Iraq is a Failure


“Who the hell is shooting at us?” an American sergeant wants to know. Quoted in the International Herald Tribune, Sergeant Biletski was under pressure. He and his men were trying to conduct an operation in Baghdad. They were trying to suppress ‘insurgents.’ But they didn’t know who the insurgents were… where they were… or what they were doing. Either the Sunnis were shooting at them. Or the Shiites. Or the Iraqi army. Or just people who are sick of having their doors smashed in by foreigners. All they knew was that people seemed to be shooting at them from all directions… and their Iraqi allies had vanished.

“This place is a failure,” Biletski suggests.

If it weren’t for people getting killed and maimed, the whole thing would be a farce. For reasons of pure vanity, the U.S. invaded the place. All we had to do was to knock that wicked Saddam Hussein off his perch and white doves would come out everywhere in the Mideast. And now, poor Sergeant Biletski, sent to a dreadful place to do dreadful work, finds out the truth.

The Iraqis, even those who are supposed to be sympathetic to the invaders, don’t fight like Americans. Can you believe it? These people fight… well… like Arabs! After all these generations; they have still not learned the ‘Western way of war.’ Instead, they hit and run… they stab us in the back… they take potshots and go back to drinking their disgusting tea. They kill each other… and then, when we intervene, they all turn on us.

Who would have imagined? Who could have guessed? Who could have known?

Even the warmongers are trying to wash their hands of the whole business…

“I for one have become disillusioned with dreams of transforming Iraqi society from the top down,” says David Brooks in the New York Times. The delusional hawks now say they are moving on to new illusions.

That is how it works. The world improvers don’t fight their own wars. That’s for others. And let others pay the taxes, too. Then, when the whole adventure inevitably goes bad, they are on to the next new thing.

Soldiers… taxpayers… voters – somebody’s got to hold the bag.

Sgt. Biletski, you’re on your own now.

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.


  1. The quote is not accurate as posted. The quote was in reference to the Haifa St. campaign to that point. After a breif moment to reflect, SFC Marc Biletski (my brother), stated that it was not a total failure. Here is the full contents of the quote:

    From Wire Reports

    BAGHDAD, Iraq – In the battle for Baghdad, Haifa Street has changed hands so often that it has taken on the feel of a no-man’s land, the deadly space between opposing trenches.

    On Wednesday, in a small preview of the troop increase that the U.S. hopes will secure the city, U.S. soldiers and armored vehicles raced onto Haifa Street before dawn to dislodge Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias who have been battling for a stretch of ragged slums. But as the sun rose, many of the Iraqi army units who were to do the actual searches of the mostly abandoned buildings did not arrive on time, forcing the Americans to start the job on their own.

    When the Iraqi units finally did show up, it was with the air of a class outing, cheering and laughing as the Americans blew locks off doors with shotguns. As the morning wore on and the troops came under fire from all directions, another apparent flaw in this strategy became clear as empty apartments became lairs for gunmen who flitted from window to window and killed at least one American soldier, with a shot to the head.

    Whether the gunfire was coming from Sunni insurgents or Shiite militia fighters or some of the Iraqi soldiers who had disappeared into the Gotham-like cityscape, no one could say.

    “Who the hell is shooting at us?” shouted Sgt. 1st Class Marc Biletski, whose platoon was jammed into a small room off an alley that was being swept by a sniper’s bullets. “Who’s shooting at us? Do we know who they are?”

    Just before the platoon tossed smoke bombs and sprinted through the alley to a more secure position, Sgt. Biletski had a moment to reflect on this spot, which the U.S. has now fought to regain from a mysterious enemy at least three times in the past two years.

    “This place is a failure,” Sgt. Biletski said. “Every time we come here, we have to come back.”

    He paused, then said, “Well, maybe not a total failure,” since American troops have smashed opposition on Haifa Street each time they have come in.

    With that, Sgt. Biletski ran through the billowing yellow smoke and took up a new position.

    Larry Biletski
    December 4, 2007

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