Iraq's endless birth pangs

Iraq's endless birth pangs

by digby

Well, this certainly portends good tidings for the new year:
The United States is quietly rushing dozens of Hellfire missiles and low-tech surveillance drones to Iraq to help government forces combat an explosion of violence by a Qaeda-backed insurgency that is gaining territory in both western Iraq and neighboring Syria.

The move follows an appeal for help in battling the extremist group by the Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, who met with President Obama in Washington last month.

But some military experts question whether the patchwork response will be sufficient to reverse the sharp downturn in security that already led to the deaths of more than 8,000 Iraqis this year, 952 of them Iraqi security force members, according to the United Nations, the highest level of violence since 2008.

Al Qaeda’s regional affiliate, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, has become a potent force in northern and western Iraq. Riding in armed convoys, the group has intimidated towns, assassinated local officials, and in an episode last week, used suicide bombers and hidden explosives to kill the commander of the Iraqi Army’s Seventh Division and more than a dozen of his officers and soldiers as they raided a Qaeda training camp near Rutbah.

Just what the country needs. Hellfire missiles.

What an excellent reminder as we go into 2014. We are not superheroes. We do not have super powers, even though we are a superpower. It's a sad fact that we cannot right all the wrongs in the world. It's a crime that we commit so many of them ourselves. And it's a tragedy that most of the time, even when our intentions are good, we are so big that we are a bull in a china shop, making things worse.

I don't know when those "birth pangs" of the Iraq democracy are finally going to end, but George W. Bush was probably right when he said we'll all be dead before we know how it comes out. Unfortunately, so will a lot of kids who deserved better.

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