How the Afghan War is being Repeated in Iraq

Previously on an American Peyote Scribble:

Why post-WWII Germany is not 2007 Iraq

Iraq the Foolishness of Imitating post-WWII Germany
How the US Ignores History and Invites Disaster in Iraq

Now: How the Afghan War is being Repeated in Iraq – and how Iran is the New CIA

First, a question, is the presence of US troops in Iraq:

a) Helping Iraq
b) A good thing for the US
c) Playing into the hands of Iran

Some of the main puzzle pieces of the Middle East include Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Hezbollah, the US, and the CIA.

In 2007, the US is seen as the occupying power in a disorganized county (Iraq) with battling religious and political factions.  The US army is fighting the second most advanced guerrilla army ever known (the Iraqi Insurgency).

I say the second because I haven’t heard any reports of the insurgents using laser guided smart weapons to take down US helicopter gunships.  The Afghans were able take out the Soviet Hinds with CIA-designed and manufactured shoulder launched missiles and coordinate attacks via satellite communications.

But how is Iran playing the role of the CIA?

Basically, Iran is doing in 2007 to the US (using Iraq) what the US did to Russia (using Afghanistan) during the 1980’s.

If Iran pumps funding, weapons, and training into Hezbollah and the Iraq insurgency, the Cold War between the US and Iran can be waged on the Iraqi battlefield just as the US fought the USSR on the Afghanistan chess board.  The Iranian Government can bleed the US without the treat of nuclear retaliation.  The US can’t really do anything because currently there are no obvious links that in International Community would believe, which would support overt military action against Iran.

The official reply to such an idea from Iran is that, they want a stable Iraq, therefore, why would they add to instability in Iraq by aiding insurgent operations?  It’s true, Iran does want a stable neighbor.  But like all countries, Iran wants to be the stronger neighbor.  In particular, a neighbor with which Iran fought a decade-long war.  Iran wants a politically stable Iraq.  But Iran would rather have an unstable disorganized Iraq than an organized, stable neighbor with a US-backed military – they already have one of those in the form of Israel.

The US and Iran have been true political enemies ever since the US-backed Shahs was kicked out by the Iranian revolutionists in the 1979 Revolution.  The two countries can’t really engage one another in combat for many of the same reasons that the US didn’t engage the USSR – and that Israel currently can’t invade Iran.

Why mention the connection to Israel vs. Hezbollah?  What does that confrontation have to do with the US and Iran?

Iran can fight Israel using Hezbollah.  Hezbollah isn’t a country, it’s a political-terror organization.  As such, it doesn’t have a central nerve that an army can take out.  So, if Iran backs Hezbollah and Hezbollah uses that backing to attack Israel, Israel can’t just go and invade Iran.

The last time Israel launched an offensive against Hezbollah it didn’t result in anything but wasted resources and lives.  Hezbollah captured some Israeli soldiers so the Israeli army went in full force.  Hezbollah shot rockets into the cities while Israeli munitions pummeled the civilians that Hezbollah hid behind.

Both sides claimed victory.  Both sides gained nothing.

It’s a sure thing that nothing is to be gained from an all-out US-Iran war,  just as nothing has been gained during the Israeli-Hezbollah confrontations.  Iran would no-doubt ultimately loose against the full air and land powers of the US and Israel (who would join the attack), and in the end there’d be a bombed-out Iran which would need to be rebuilt, and another generation of religious warriors would cement their hate for the US and fill the power vacuum after the smoke cleared.

What purpose does such a scenario serve?

So to recap, what’s the ground situation in Iraq now?  The official government is backed by the US (not the USSR), battling an insurgency which is probably at least in part funded and organized by Iran (not the CIA).

Does post-WWII Germany have anything to do with 2007 Iraq?

Does the Soviet-Afghan War have some lessons for Iran vs. Israel vs. Hezbollah vs. the US?

See how History works?

What half-baked gutter-headed student of military history sitting in Washington D.C. didn’t see this coming?

Why did the US government allow such a logical progression of events to occur?

