The un-Awakening

This American Life has a great episode about life in Iraq today that’s worthy of an hour of your time.  I’m probably a bit biased and susceptible to confirmation bias but it really does reinforce the idea that while the Surge was successful at making Iraq look stable enough for us to get the hell out of there without looking like complete incompetents, the prospect of a stable Iraq is still very far from certain.

Stand out moments for me:

  1. The two Iraqis who describes Americans as ‘using Iraqis like tissues’.  In other words, totally disposable.  Very moving.
  2. The description of a scene where a leader of the Sons of Iraq is brought to a meeting with a group of Americans.  The very Americans, it turns out, who had tortured him for information three years earlier.  And what do these shining examples of the intelligence community say?  ‘Hey, the past is past.  We’re friends now, right?’  The whole incident is so shot through with incompetence and hubris it boggles the mind.
  3. The former ‘Son of Iraq’ so esteemed for his efforts and accomplishments by the military that even the CENTCOM commander (Gen. Petraeus) and other senior military officials recommended he be allowed to immigrate to the U.S.  He was, of course, denied from immigrating to the U.S. and had to pay a smuggler $50,000 to sneak him into Sweden where he now lives.

Perhaps this is the beginning of a new narrative since the NYTimes had a story recently about the Sons of Iraq fleeing that group to re-join the insurgency.

…hundreds of the well-disciplined fighters — many of whom have gained extensive knowledge about the American military — appear to have rejoined Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

…even many of the Awakening fighters still on the Iraqi government payroll, possibly thousands of them, covertly aid the insurgency.

Yes, mission accomplished.

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