Paying Insurgents Not to Fight
By Paul Craig Roberts
-- -- It is impossible to keep up with all the Bush regime’s
lies. There are simply too many. Among the recent crop, one of
the biggest is that the “surge” is working.
Launched last year, the "surge" was the extra 20,000-30,000 U.S.
troops sent to Iraq. These few extra troops, Americans were
told, would finally supply the necessary forces to pacify Iraq.
This claim never made any sense.
The extra troops didn't raise the total number of U.S. soldiers
to more than one-third the number every expert
has said is
necessary in order to successfully occupy Iraq.
The real purpose of the "surge"
was to hide another deception. The Bush regime is paying
Sunni insurgents $800,000 a day not to attack U.S. forces.
That's right, 80,000 members of an "Awakening group," the "Sons
of Iraq," a newly formed "U.S.-allied security force" consisting
of Sunni insurgents, are being paid $10 a day each not to attack
U.S. troops. Allegedly, the Sons of Iraq are now at work
This is a much cheaper way to
fight a war. We can only wonder why Bush didn't figure it out
The "surge" was also timed to
take account of the near completion of neighborhood cleansing.
Most of the violence in Iraq during the past five years has
resulted from Sunnis and Shi'ites driving each other out of
mixed neighborhoods. Had the two groups been capable of uniting
against the U.S. troops, the U.S. would have been driven out of
Iraq long ago. Instead, the Iraqis slaughtered each other and
fought the Americans in their spare time.
In other words, the "surge" has
had nothing to do with any decline in violence.
With the Sunni insurgents now on
Uncle Sam's payroll, with neighborhoods segregated, and with
Sadr's militia standing down, it is unclear who is still
responsible for ongoing violence other than U.S. troops
themselves. Somebody must still be fighting, however, because
the U.S. is still conducting air strikes and is still unable to
tell friend from foe.
On Feb. 16, the Los Angeles
Times reported that a U.S. air strike managed to kill nine
Iraqi civilians and three Sons of Iraq.
The Sunnis are abandoning their posts in protest, demanding
an end to "errant" U.S. air strikes. Obviously, the Sunnis see
an opportunity to increase their daily pay for not attacking
Americans. Soon they will have consultants advising them how
much they can demand in bribes before it pays the Americans to
begin fighting the war under the old terms. If Sunnis are smart,
they will split the gains. Currently, the Sunnis are getting
shafted. They are only collecting $800,000 of the
$275,000,000 it costs the U.S. to fight the war for one day.
That's only about three-tenths of one percent, too much of a
one-sided deal for the Americans.
If the Sunnis negotiate their
cut to between one-quarter and one-half of the daily cost to the
U.S. of the war, the Sunnis won’t need to share in the oil
revenues, thus helping the three factions to get back together
as a country. Even 20 percent of the daily cost of the war would
be a good deal for the Sunnis. A long-term contract in this
range would be expensive for Uncle Sam, but a great deal cheaper
than John McCain’s commitment to a 100-year Iraqi war.
If Bush's war turns out to be as
big a boon for the Sunnis as it has for Tony Blair, we might
have a modern-day version of
The Mouse That Roared – a movie about an impoverished
country that attacked the U.S. in order to be defeated and
receive foreign aid – only this time the money comes as a payoff
for not fighting the occupiers.
As the world now knows, Blair's
"dodgy dossier" about the threat allegedly posed by Iraq was a
contrivance that allowed Blair to put British troops at the
service of Bush's aggression in the Middle East. Now that Blair
is out of his prime minister job, he has been rewarded with
millions of dollars in sinecures from financial firms such as JP
Morgan and millions more in speaking engagements. As part of the
payoff, the Bush Republicans have even put Mrs. Blair on the
lucrative lecture circuit.
Ask yourself, do you really
think Blair knows enough high finance to be of any value as an
adviser to JP Morgan, or enough about climate change to advise
Zurich Financial on the subject? Do you really believe that
after hearing all the vacuous speeches Blair has delivered in
those many years in office anyone now wants to pay him huge fees
to hear him give a speech? Even when it was free, people were
sick of it.
Blair is simply collecting his
payoff for selling out his country and sending British troops to
die for American hegemony.
The Sunnis seem inclined to do
the same thing if Bush will pay them enough.
Is the next phase of the Iraq
war going to be a U.S.-Sunni alliance against the Shi'ites?
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of
the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic
appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for
Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and
Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois
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