Why is the US military in the vulnerable position of trying to govern Iraq?

Why did the US get into this situation?  What was the point of the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq?  What would be the point of a US-Iran War?

As I see it, the goal of past and current wars of this type in Vietnam, Afghanistan and the Middle East is not about land control, oil, or the traditional sense of Victory (as in World War II).

The goal (from the US standpoint) is the establishment of stable people-lead governments with ideals of economic prosperity, who make positive contributions to the global existence of humanity.

This sort of sounds like a nice goal.  However, War: a tool of destruction, is not capable of building anything – least of all the stable economy of a country.  The people have to do that.

Political change must be primarily initiated and established by the people of the country – not by artificial outside influences.  No self-respecting Iranian wants a US invasion in the name of democracy.  That’s just a fact.  No Iranian citizen wants a US occupation of their country.  Nothing positive will be gained from a US invasion of Iran.

The US, Vietnam and China are excellent examples.  The artificial governments of the US (England), Vietnam (US), and China (Japan), were kicked out by the people of those sovereign nations.  Now the US, Vietnam and China are politically and economically stable (more or less) – productive countries contributing to the global stage.  In time, both Vietnam and China will most likely transfer to democratic models of governance, just like Iran will – if given time.

We can do better than the current situation in Iraq.  We owe it not only to those who have died but to the children of those who will survive and define the course of Iraq and the Middle East in 5, 10, 20, and 50 years from now.

How the US Ignores History and Invites Disaster in Iraq

The Prelude:

Why post-WWII Germany is not 2007 Iraq

Iraq the Foolishness of Imitating post-WWII Germany

The only logical analogy to be made for the current Iraq War – if one needs to be made, is the past war between the US and the Soviet Union.  One of the main battles of the US-USSR policy of confrontation was the Afghanistan War, a component of the Cold War – and officially fought between the Soviet army and the Afghan rebels.

The Soviet War in Afghanistan was used as the the surrogate battlefield for the Cold War between the US and USSR.  The US couldn’t engage the Soviet Union directly during the Cold War because, aside from having no real reason to, it would have resulted in a Nuclear Holocaust.  So the CIA was used to organize and execute the second really overt battle of the Cold War using US and Saudi money with Pakistan acting as the logistical distributer of weapons to the Afghan Rebels – who thanked Allah for the guns, not realizing it was the US and the CIA who enabled their victory over the Soviet army.

The US backed the Afghans by pumping money into the Jihad against the Russians.  This was largely enabled and orchestrated by Congressman Charlie Wilson.  Wilson knew the score in Vietnam concerning the situation of the Soviets pumping money into the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) to defeat the American and South Vietnamese forces.  Soviet weapons and training helped the NVA over-throw the US-backed South Vietnamese government.

In Afghanistan, Wilson wanted to help the Afghan rebels, but he also wanted bleed the Russian Army in Afghanistan, just like the Russians had bled the US Army in Vietnam.

In Vietnam the Soviet Union was able to wage war on the US military (without the threat of nuclear retaliation) via the NVA.  The difference is that the NVA knew this.  They knew where the guns were coming from, while many Afghans believed that their victory was the work of Allah – and maybe it was, but then you might need to accept the notion that Allah was/is working with the US, not a popular way of thinking.

In the Afghan War weapons distribution channels and training were handled by Pakistani Intelligence (ISI).  After the Soviet defeat and withdrawal Afghanistan was left to rebuild on its own.  Since the US never officially overtly directly supported the Afghan War, there was no established responsibility to stay for the rebuilding effort.  The Soviet Union was defeated, the war was over, and US attention turned to other matters.

After the Soviet withdrawal Afghanistan fell into chaos.  War-lords filled the power vacuum, ending in a country filled with Religious warriors with no one to fight and the most technologically advanced leaderless guerilla army the world has ever known.

What does the Afghanistan War have to do with the Iraq War?  Different countries, different armies, different political leaders, what’s the connection?

