicians are busy trying further their own careers, they are overlooking what is best for the future of 27,000,000 Iraqi people. Whether you are for or against this war is a non-issue. We are there now, and we owe it to the people of Iraq to bring this messy situation under control, and give them an opportunity to get back to a way of life that is at least as normal as what they had before this conflict started. If Iraq eventually falls back into the hands of a dictatorial regime so be it, but for now we are obligated to give them the option to find success with the government that was elected by the Iraqi people.

To get a feel for what others are thinking about this, Outside The Beltway has posted their opinion on this issue, and has links to several other blogs as well.

The Gulf Coast Pundidt has a good post on his blog that points out that not all Iraqis are against the U.S. presence there.

[tags]al-maliki,iraq,war,congress,politicians,democrats,republicans,bush,military,withdraw,surge[/tags]