Jeopardy – the Iraq edition
What’s the question? To the answers, “leave now,” “stay the course,” and “increase the troop strength.”
This is not 1968 and Iraq is not Vietnam (stunning parallels between the wars but not the countries). Like Dorothy in Oz, the US always had the answer to the Vietnam question – “there’s no place like home.” But we decided to trash the place and kill a lot of people before recognizing that all we ever had to do was leave. All we were ever doing there was enforcing a western imposed and artificial division between North and South Vietnam for twenty years. The endgame was always clear and posed no threat to the US.
Not so simple this time around. And it’s still amazing to me that so few in this country could see in advance that the range of possible outcomes ran from bad to catastrophic. The Neo-Con wetdream of making the ME safe for Israel is more likely to mark the beginning of the end for Israel. The oilmen’s wetdream of controlling ME oil may turn into their worst nightmare; no control, limited supply availability and extortionist prices for them and the US. If the rest of the world figures out that they can do “bidness” and manage perfectly well without the US, we will become an isolated and friendless country. And all our bombs and military technology will be useless if we become the pariah of the world.
What do we do about Iraq? Among the three choices our leaders have offered to date (well, the Neo-Cons would like to add “attack Syria and Iran” to the list but those aren’t politically viable at the moment), the least worse is “leave now.” I’d like to say that it’s a toss-up between the other two, that the outcomes from either strategy will be about the same, but increasing the troops and costs could be the worst of the worst. Reinforcing that the US does seek to control the ME forever and giving the “insurgents” more IED targets. And the saber rattling against Iran by both Republicans and Democrats is only adding more oil to the fire.
Overall, we’re fucked. Unless we bite the bullet and get down on our knees begin chanting mea culpa and writing checks, lots of checks. But Americans are too arrogant and cheap to consider solutions that might actually fix some part of the long-term structural problems. Won’t do it on the drug issue, the government corruption created by the private financing of elections, healthcare as a profit making venture, and we’re not going to do it in Iraq.
Oh, and the question is: What can the US do to make Iraq worse?