Wednesday :: Nov 30, 2005

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like 1967


by Marie

The war hawks are squabbling. To stay or to go. How to stay and how to go. How to “win.” To stay to honor those who have already fallen. To stay until the native forces are ready to step in and continue our fight. How the war is larger than the one we see -- it’s a global war against communism/terrorism. Yada, dada, Dali.

Then, as now, only yahoos are admitted to the debate. Ah, yes, let’s keep dining exclusively at Chez MIC that give us food poisoning, every time. Tasty going down and doesn’t hurt too much unless you’re one of the unlucky dead ones. Fewer of them these days and nobody forced them to eat. Why is Chef Murtha (who earned his poisoned food toque the old fashioned way by tasting and not dying before serving it up to others) suddenly smelling the broth and telling everyone to stop eating now? Well, he didn’t exactly say now, but soon. Yes, soon. Hell, all the cooks understand and agree on “soon.” Or later.

They promised us flower strewn avenues. Then a primrose lane. A cobblestone path. A donkey track. A compass with all points labeled “stay the course.” Now it only reads “stay” because leaving would send a bad message to the troops and the Iraqi people. And don’t pay any attention to the troops and Iraqis that want us to go.

The quagmire in our minds is always vaguer and more tenacious than a quagmire on the battlefield. For over thirty years this country has been stuck in the muck without a leader. The bullhorn is always in the hands of someone that screeches right, left, up, down, in, out but regardless of which way we turn or move, we remain in the muck. We elect Presidents that talk about “us” and as soon as they get to DC, their major interest is everything and everyone but “us.” Foreign policy is much easier than domestic policy. Domestic policy requires real leadership but foreign policy has no such requirement and US Presidents can pretty much do as they damn well please in that arena as long as Congress doesn’t raise too much of a stink.

To stay in Iraq will change little but the number of deaths to and by Americans and the amount the war adds to the National Debt. The war hawks don’t know that now and will never accept it later. We’ll stay as they all try to prove that the US can “win” in Iraq. The McCain war hawks will always blame the failure on the lack of more troops. The Bidens will blame the failure on the too fast, too slow or too inept handling of a drawdown. Bush will blame Congress, liberals and politics. They’ll spar over prosecution of the occupation and none of them will publicly disclose their goal for Iraq. To do so would to expose them all as delusional and/or imperialists.

Can the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds peacefully coexist in the near future? If not for the oil only under the feet of the Kurds and Shia, they might be able to go their separate ways. Then the Kurds could fight with Turkey. And the Shia could fight among themselves for more or less religious fundamentalism. There is no Nelson Mandela among the Shia that would lead a peace and reconciliation process with the Sunnis. The Sunnis are not about to be left as the impoverished ones as long as they retain arms and military skills. Those picking off Saddam’s defense attorneys and university professors are likely aligned and the forerunners of the Iraqi Taliban. The Zarquwi militia are more effective thugs and I agree with Juan Cole that they are tolerated because they are useful as both the target for and aggressor against the US. As in southeast Asia, the longer we stay, the stronger and more violent the thugs will become. Nobody knows if foreign al Qaeda fighters are in Iraq in any appreciable numbers or if Zarquwi and Sadr fighters have linked up, but that’s probably only a matter of time (and the death of either Zarquwi or Sadr would hasten it by removing one big ego). No wonder the Sunni, Shia and Kurd political leaders have asked the US to leave! The US can never smash these militia organizations and if they get much stronger, the Sunni and Shia may fare no better.
Is a civil war in Iraq inevitable? From my western perspective the divisions in Iraq are too wide for a peaceful resolution. However, people have an amazing capacity to adjust to conditions that they would have once rejected if the alternative is anarchy on the streets. That’s why “the people” throughout history so rarely revolt. We live with hunger, lack of clothing and shelter and brutal totalitarian governments because in the short run (and usually the long run as well) fewer of us die than we would if we revolted. And maybe the deal making among the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds will lead to something better than I can see in the future of Iraq. Whatever it will be, it will no more be described as a shining beacon of democracy in the Middle East than Lebanon, Egypt or Jordan is. Not so much better than it was under Saddam, only different, and with a little luck perhaps better than Iran, Saudi Arabia and countless other countries around the globe.

The war hawks in this country will insure is that whatever is to come in Iraq will be later instead of sooner. They will continue to fuck up as long as Americans don’t tell them to fuck off. That too is likely to come later if ever.

Marie :: 1:15 PM :: Comments (26) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!