This is my reply to an email inviting me to "protest" here in Perth, Western Australia against the 20,000 additional troops to be deployed to Baghdad by the US military. Of course I am an anti-occupation activist and was most definately a prominant member of Perth's anti-war activist community before the war; but protesting this deployment is not something I can see any purpose in. Here is my reply to the email:
I would like to start a constructive conversation with the members of Just Peace as to the reasons they are opposing this troop increase (in reality its not much of an increase- it's merely taking troop levels back to what they were this time last year). Yes I am against the occupation and yes I am against anything which will worsen the situation in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq. However over the last two years I have become deeply involved in many Iraqi communities both within and outside of Iraq- most importantly of all in the Iraqi blogosphere. This has given me the privelege of an insiders view of everything from Iraqi culture & language- through to an anti-occupation US soldiers perspective (who was and is no longer posted in Baghdad; he has since left the army).
In all honesty this is NOT the time to protest. This is the time to join the discussion and use words and wisdom to determine where to go next with Iraq once this operation is over (either it fails or succeeds- either which way this is the very last move the US government can make as an occupier of Iraq. All future increase in deployment will be blocked by congress (this one can't since the money is left-overs from 2006 budgeting).
More over any future increase will be blocked by the Iraqi Government itself and the Iraqi militias and resistance if the US were to fail in this operation aimed at targetting these two opposing sectarian forces. The Shi'ite militia's and the Sunni extremist's being targetted by these operations are the ones which have caused most of the violence in Iraqi's main cities since the Iraqi government was established.
There is a very interesting debate about this troop deployment occuring across the Iraqi blogosphere- and though many Iraqi's were at first pessimistic about it's chances of success in confronting the militia's- and some still are; others believe this is the only chance left to prevent an Islamofascist government coming to power against the will of the majority of Iraqis.
I will not be attending this protest as I believe as good as its intentions may be it's stance is ignorant. "TROOPS OUT NOW" was a great slogan before the fall of Saddam Hussein and even after, while the sectarian warfare was NOT killing hundreds per day and when the Iraqi civilian death toll had NOT been estimated at over 650,000- the vast majority of which are victims of the very same armed sectarian groups which are to be targetted by this final US action in Iraq.
If one can look past all prior judgements on what the USA was planning for Iraq and see the real situation they are in; where their prestige has been entirely lost, their power in the middle-east has fallen and their chances of "success" in Iraq entirely lost------ then we can easily see that this must be their final action. The Democrats WILL be voted in next election; they already control congress so there would be no point in another Republican attempt at defrauding the voting system.
The will of the American people has been totally realised- the timetable for Iraq has already been set. The democrats will not allow this occupation to continue unabated like the Republicans so wished- they want out as soon as possible- but their leaders definately realise the necessity of leaving Iraq in a semi-stable condition with a government that can actually exist without the support of deadly shia militia's such as the Mehdi Army.
What needs to be done now is to wait it out and see wether this is PLAN (some would argue that this is their first actual PLAN for Baghdad since the "Shock and Awe" campaign) is successfull, and in the mean time find our own ways to actually HELP the people of Baghdad. If there is anyone truely interested in this I can bring many suggestions- I am the founder // editor in chief of "The Olivebranch Network"- the biggest active group-blog in the Iraqi Blogosphere with over 30 Iraqi contributors and two Iraqi sub-editors, as a result of the efforts put in to develop this network I have made some very good friends who are actively finding ways to help better the lives of their fellow Iraqi's.
The Olivebranch Network can be found at http://olivebranchoptimism.net but unfortunately has been having hosting problems for the last two days as the server is upgrading its software and in the process has damaged one of the database files required for the Olivebranch Network's comments section to function correctly.
I will be posting this email on my blog at http://olivebranchoptimism.net and anyone who wishes to debate or discuss anything mentioned in this email is welcome to leave me a comment there- I will be checking for replies frequently over the next few weeks.
--- Thanks Ray and could you possibly forward this on to the members of Just Peace? I have finally signed up as one just now (I thought I had already but obviously not!).