"Odierno’s theme with Maliki was that the United States and Iraq have come a long way — and spilled a lot of blood — and that cooperation between the two countries must continue. He warned that Iraq was in danger of becoming a country like Lebanon, where powerful neighbors wage proxy wars and exacerbate sectarian tensions. Unless Maliki pulled the country together, Iraq would be exploited by regional powers Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia." Ignatius
"Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child." Rudyard Kipling
Yes. Yes. I understand that this can be read several ways. pl
Kipling is much disdained by the overly-clever and the politically correct. Surely the world is not as he described it. Surely?
Raymond Odierno does not know that Iraq was always inherently a country like Lebanon?
Odierno now sits in George Marshall's chair. Is this further evidence of entropy in the universe? It took this man years to comprehend that the insurgency in Iraq could not be defeated by night raids against Iraqi homes. It was not such as he who befriended the "Sons of Iraq." He merely climbed on that bandwagon when he saw that it was rolling towards success.
They sent him to "jawbone" Maliki into "better" behavior? Wow! Maliki must have laughed his a-s off at that. After all, Odierno is the man Maliki succeffully BSed for years.
Is it not clear by now that Maliki has won in the game of Iraq? He bided his time and built the structures of coercion needed to stage a coup against the Sunni leaders as soon as the Americans left. Some 24/7 idiot bleated on the tube today that the Iraqis cannot stray very far from the US because they need to buy military equipment from us. Wrong! Have these people never heard of China, Russia, etc.? In the Iran-Iraq War the Iraqi armed forces were largely (90%) supplied and armed by the Warsaw Pact countries and China. France provided about a hundred fighter bombers that were used in maritime attacks in the Gulf. The US "contribution" to their equipment was negligeable. Don't bother to argue with me about this. I was there. Do we imagine that the memory of alternate sources of military supply has disappeared from Iraq?
The ineptitude of the US government in dealing with phenomena like Iraq continues to stupify observers.
The attutdes described in Kipling's poem quoted above remain firmly in place in the general public and the wizards of Washington.
1- We firmly believe that the poor benighted brown people of the world are simple folk and that inside each is an American/European waiting to be liberated so that he/she can abandon their own ways in favor of ours. That's the "child" part. A corollary of that notion is the belief that if "Uncle Ray" or the equivalent shows up to chide against naughtiness, all will be well. Nuri al-Maliki is so much cleverer than Ray Odierno that the very idea amuses.
2- We are incapable of appreciating alien people on their own terms. We are sure that their ways are the wrong ways . We blather endlessly that "they must do it their way." We don't believe that for a second. What we believe is that they have to do and think our way and if they don't then they are evil and "crazy." Mailiki is doing it his way. We created the pre-conditions for "his way" in the destruction of the previous social order in Iraq. Do we really imagine that Maliki and the Shia Arabs do not "know" and feel in their bones that they will return to an inferior status if the Sunni Arabs regain power? How naive we are.
We lost our hat, a-s and overcoat in Iraq. We gained nothing and the source of our defeat lies deep in the collective soul of the dominant culture in the United States. pl