The Iraq Dilemma: Tossing Rocks In The River? genre: Just Jihad & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

The Will Of The Water

Over the course of more than four years, the American public has been treated to countless explanations of the situation in Iraq. At each juncture, the event of focus is reported to be the fundamental item that will allow us to turn the corner on the long standing conflict and each has been characterized as the elusive key to success. Over the years, the list of essential events has included the toppling of the Hussein government, more than one election, the battle of Fallujah, and now the latest troop surge.

Unfortunately, as each event has unfolded, another equal or larger issue has emerged...and we make the necessary and inevitable shift of our attention...all the while running as if on a treadmill...clocking numerous miles, but never moving forward.

Anyone who thinks back upon their childhood recalls the first time they played with flowing water and embarked upon an attempt to build a dam or alter the flow of the water. Early on in the process, the task seems relatively simple and straight forward as the first rocks have immediate impact on the water. However, as the water continues to flow, it isn't long before the rocks serve little purpose and the will of the water exceeds one's efforts. I can't help but view our attempts to alter the course of events in Iraq in much the same way and a new article provides the relative details.

WASHINGTON — The Shiite Muslim-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has made only "halting efforts" to end the power struggle fueling the war between Iraq's religious and ethnic communities, a new U.S. intelligence report said Wednesday.

Even if the bloodletting can be contained, Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders will be "hard pressed" to reach lasting political reconciliation, the report stated.

The report, reflecting the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, cast new uncertainty about the chances of success for President Bush's plan to contain the war through the deployment of an additional 28,000 U.S. troops, mostly in and around Baghdad.

"The struggle among and within Iraqi communities over national identity and the distribution of power has eclipsed attacks by Iraqis against (U.S.-led) Coalition Forces as the greatest impediment to Iraq's future as a peaceful, democratic and unified state," said the report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

While there have been some "positive developments, communal violence and scant common ground between the Shias, Sunnis and Kurds continues to polarize politics," it said.

Bush, facing growing pressure to change policy from key Republican senators, many of whom face re-election next year, has blamed the worsening violence on al Qaida in Iraq, a Sunni terrorist group inspired by Osama bin Laden. But the new report repeats a January intelligence assessment that the conflict is a "self-sustaining sectarian struggle between Shia and Sunnis" for which al Qaida in Iraq attacks have served as "effective accelerants."

A former senior military official who advises the Pentagon said there is mounting concern that hard-line Sunni and Shiite leaders, believing their side can prevail over the other in an all-out conflict, do not intend to implement the benchmarks so they can hasten a U.S. troop withdrawal.

"Both sides believe there is no point in having part of the pie if they can have the whole pie, and they are both convinced they can overwhelm their opponent," said the official, who requested anonymity to protect his relationship with the Pentagon.

If one sought to complete the analogy, the conclusion would be that the Iraqi people represent the water and the will of the water (the Iraqi people) has no intention of being blocked from its goals and objectives...regardless of the obstacles we construct, the barriers we build, and the intentions we hold.

Simply stated, the Iraqi's have a destination in mind that we may be forced to admit cannot be deterred, altered, or halted. Sure, we can temporarily slow it down, we can shift it from region to region, we can even bring it to a momentary halt...but we just cannot defeat the inherent nature of the Iraqi mindset and the destiny towards which it intends to travel. As with any effort to control what nature has wrought, the task is daunting and it rarely succeeds.

While we place loyal and honorable American soldiers in harms way...asking them to alter the path of the Iraqi people...having them build obstacles and move mountains...the Iraqi's appear to have no intention of traveling the path of our choosing at this moment. Like rocks in the water, our troops have the capacity to shift or slow the flow of the Iraqi will...but that will is far too strong to overcome.

Perhaps it is time to let the Iraqi will travel its chosen course until such time as it reaches its destiny or finds a path that it can accept. George Bush may believe his actions have been guided by a divine being...but anyone who recalls the nature of our origin would be wise to remember that the story of humanity included the granting of free will. Maybe it's time we step back and allow the will of the Iraqi people to unfold.

Daniel DiRito | July 12, 2007 | 9:41 AM
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