But wait ... Only a short time ago we were told that Cheney and his crew at the White House wanted to take the side of the Shi'as in Iraq's burgeoning civil war. In other words, for all the attention to who we're going to attack and how and how many soldiers we need to do it, there appears to be a basic debate (to be generous) or confusion (to be less generous) within the administration over which side we're even on.
We talk a lot about the 'surge' and that's important since it assumes a intensive military commitment in Iraq for years into the future. We worry about tactics and strategy and whether the White House is going to plunge us into another war as a way to wriggle out of the blame for the current one. But this is a level of folly that transcends all of that: at the most basic level, the folks running the show can't even decide who's side we're on. There's no real strategy here or grand aim or even stable aim -- more like a rather panicked set of improvisations aimed at finding a way to retrospectively justify the mistakes that got us here in the first place.
It's really simple actually. We don't have a side. Our soldiers go out on their daily missions and whoever shows up to shoot at us, we fight. Could be the Shia one day and the Sunnis the next. In essence, we dangle our troops out as bait to see who will come to play that particular day. We do this under the auspice of securing the country, but we are really just playing king of the mountain.
We arm both sides either directly (Iraqi government) or through proxy (Saudis) and hope neither side goes rogue, which they always do. Our wish is for the Iraqi government to attack al-Qaeda in Iraq and that the Salafists the Saudis arm will take on Hezbollah. It might happen one day, but it is easier to attack us at this point due to our visibility and since they both hate us anyway, the shit just falls back on us.