Jump to 2007

Just exchange a few puzzle pieces on the geo-political chess board.

To make the connection to the current Iraq War, all you have to do is move the geographic location, exchange the USSR and the US – Iraq becomes Afghanistan, and then Iran plays the role of the CIA (a similar game was played during the Vietnam War).

Coming up Next:

How the Afghan War is being Repeated in Iraq – and how Iran is the New CIA

Iraq the Foolishness of Imitating post-WWII Germany

Iraq 2007 is not post-WWII Germany

Why does following the model of post-WWII Germany not help the rebuilding effort in current-day Iraq?  What about US troop levels, stabilization, and rebuilding?

After the fall of the Nazi Regime, the main players of the Original Coalition of the Willing: England, the US and the USSR, who had pulled together to defeat the Nazi Regime – ensured the stability needed for Germany and other European countries to rebuild.  For Germany, rebuilding required the input of funding and resources, which could be distributed without fighting an insurgency or negotiating internal ethnic tensions.  There was the occasional action by the Nazi Werwolf units, but the vast amount of troops from England, the US, and Russia more or less kept the country stable.

Iraq-2007 is so unstable that rebuilding can’t even start yet.  Iraq is a menagerie of different city-level battles without defined enemy armies and milestones for victory.  If a town is taken by insurgent armies, it can be retaken by coalition forces, but retaken again by a new insurgent army the very next month (after the US forces move out).

I don’t think that the insurgents can be mentally beaten the way the German and Japanese armies were defeated.  Those armies were commanded by Hitler and the Japanese Emperor respectively, while the insurgents are not fighting under one specific destructible entity.

Should the US troop levels of post-WWII Germany be used as an indication of a successful military strategy in current-day Iraq?

Why were a number of US military bases built in Germany after WWII?  To ensure stability and rebuild the country?  Was this the only reason?  Well, maybe also because those military bases were the first line of defense against a Soviet expansion across Europe.  Such an expansion would have included the traditional infantry-Army-Air Force attack and the US Army and Air Force bases were in place to repel such aggression from beyond the Iron Curtain.

Pumping more money into Iraq and sustaining troop levels is pointless without a real strategy.  Using the analogy of post-WWII to validate the current US strategy in Iraq will not lead to the stabilization of the county or of the region – which was the only real reason the war was fought in the first place.  A similar strategy won’t work because the facts and events surrounding the US occupation of Iraq are very different from the US occupation of Germany.

Oh, well – I mean, the US could build Army bases to prevent an invasion from Iran.  That sounds logical, no?

Thinking outside the political box is required to fix Iraq-2007, because simply falling back on old success stories without considering the differences to the current situation is not going to lead to a solution.

So if lessons don’t exist in the rebuilding of post-WWII Germany, where does one look to for lessons on how the current Iraq War can be ended?

First, in my view, you need to consider the lessons of the US-USSR Cold War and the battle field of Afghanistan.

Coming up Next:

A bed-time story of how the US is Ignoring History and Inviting Disaster in Iraq

Why post-WWII Germany is not 2007 Iraq

I occasionally checkout the online paper of Michigan State University when I need to send some white noise through my brain and recover from the last dissertation writing session. The Editorial on April 13th by Jacob Carpenter got me thinking, and over a cappuccino those thoughts turned into some ideas that’d like communicate concerning the current situation in Iraq – specifically the interconnection between the US and USSR, how lessons from the Afghanistan War can be explored to explain the foolishness of the US government heading into Iraq, and why Iraq 2007 is not Germany – post World War Two (WWII).

Jacob wrote that Iraq can not be abandoned via a US troop withdrawl.

“To better understand the democratization of a country, which is the current mission in Iraq, it helps to reach back into the history books and revisit an example of a similar case.”

His reasoning sounds nice and has been echoed before, essentially that the US must stay in Iraq because after WWII the US pumped billions into then-devastated Germany and Japan, which eventually lead to their stabilization and democracies.

This Blog Post shouldn’t really be taken as a response to the State News Editorial, these are just some things to consider on the current state of geo-political affairs.? His editorial just gave me some motivation to write them down.

