Wednesday :: Jul 18, 2007

Backing Iraq Withdrawal = Fuzzy Thinking?

by soccerdad

Yesterday, Karen DeYoung and Thomas E. Ricks had an article in theWaPo concerning what might happen is the US just withdraws. They foresaw three likely events.

If U.S. combat forces withdraw from Iraq in the near future, three developments would be likely to unfold. Majority Shiites would drive Sunnis out of ethnically mixed areas west to Anbar province. Southern Iraq would erupt in civil war between Shiite groups. And the Kurdish north would solidify its borders and invite a U.S. troop presence there. In short, Iraq would effectively become three separate nations.

But what I really wanted to talk about is the comment this article elicited from Paul Woodward over at The War In Context. This is a site I visit everyday and have a lot of respect for his views, but his comment left me confused. In short, he accuses those who promote withdrawal as exercising the same “fuzzy logic” as those would took us to war, i.e. not thinking of the consequences. He is clearly angry, and rightfully so, at those in the US who don’t care what happen to the Iraqi people.

It won't be apocalyptic -- at least not if you live in Pennsylvania. But if you're an Iraqi, hearing Americans with a blasé and fatalistic attitude towards the prospect of your country ripping itself apart, probably evokes a sickening rage.

The innocent, teflon-coated, American conscience sheds the irksome weight of responsibility by casting partition as destiny -- a process we might have set in motion but cannot conceivably arrest.

When it comes to US troop withdrawal plans, the calls to "end the war" and "bring the troops home" are a mirror image of the popular support for dealing with Saddam: both reflect America's narcissistic preoccupation with itself.

There is no doubt that the average American, the media and members of the government don't care and have never cared about the people of Iraq. That will not change, this country is too narcissistic and, frankly, too racist to care. There are two major intertwined questions that must be answered: 1. Would the Iraqis be better off with the US there or with the US gone and 2. even if the US administration suddenly acquired a conscience does the US have any standing and credibility with anyone, that would enable the US to start a process to heal Iraq.

It would be the greatest day in this country’s history in the last 100 years if the US would reverse its course and act to stop the blood letting in Iraq. However, it has long been my opinion that the US has contributed to and continues to contribute to the killing in Iraq. Its all been documented, the use of banned weapons, indiscriminate killing of civilians, the Salvador option, etc etc. The US war in Iraq is a classic war of occupation whose goal was to destroy the country, kill as many Iraqis as possible, and failing the latter get the Iraqis to kill each other all to take control of the oil, either directly or by proxy. And we have heard over the last few days how the Air Force is ramping up its activity which is certainly going to lead to more civilian deaths. As Rumsfeld said the plan was to wait until the Iraqis “became tired of being killed”.
And here’s is Paul’s suggestion

….We can get our troops out of Iraq but we can't get out of our responsibility. Indeed, to say that "Washington should step up its regional diplomacy, putting more pressure on regional actors such as Saudi Arabia to take responsibility for what is happening in their back yards," is merely to display the same arrogance that led to this failure. Instead, what America needs to draw on now is a resource in which it has historically possessed only the most meager supply: humility.We need the humility to ask for help and cooperate with those whose interests both intersect and differ from ours.

The only response I have to this is WTF. Talk about fuzzy thinking. From who? Under what conditions? You have got to be kidding me. The US under this government has absolutely no standing with anyone such that they are going to put their blood on the line. Even more importantly, asking for help doesn’t by itself suddenly indicate a change in motives.

Here’s the only scenario I can foresee under which the US can accomplish anything positive in the ME. Tomorrow a whole new Congress would have to show up, each member having been imbued with a conscience. They would immediately impeach the administration and let them be carted off to the Hague for a war crime trials. Then we would have to start dismantling the “enduring bases” and vow never to interfere in the ME again. Finally, we should write a check for a trillion dollars or so to rebuild the infrastructure. Since this has no chance of happening, the only solution is to bring ALL our troops home.

I agree with Paul about his apparent distaste for the redeployment option. Here in a nutshell is what the redeployment option really means. We pull as many troops from Iraq as possible and place them in another nearby client state. Then we wait as the Iraqis kill each other off and when they are done, the US is in a position to swoop back in and secure the oil. The redeployment is a cynical attempt to have your cake and eat it too, i.e. limit US casualties and still get the oil.

What we really need is a complete repudiation of the entire imperialistic foreign policy we currently have. But in fact this is not new. It is the way this country has always acted. So I have little hope.

I think what I am hearing from Paul is the very frustrated talk of a moral person who truly cares about human beings, all human beings. The only state for such people in today’s world and in this country, especially, is constant rage and an ever increasing despair eating away at their soul. We need much more than a new administration, we need a sea change in how we view ourselves and others. We must first commit in ourselves that human life is important, no matter what country, what race, or what gender. Then we must insist that our government reflect this basic principle. Our failure to do this may well indeed lead to the end of the US as we know it, and if it were to spiral completely out of control the end of human life on this planet.

soccerdad :: 5:17 PM :: Comments (12) :: Digg It!