Wednesday, November 30, 2005


Posting here at the blog has been pretty sparse lately because I recently began a new job, and I'm still making requested revisions to my dissertation. But this morning, before I head out for the 35 minute drive to work, I wanted to weigh on an impending crisis-cum-tragedy. Seymore Hersch in the New Yorker has already alluded to it, as have a number of bloggers. But because I've followed U.S. military intervention in foreign countries closely since 1980, I wanted to put in my two cents, which comes in the form of a warning.

The situation in Iraq is going to get much much worse in the months ahead. As U.S. ground troops begin withdrawal, the air war will intensify, and this will mean many more Iraqi civilian casualties. Many more. In addition, the volitile situation already unfolding will, in the eyes of the newly minted vanguard, necessitate a severe crackdown on dissidents, jihadists, and other non-Baathists, historically accomplished by roving death squads. The insurgency is not, as the Pentagon and President would have us believe, primarily orchestrated by non-Iraqi terrorists or al-Qaeda operatives, but mostly by Sunni Baathists, those who backed Saddam and who belong to the religious minority of the nation. They quite correctly sense that majority rule will mean not only political and social disenfranchisement but persecution, oppression and most likely death or imprisonment for Sunni leaders.

If you don't think this is the likely course of action, then consider U.S. involvement in Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvadore, the Phillipines, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Angola, and God knows where else. It is a consistent pattern of U.S. "less is more"--less obvious presence and fewer numbers for more concentrated violence.