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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 01.15.08
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

About this war

The Wall Street Journal is crowing that the "Surge" in the Iraq war has won the day and we now see success. This is not quite so bold as "Mission Accomplished" but it is just as misplaced. However, there is reduced killing of Iraqis and US military on the streets. Good news indeed.

We have at least twelve candidates trying to be the next President and not one, except Ron Paul, is saying anything definite about the war. It must be the good news.

However, the situation reminds me of Nixon campaigning to be president in 1968; he had a plan to end the war in Vietnam. The Vietnam war ran on until 1975. So eleven candidates have plans.

So if the Surge is not a success, what do we have?

This is what I see:

Ethnic cleansing -- the mixed areas of Iraq are being unmixed by force; Sunnis are moving to all Sunni areas and Shiites to all Shiite areas in the south,

The Kurds are expanding in the north and busy with a small skirmish with Turkey.

The Mahdi Army is laying low and avoiding confrontation with US troops to save their strength and arms.

Sunni tribal leaders are taking US money ($10 per Sunni fighter for 70,000 of them) to patrol their clan areas; they still hate us but this serves their purpose for now.

A crooked Iraqi government, controlled by Shiites, that is an extension of the Shiite militias.

About 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties.

And what does it all mean? It means that when the US gets tired and leaves, Iraq will have a real civil war.

Maybe the US does not leave. President Bush says "not in my term."

And withdrawal may not be in any of "The Elevens'" plans for the war. After all, US forces have been in Korea for sixty years.

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