Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Some say arming Sunni insurgents is a shitty idea

But these guys must be the same guys who said invading Iraq was a really stupid idea so why should we listen to them?

WASHINGTON — A U.S. program to combat al-Qaida in Iraq by arming Sunni Muslims undercuts the Iraqi government and years of U.S. policy, and is a tacit acknowledgment that the country's violence is really a civil war, some U.S. military officials in Washington and foreign policy experts say.

The program, which Bush administration officials have hailed as a sign of progress in Iraq, has sparked heated debate among military and foreign policy analysts. It is opposed by the Iraqi government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Supporters see it as a welcomed change in the American approach in Iraq, one whose benefits have been obvious in the drop in violence in Iraq's Anbar province, where al-Qaida formerly held sway. They say it could give impetus to the Shiites and Kurds to make political concessions.

But others contend the program has long-term repercussions that can only be guessed at now. By giving weapons and training to Sunnis in Anbar and Baghdad who've been previously associated with Sunni insurgent groups, the program endorses unofficial armed groups over official Iraqi forces as guarantors of Iraqi security, military officers who oppose the program say.

Those officers also say it abandons the long-stated U.S. goal of disarming militias and reinforces the idea that U.S.-trained Iraqi forces cannot control their country.

At the Pentagon, at least six officers who served in Iraq shook their heads when asked about the idea of arming the Sunnis. They said they had little faith in a Sunni community that was aggressively killing their comrades just months ago.

The enemy of our enemy is just another enemy who wants to shoot our asses right out of Iraq. Welcome to the quagmire.

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