A redeployment

The declaration of President Bush concerning the redeployment of thousands of American troops in Europe – some spoke about 70 thousands as a likely number in a first step to the expected redeployment –” would sound as a showcase, if the whole matter is not linked to two essential elements the consideration of which is unavoidable at the analysis: the first is the continued presence of an international terrorist threat whose target remains the Americans themselves, and the second is the presence of about 140 thousands American soldiers in Iraq . We should notice in this context that the redeployment issue concerns about 200 thousands of American troops posted since the beginning of the cold war in Europe and Asia, and they are consequently integral part of the Atlantic Defense System. Then what is the change that occurred in these days motivating M. Bush’s initiative?

On the political level, the issue sounds comfortable for Bush ‘s administration, as it is aiming at winning the public opinion at this crucial phase of the presidential election campaign. Observe that the President did not speak about the withdrawal of soldiers from Iraq, but from Europe where they do not face any danger. And despite the fact that this initiative may appear as a response to the declaration of the candidate John Kerry, saying that he will pull out gradually the troops from Iraq, Mr. Bush’s reaction still seems enough flexible and elastic, since the redeployment would take no less than a decade, otherwise enough time for him to leave office even in case he would be re-elected. Neither him nor his party, and even lesser so for the falcons of the military-industrial complex, – to borrow an expression of C. Wright Mills- would be bound by the promise, the fulfillment of which may even fall on a Democrat’s shoulders, in case there is a change at the top in 2008. On the other hand, we would not omit to notice that even Mr. John Kerry did not give up caution. He never said that he would withdraw the troops from Iraq immediately after his arrival to the White House, in case he is elected. That is so because he certainly knows that the question would not be as simple as it appears.

Mr. Bush was since the beginning really concerned with picturing himself as a war leader. He liked to perform that part for both the imagination and the memory of the American people, or at least a great part of it. Some observers likened between him and President Reagan. The latter was believed to be the great digger of the Soviet grave. He was the man who precipitated the collapse of the red empire. Even Mrs. Thatcher, former Prime Minister of Great Britain recognized such a role for her great friend, in her memoirs. So in the background of Mr. Bush’s project, there is a dream of America as the greatest nation on earth and of himself as the war leader of the Western world. This picture appeared essentially on two fronts: the first was the war on the international terrorism, and the second was the war on Saddam’s Iraq. Nevertheless, on both fronts we cannot say that Mr. Bush got a success ratio of 100 %. It wouldn’t be still an excess to say that the present administration did not reach even 50 % of what it aimed at initially. And the evidence of such a hypothesis is not so hard to demonstrate:

– First, the Americans did not succeed in their attempt to eradicate Al Qaeda and remove it completely from Afghanistan and the neighborhood, albeit that actually was –” and still is –” the most important threat to the U. S. national security. In the last days, some news pointed out to a meeting which happened in March in Waziristan (Pakistan), attended by some representatives of the second generation of Al Qaeda leaders .The news was confirmed by president Musharraf himself, and Time magazine and other newspapers run stories and reports, which even a little tardy are no less interesting in that they prove that Al Qaeda activists did not give up and are still trying to upset the Western world. We find among the elements who took part to that meeting people like Abu Eissa Al Hindi –” who has been arrested and jailed in Britain recently – and Mohammad Junaid Babar – who was detained in New York – and Adnan Shukri Jumah, and others including specialists in computer sciences and explosives. Besides, let’s not forget the most important: The top-leaders of Al Qaeda, i.e. Osama Ben Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and Al Zarqawy, are still free and seemingly active.

– Second, in Iraq, everything today seems to indicate that the Americans have entered a quagmire in which they may drown for several years and drown with them the country in an endless bloody tragedy. We are today far away from the theories that planned –” should we say dreamed? –” a peaceful democratic post-Saddam era. And despite the fact that the resistance was expected, the capture of Saddam Hussein and his most important ministers and relatives did not paralyze the combating movement that started since the first days of the invasion. This is necessarily to put new questions to the observers and the actors: Is the Baath party the sole force in Iraq that resisted the intervention, or should we state that other jihadist and political movements were just waiting for the opportunity to open so that they prove their influence and power in the reshaping of the society? –” Let’s not omit for instance that Muqtada al Sadr was and still is an enemy of Saddam and his Baath party. Subsequently, those who fight today may be even bypassing all the authority of the secularist –” yet nationalist –” Baath. Another question seems unavoidable: Is the current government and the next one capable, if left for their own forces, of getting rid of the terrorism plaguing the country and undermining all the efforts of stabilization, or are they still needing the intervention of foreign forces beside them? Would it be possible for the Iraqis to rebuild their state without American assistance? Some people say now: yes, they can. But what to do with the terrorism? –” Terrorism, they say, is the reaction to the American presence. Once, the U. S. troops leave the country, the Iraqi government would regain control of the situation. Yet, it seems that in both cases, – with the American forces or without them, – there is a dilemma not easy to bypass for the Iraqi government.

But indeed, the situation is so complex, that a withdrawal of American troops would be likely welcome by a lot of people: If Arab troops can replace them for a little period, and if this is done under the supervision of the United Nations and the Arab League, it would be allaying for everybody.

Whereas the Bush administration is now concerned with the redeployment in Europe and Asia, many of these questions remain sensitive in the United States because people are naturally and quite understandably concerned about American lives. Nevertheless, we ought to notice that neither the president Bush nor the candidate Kerry seem ready to give a reasonable answer, about both issues –” i.e. international terrorism threat and instability in Iraq -, able to alleviate people’s anxiety.