Friday, December 15, 2006

Getting It!

Since the war in Iraq began, the military's objective has been self governance and self security by the Iraqi people. In order to achieve this goal, training of local forces, and redevelopment of damaged infrastructure needed to take place. But one area that has gone unreported by the media, but not unnoticed by the local resurgency, is the need for economic stability, and jobs, jobs, jobs. Seems the resistance knows this, and the military planners do not:
A suicide bomber targeting laborers killed 71 people Tuesday in Baghdad and wounded 220, Iraqi officials said.

A pickup truck loaded with about 440 pounds of explosives pulled into central Baghdad's Tayaran Square as hundreds of unemployed Iraqis holding picks and shovels gathered seeking a day's work.

The truck driver signaled that he had jobs -- prompting people to crowd around the pickup before he detonated his bomb, said an Iraqi Interior Ministry official.
Commenter Steve shared more with me recently:
The "new" issue of the day I see is get some factories going over here to put people to work. I surmised years ago that when people are unemployed they sit around thinking how terrible their lives are and they are moved to acts of violence. It happens over and over in places like the Balkans, Iraq, and even in the US. Simply put: people that are employed don't have the time nor do they have the inclination to take up arms and fight. Seems like a no brainer to me, but we haven't put that into practice much.
Disgruntled and idle Iraqi citizens can easily be moved by the terrorist recruitment system. There is no doubt that Security is key to making the employment opportunities more readily available, and I must believe that training is ongoing. But we need to put the citizens to work, to keep them busy, and have them feel success. Steve now believes the military powers are 'Getting it":
The Iraq news today seems to be one of finally "getting it" and one of re-trenchment. The "getting it" is that the powers that be have finally realized that when there's 70% unemployment, all those out of work people are a ready-made breeding ground of insurgents. So now we're finally going to concentrate on helping to rebuild the Iraqi economy so people can work. It never ceases to amaze me that they come to this "realization" when the facts of the issue have been identified throughout history. If the folks living in depressed areas of MN/USA had full employment, good education and a glimmer of hope for their future, would they participate in gangs, crime and drugs? Certainly not in the numbers they are now. Our society tosses these people under the bus then can't understand why they live the way they do. Amazing. Over here in Iraq we put all the former Government employees out of work, fired the soldiers and police, didn't create new jobs and wonder why they fight us.
We will need to see a brief up tick in forces to restabilize and secure economic centers and work more diligently in getting the Iraqis back to work. As more and more of them feel success and see the potential future that is available to them, the recruitment ability of the terrors cells will be effected. Violence could very well subside, and the need for the larger security forces, specifically international one, may diminish.

In my teaser post, a comment states:
Damn few leaders were talking about true reconstruction as part of our "winning strategy". Despite many billions simply vanishing, it's taken all of our resources to start fixing Iraqi basic infrastructure that has crumbled under years of war and UN sanctions. The sad thing is that investors need security to start putting up factories...and security is almost impossible to find. Especially, as pointed out above, in the middle of a widening civil war.

I fear, once again, we started too little, too late, and with the wrong priorities.
I'm not convinced it is too late, and if the military planners start finally 'getting it' there is hope they can work towards rebuilding the economic infrastructure as well as the security infrastructure. But I will agree the clock is running out, and if there is going to be a chance at success in Iraq, things need to start happening pretty quickly.


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