“Following the end of World War II, the United States didn’t abandon enemy Germany in its vulnerable state of disarray ? relatively equivalent to that of modern day Iraq.” – Jacob Carpenter

First, and this should be crystal clear to any half-interested Generation XY wannabe historian, Iraq is not Germany.? The circumstances surrounding the current Iraq War shares little with World War II, and the problem in Iraq is not so simple as staying the course or pumping money into the country or simply pulling out.? Using the post-WWII Germany/Japan analogy to rationalize the current US strategy in Iraq is dangerous and shot-sighted because it does not shed light on the current problem, which is:

How can Iraq move foreword in the current political situation?

Now some background on where these thoughts are coming from. I like to read, and if history is to be learned from, you have to move beyond the classroom and seek out your own facts. For an understanding on why post-WWII Germany is not Iraq and why it shouldn’t be treated as so, I recommend reading the following books:

Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich
See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism
Charlie Wilson’s War: The Extraordinary Story of How the Wildest Man in Congress and a Rogue CIA Agent Changed the History of Our Times
America’s Secret War: Inside the Hidden Worldwide Struggle Between the United States and Its Enemies
The Kite Runner

Some history notes (as I know them), prior to the establishment of the German state and national borders, Germany was a collection of different kingdoms and princes and landowners, which eventually formed into a set of German States. Then, with Bismarck in 1871 the various states were united into what is now (minus a few border changes) Germany.? Prior to WWII Germany had a functioning democracy with elections and checks and balances (which were to fail and allow Hitler to take absolute political control of the country).

The pre-WWII German scientific-industrial contribution to the world was massive. Most of the Nobel Prize winners prior to 1940 came from Germany, in addition, companies such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Zeiss and others started and still thrive globally. I think it’s often ignored or understated just how powerful German was, but the concept is easily illustrated by remembering that the division of German scientists after the war essentially defined a number of current global political situations.

Prior to WWII Europe was the Well from which scientific discoveries flowed. After its destruction the US realized it would need to establish its own Well and the federal funding of research in the US with public funds began in the 1950’s.

How did the US and USSR develop the ability to shoot long range missiles at one another and at any other country? What was the enabling movement which allowed the USSR to send cosmonauts into space and the US to land men on the Moon? Simple, after the defeat of Nazi-Germany the US picked up Wernher von Braun (the head of the Nazi V-2 Missile program) with a truck full of rocket research documents. Around the same time period, the Soviets forcibly transplanted every German rocket scientist they could find in occupied Germany to Siberia, where they reenacted the work they had done on the Nazi missile program. Dr. von Braun eventually became the head of NASA while the US and USSR began the Nuclear Arms Race and the Space Race.

The point here is that Germany had the knowledge base, collective will, and stability to rebuild after its destruction – because many of those elements were in-place prior to the devastation.? Hitler was really only in total control for a short while (compared with Iraq).? He took over more or less around 1933, and Nazi-Germany was defeated in 1945. Saddam Hussein was in total power from about 1980 until 2003. During this time he was able to build a lasting framework for keeping the people down and eradicating the notion of a real democracy.

The most important difference from my view is that Germany was united by language and religion. Iraq is mostly united in language, but for sure very divided by religious and ethnic traditions. Also, I think that in general, Germany has maintained a social tradition of working for the common good of the country, because the internal conflicts between different ethic groups and religious desires were more or less worked out in the centuries preceding the First World War.

Currently the fragmented factions and ethnic groups in Iraq have had to fight for the survival of their own entities, therefore a unification of the country is a monumental task even without the instability of the war to prevent rebuilding.

Ok you say, but still it was all the US military personnel in Germany that made the difference between chaos and rebuilding. Let’s just keep the troops in Iraq, and do the same as with Germany post-WWII and Iraq will be ok in 20 years.

Coming up next: Why imitating the US military strategy of post-WWII Germany doesn’t easily translate to stability for 2007 Iraq.