Sunday, October 31, 2004

Iraq clusterfuck: Yes, "clusterfuck" is the technically accurate word 

Um, how much of Iraq do we actually control, anyhow?

Here's a little statistic buried in a long thumbsucker about Bush plans to wage a Battle of Algiers-style dirty war in Iraq by "eliminating" Sunni rejectionists:

U.S. forces face substantial obstacles in bringing their plan to fruition. Commanders have identified 22 cities and towns in Iraq that must be brought under the control of the Iraqi government before nationwide elections, scheduled for January, can be held.
(via WaPo)

So, 22 cities and towns are under the control of the insurgents, when Iraq's population is 75% urban.

Stalingrad, anyone?

Nice work, Inerrant Boy!

But it gets better. While googling for the population figures, I looked at the CIA Factbook entry on Iraq; the entry has many mordantly humorous entries:

Government type: none; note - the Interim Government was appointed on 1 June 2004
Legal system: NA
Political parties and leaders: NA
GDP - real growth rate: -21.8% (2003 est.)
Industrial production growth rate: NA

I love it. "Government type: None." It's a winger's wet dream, isn't it? Maybe they drowned it in a bath tub? Lots of bathtubs in the Republican Palace, though of course not so many in the desert...

Nice work, Inerrant Boy! Looks like a cakewalk to me!

But the killer fact is this one, since demography is destiny:

Median age: male: 19.1 years
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 3,654,947 (2004 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually: males: 304,527 (2004 est.)

Half the country is under 19, and there's a population of 3.6 million angry, hungry, and unemployed young men for the insurgents to draw on.

Nice work on disbanding the Iraqi Army, Inerrant Boy!

But don't worry, we have a plan! In the mordantly witty words of the CIA Factbook:

[The] US-led coalition is planning to create a new Iraqi military force of men aged 18 to 40 to defend Iraqi territory from external threats (2004 est.)

I do think the analyst's "est[imated]" is rather fine. Don't you?

So, we've lost the cities, in a country that's 75% urban, and in a country where the median age is 19, the young men are shooting and bombing the troops, instead of joining the new Iraqi Army we are trying to build to replace the old Iraqi Army that we disbanded. And the new Iraqi military force is not going to have to handle "external threats," of course. It's going to have to kill other Iraqis, in a dirty civil war led by the US in the person of Ambassador Negroponte.

Think that's going to work real well?

Inerrant Boy, work with me.

Here is a Marine's definition of "clusterfuck":

clusterfuckMarine slang -- [1.] A clusterfuck was any group of Marines big enough to draw enemy fire, or several Marines close enough together to be wounded by the same incoming round. More generically, [2.] a clusterfuck was something that was all screwed up, i.e. "That blocking operation was a giant clusterfuck!" Whenever three or more CAP Marines gathered in the open, talking or working on something, somebody was sure to call out "clusterfuck!" and one or more guys would walk away.

Yes, Inerrant Boy, Iraq is a clusterfuck—in both senses. If you'd actually served in the military, you might know that.

Sense 1, the tactical: The troops who staged the "sit down" strike, because they were being asked to convoy unusable gasoline, in unarmored vehicles (here), down an ambush alley in Iraq were avoiding a clusterfuck—they didn't want to be "close enough together to be wounded by the same" IDE or ambush.

Sense 2, the strategic: Bush has, through his handling of war, definitely created "something that is all screwed up." Like Stalingrad. Say.

Yes, I'd say "clusterfuck" is le mot juste.

How do you ask one of our children to be the last one to die in a clusterfuck?

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
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