Tuesday, August 02, 2005



I am reminded of the famous story of the little boy and the naked king. You must have heard of that tale. An ingenious swindler made the king believe that he had made for him the most marvelous attire ever styled and went through all the motions of elaborately dressing him, when in fact there was no dress at all. The vain king was thrilled and wanted to show off this marvelous dress to his subjects. The royal procession was making its way through the streets of the capital with the king standing up and waiving majestically to his people. No one dared to say that they did not see any clothes on the monarch; everyone doubting their own senses rather than disbelieving the high and mighty. It happened though, that one innocent and simple child looked up and then shouted in astonishment that the king was naked, and this blew up the whole scheme.

And so it may be with our business. Perhaps someday one poor simple pajama blogger observing events from his humble station, might cry out: Gentlemen most high and distinguished, aren’t you perhaps going about this completely in the wrong way. Don’t the most unsophisticated and simple soccer fans know, for certain, that it is not enough to have the most brilliant attackers on your team if your defense line is in shatters and your goalkeeper useless?

Yes, you have attacked brilliantly. Yes, you have coerced the enemy in many a place and inflicted heavy casualties on him. Yet the present situation is such that it seems rather more urgent to provide some "safe havens" to the people rather than just denying them to the enemy.

I am not a military man nor very experienced in security matters, yet like that child I see simple facts and am not afraid to state them. If your resources are not sufficient to cover the entire territory, then it is evident that you should employ them in the most cost effective way, to use a business term. With all the tremendous expense in blood and treasure that is being spent, is it really so difficult to establish the few score or so of real security gates that are needed at the entrances to the capital? The New Iraqi Army may be deployed in a line of emplacements surrounding the capital, and even a "security fence" of sorts may be contemplated. All vehicles in the capital are registered and accounted for. Anyone needing to enter or leave the capital must get security clearance. Controlling vehicular traffic has proved its efficacy during the elections. If the perimeter of the capital is effectively guarded, perhaps the police and the interior ministry forces will have an easier task of cleaning up and guarding the interior of the capital, without being harassed and targeted like lame ducks. All it takes is to closely monitor and control certain well-known neighborhoods of Baghdad. Imagine the situation if the capital is made safer both for the inhabitants, the MNF forces, the diplomats etc. etc. Imagine the situation if power and essential services are restored more satisfactorily, and if assassinations, kidnappings and the daily genocide of completely innocent people is stopped. Would that not allow the political process to proceed more smoothly and the reconstruction effort resumed meaningfully?

The present situation is untenable gentlemen; and cannot continue like this. I have said it before and say it again; controlling Baghdad is controlling the country. The enemy understands this perfectly and is concentrating his efforts accordingly. Perhaps I am not able to elucidate my ideas properly; perhaps some of my friends can grasp it better and elaborate more convincingly. I don’t know, but it is another of those gut feelings that I used to talk about long ago.


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