I left this as a comment over at Nonplussed in response to a post that included
Kevin Drum has an interesting post on how it might already be too late and provides an excerpt from an article prepared by a reporter who spent time with the one and only functional brigade in the Iraqi army. The reporter says the brigade does not self identify as a national guard but as essentially nothing more than a Shiite militia preparing for the inevitable civil war with the Sunni.
It’s the first time I’ve heard this angle and Kevin notes that it is just one report from one reporter. But it doesn’t sound all that far fetched to me and, if true, would be yet another reason to get out sooner rather than later. I’m not interested in spilling any more blood, American or otherwise, if an Iraqi civil war is inevitable.
We have no legitimate stake in assisting one internal Iraqi faction over another.
I posted the following in the comments section, and I re-post them here for your perusal:
A) The civil war in Iraq has been going on for two years already. A minority of the 20% of the nation that used to totally rule over the other 80% is unhappy that they aren’t unchecked rulers anymore, so they blow up stuff and people. The other 80% that used to be ruled by the 20% doesn’t like getting blown up. If the 20% continues to blow up the other 80%, the 20% is going to continue to have a rough time of it. The fact that much of the military and security forces are Shiite and loyal to great extent to Shiite values should come as no surprise, as the majority of Iraq is Shiite and many Sunnis insist on blowing Shiites up instead of contributing.
B) Since the 20% isn’t strong enough to win on their own, many of them have allied themselves, in many ways, with foreign terrorists who blow up pretty much anyone who doesn’t side with the terrorists. This irritates the 80% to no end, and practically guarantees that the 20% cannot win. The best they can hope for is total anarchy.
C) Alliances with terrorists are shaky things, and there are many reported instances of the 20%’s insurgents fighting the terrorists because the terrorists blow who THEY want to blow up, not who the 20% want them to blow up. This infighting doesn’t really irritate anyone all that much and can go on indefinitely, as far as I’m concerned.
D) There are two functional brigades in the Iraqi army, not one. They are both in the Iraqi 6th Division. Do not confuse “functional brigades” with “units capable of fighting”. “Functional brigade”, if it’s going to be used accurately, refers to the upper-echelon HQ and supporting organizations, not the combat forces. Brigades are usually composed of three or four maneuver battalions plus attached HQ and supporting units. There are about 115 functional battalions in the Iraqi army and security forces, despite excited headlines to the contrary, if “functional” means “able to function as a combat unit”. They are in various levels of training and readiness, with about a third of them currently operating without any US combat troops.
E) If the current civil war in Iraq were to erupt into full-scale military conflict (which would require the absence of US troops and air power plus the full, open military and political support of another nation, such as Syria), it would be a war between the 20% who want to rule Iraq and the other 80% who have “one person, one vote” on their side. How do you argue that we have no “legitimate stake” in that struggle? Pretend for a minute that the flow of oil wasn’t at risk. Aren’t we on the side of freedom? Don’t we support democracy? Don’t we have a vested interest in defending those unable to defend themselves against injustice and terror?
F) If a large number of Sunnis vote in tomorrow’s referendum, even if many of them vote AGAINST the proposed constitution, doesn’t that mean that democracy is at work and that a large part of the 20% is buying into the idea of freedom?
G) What if the constitution passes? Isn’t that a vote of confidence by the Iraqi people that things are on the right track? Will you change your mind about our “legitimate stake in assisting one internal Iraqi faction over another” if the constitution passes?