Thursday, July 03, 2003

The American army is proving itself to be utterly incompetent at keeping the peace in Iraq. The soldiers themselves express frustration at being asked to do something for which they have absolutely no training. Their lack of training is having a direct causal effect on the increasingly bad relationship between the Americans and the Iraqis, and is slowly leading to disaster as the levels of violence ratchet up. In keeping with the fascist roots of neo-conservatism, people like Rumsfeld believe that pure militarism is the answer to every problem, whether military or not. This means that the neo-cons have a complete aversion to the concept of peacekeeping, which supposedly saps the military killing spirit of the troops. Bush expressed this as his opposition to what he called 'nation-building'. During Bush's presidential campaign Condoleezza Rice said: "We don't need to have the Eighty-Second Airborne escorting kids to kindergarten." Consistent with this approach to the world, about a year ago the army announced it would be closing (or here) the Army War College's Peacekeeping Institute at Carlisle Barracks, the only institute it has devoted to peacekeeping, effective the end of September of this year. This saved them about $200,000 in operating costs and, for 10 staff, about $800,000 in salaries, for a grand total of $1 million per year, .00025 percent of the military's annual budget (and, by the way, what did Bush's little aircraft carrier photo-op cost?). This frugality was from an organization that has managed to 'misplace' one trillion dollars. They claim that the function and mission of the institute will be transferred elsewhere, but that appears to be untrue. There is simply no place for peacekeeping in today's neo-con army, and this view of the world has already cost many lives.