With the Best of Intentions, But Wrong Again

The Army has been task-forcing in Iraq, this time at the behest of an
assistant Secretary of Defense, which means Rummy’s embattled
battle-plans have outlasted Rummy.

The Army has been task-forcing in Iraq, this time at the behest of an
assistant Secretary of Defense, which means Rummy’s embattled
battle-plans have outlasted Rummy. The idea is to put Iraqi unemployed
back at the work-tables of some 200 state-owned factories that were abandoned by the Coalition Provisional Authority after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.
Uh-huh. Abandoned.
Item 13 (an appropriate number) on Rumsfeld’s memo to his president, two days before getting the sack, reads “Initiate
a massive program for unemployed youth. It would have to be run by U.S.
forces, since no other organization could do it.”

The truth is that no other organization would do it, because it’s a death-sentence for prospective employees.

Iraq (CNN) — A suicide bomber targeting laborers killed 60 people
Tuesday in Baghdad and wounded 220 others, Iraqi officials said.

The CNN report adds that the suicide bomber, driving a pickup truck laden with explosives, pulled into an area frequented by day-laborers.
Waving the unemployed over to his truck, as if he had work, a crowd
quickly gathered and the truck bomb killed 60 and wounded an additional
200. The thrust of that isn’t hard to follow. Insurgents, no matter
their agenda (and there are many) are absolutely dedicated to the unbalancing of any potential social structure that might encourage American progress.
They want us out and will pay a price we (sooner or later) will be unwilling to pay.
The Pentagon-Army-Rumsfeld (whatever and whoever) plan to provide employment
as a bulwark against social unrest, sounds like a plan to improve
conditions in metropolitan Detroit. It’s other-worldly, the disconnect
between the Green Zone, Washington and what’s actually happening on the
ground in Iraq. Empirical evidence doesn’t get a chance to lever itself
in and under the false-front of this war. We don’t have social unrest
in Iraq, we have ethnic killing and then revenge killings, in a spiral
that, by most definitions, is classic ethnic civil war.

Washington Post-Deputy
Defense Secretary Gordon England set the task force in motion in June
after Paul A. Brinkley, deputy undersecretary of defense, returned from
a visit to Iraq the month before.
Brinkley, who returned last night from a trip to Iraq with his team,
said thousands of Iraqis lost their jobs and the ability to support
their families when CPA projections dimmed. Unrest followed the absence
of work.
“After three years of unemployment in excess of 50 percent, there
are no people in the world that wouldn’t be undergoing violence and
militias,” Brinkley said. “That’s human nature. And I think we have to
do whatever we have to do to alleviate that problem if we are going to
create stability.”

So far, members of the task force have visited 26 factories in some
of the worst areas of the country, traveling to Baghdad, Fallujah,
Mosul, Najaf and Ramadi to inspect facilities that make cement, tile,
rubber and textiles. They have identified 10 factories — their “hot
list” of facilities in both Sunni and Shiite areas — that they think
could be open and employing more than 11,000 Iraqis within the next

Gordon England and Paul Brinkley are no doubt good people and mean
well. But their plan illuminates the very scary fact that in three and
a half years of fighting this enemy, the practical information about his tactics continues to fail to get through to our side of the equation.
Listen up, Gordon. Pay attention, Paul. Read my lips. Insurgent forces have a hot list
as well. Chances are, it mirrors yours. They will welcome your
investment, watch with some satisfaction as you bring together the last
few Iraqis who hope for life to get better, and then systematically
kill off your employees.
Do you really think the same death-squads that pull library
employees off a morning bus and kill them, are going to let you bring
employment and hope and progress to 11,000 Iraqis?
Army Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the top U.S. field commander in Iraq,
said that tackling unemployment could do far more good than adding U.S.
combat troops or more aggressively pursuing an elusive enemy. He said
the project to open the factories and stimulate local economies is long
overdue and was born “of desperation.”
Well, I guess.
Chiarelli continues, “There’s no doubt in my mind that it has the
potential to turn the tide. I find it unbelievable after four years
that we haven’t come to that realization. . . . To me, it’s huge. It’s
as important as just about any other part of the campaign plan.”

And no offense, general, but we all know how effective that campaign plan has been.
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