It seems that tempestuous events don’t allow much time for leisurely “thinking” and careful contemplation. And since impending action seems inevitable, I feel that it is my duty in this humble forum to express thoughts, fears and ideas. Nobody who knows my blog should have any doubts about my position regarding the overall objectives, and therefore anything I say comes from care that no mistakes should jeopardize the goals that we all are anxious to achieve; namely the pacification of the country and creating the conditions that will enable the elections to be held in satisfactory manner. In other words, it is peace and tranquility and to be able to get back to normal life and reconstruction that we are longing for, and not vengeance.
It does not please any Iraqi to see any city or town in our country suffering the kind of fate that seems to await unfortunate places like Falujah and Ramadi; but whose fault is it really? Were not the people in the town given every chance to reform their ways and stop sabotaging their own country, only to have the place hijacked by extremists who turned the place into a safe haven for killers, kidnappers, be-headers and suicide bombers exported to Baghdad and elsewhere? Extremists turned the place into a Taliban like hell where ordinary people were subjected to the most ignominious and cruel treatment, and I refer you to the few reports that came out from inside the town, and also to the letter from Dave (link on the side bar) where he reports incredibly, that some of the residents are asking the American forces to bomb their own houses which have been occupied by terrorists.
But enough of that kind of talk! What is important now is a careful assessment and solutions, real solutions that will lead to real improvement.
It is a fact that most of the inhabitants of the town have left their homes and sought refuge outside it. Many hope that the matter is settled as quickly as possible, so that they can go back and live their lives, although they may not publicly admit that. Sure the insurgents and terrorists are going to be wiped out if they are foolish enough to stay inside. The important thing is, however, that in the aftermath of the action real aid and massive support should be ready in time to help the returnees and show them who their real friends are. And it must never be forgotten that in the final analysis it is a political problem and if military action is necessary its successful outcome can only be assured if a political solution is found after breaking the back of terrorism and insurgency.
Also it must be understood that the insurgents have many cells and other basis and they will try to retaliate with stepped up terrorism especially against soft targets in Baghdad. Therefore emergency measures must be in place including curfews, close surveillance, restriction of movements, and security clamp down on known hotspots particularly in the capital and its environs before and during the planned military action. The Allied leadership must understand finally that the security of the Iraqi People, State and Infrastructure is the real key to producing the environment that will help with the security of their own soldiers and personnel. It should also be finally realized that providing security is something different from military action and much more difficult. This was the problem right from the start. The American and allied forces are superb as fighting forces against visible enemies, but when it comes to maintaining security and civil order; well, we have all seen what happened!
All what we are hoping is that the political and military leadership in the U.S. and other allied countries as well as the field commanders and the Iraqi government learn from the lessons of the past and rectify the mistakes and do it right this time; especially now that the mandate of the American people has been clearly given to finish this job; and finish it well.