[Paleopsych] Iraq war

Michael Christopher anonymous_animus at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 9 18:41:35 UTC 2005

>>If these bombers are Iraqi nationalists, there is
hope that our departure from Iraq will cool the 
conflict.  The thought of regional terrorists in the
Middle East is indeed terrifying.<<

--It's obviously a mixture, which brings up the
question: will foreign terrorists transform Iraqi
nationalists who would otherwise fight conventionally
into terrorists who believe killing civilians is
legitimate warfare? In the current situation, anyone
who proves himself to be capable of killing US troops
is likely to gain respect, but every bombing that
targets Iraqis will most likely decrease respect for
foreign terrorists. 

Has the number of Iraqi suicide bombers (targeting
civilians rather than soldiers) increased since
Zarqawi set up shop? Conventional fighters who target
soldiers would likely taper off their efforts when US
troops leave and Iraqis take up the job of security,
allowing Sunnis and borderline resistance members to
take part in government without losing face (many
would feel that cooperating with a US-sponsored Iraqi
government would be humiliating and an admission of
defeat... removing US troops would remove that motive
as well). But foreign terrorists aren't going to leave
unless Iraqis as a people stand against them. That
becomes more likely every time Iraqis are targeted by
terrorists, so the logical strategy for the US is to
stay until Iraqis are known to be solidly against the
presence of foreign terrorists and Iraqi nationalists
begin to separate themselves from foreign terrorists
by denouncing attacks on civilians. Any Iraqi
resistance fighter who feels it's dishonorable to kill
civilians is going to be less and less comfortable
being associated with Zarqawi's terrorists, more
likely to develop rifts with foreign organizers and
more likely to leak information leading to the capture
of Zarqawi and other terrorist leaders. 

That pretty much sets up a series of events leading
naturally to the war's end. Along with a global
denunciation of terrorism by mainstream Muslims and
renewed focus on the Israeli-Palestinian partition
process, the general trend should be positive, as long
as the US and Iran don't provoke one another into
another war in the meantime. Bush will watch to see if
Iranians stand up to their hardliners or bide their
time thinking the US will intervene. With nobody in
either party willing to impose a draft, an invasion of
Iran is unlikely, leaving air strikes by the US or
Israel as the only option. Would an air strike against
Iran's government targets or nuclear facilities
produce a larger pool of global terrorists seeking
nuclear or biological weapons? Or would Iranian
moderates take over immediately? Or both? 

One assumption that should be eliminated is that there
is some fixed number of terrorists, and that it's a
good thing to draw them all into Iraq to fight them on
their own ground. That logic makes sense at first
glance, but it's based on an assumption that's not
safe to make. But regardless of how one analyzes the
overall situation, the immediate solution to Iraq is
for the US to stay until there is good reason to
believe Iraqi moderates can establish security and
prevent foreign terrorists from gaining influence and
using Iraq as a training ground. Once Zarqawi is
captured or killed and Iraqi resistance members begin
shunning foreign terrorists, it will be a lot easier
for the US to leave, and attention can be focused on
Iran. I don't really trust the current administration
to handle it gracefully, but we have what we have.
Hopefully enough systems thinkers will focus on
geopolitics to provide a counterweight to the gung-ho
mentality that will want to rely on forceful moves
that may backfire in the long term. We've tended to
rely on those moves in the past, doing whatever seemed
strongest in the short term, like a beginner chess
player who takes every piece that's offered. The end
result is messy. Strong moves made hastily can add up
to a weak foundation.


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