Nearly a year and a half ago, as US forces closed on Baghdad, former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter made a bit of a splash by predicting that we would lose the war (see US defeat in Iraq ‘inevitable’). He was quoted then as follows:
“Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam, but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost,” Ritter added.
Well, he’s still saying pretty much the same thing: The Saddam-ist / Islamist resistance will win.
The transfer of sovereignty to the new Iraqi government of Iyad Allawi is a charade that will play itself out over the next weeks and months, and with tragic consequences. Allawi’s government, hand-picked by the United States from the ranks of anti-Saddam expatriates, lacks not only a constituency inside Iraq but also legitimacy in the eyes of many ordinary Iraqi citizens.
The truth is that there never was a significant people- based opposition movement inside Iraq for the Bush administration to call on to form a government to replace Saddam. It is why the United States has instead been forced to rely on the services of individuals tainted by their association with foreign intelligence services, or drawn from opposition parties heavily infiltrated by agents of Saddam’s former security services.
Regardless of the number of troops the United States puts on the ground or how long they stay there, Allawi’s government is doomed to fail. The more it fails, the more it will have to rely on the United States to prop it up. The more the United States props up Allawi, the more discredited he will become in the eyes of the Iraqi people – all of which creates yet more opportunities for the Iraqi resistance to exploit.
We will suffer a decade-long nightmare that will lead to the deaths of thousands more Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis. We will witness the creation of a viable and dangerous anti-American movement in Iraq that will one day watch as American troops unilaterally withdraw from Iraq every bit as ignominiously as Israel did from Lebanon.
Food for thought.