Thursday, November 8, 2007

But we just have to give it more time!


Whenever one thinks that our discourse regarding the Iraq War just can't get any more inane, it always manages to find a way. If the violence in Iraq continues to decrease -- and even if one accepts the most dubious of premises in order to see it all in the best possible light (the decrease will endure, it's because of the Magical Surge, the de facto ethnic cleansing can reverse itself, etc.) -- that rather obviously doesn't mean that the war has achieved anything positive, either in that country or for our own. It just means that we have begun to contain some of the monstrous harm which our invasion unleashed there.

Acting as though a decrease in violence is now a positive reflection on the invasion itself is irrational in the extreme. It's basically akin to someone sitting on their couch and chewing up food and spitting it all over the floor and the walls and the furniture month after month until it piles up and congeals and grows into mold, turning the room into a repulsive, health-threatening mess. Guests come by and run away in horror at how repugnant it all is.

Then, one day, the person decides to pick up some of the congealed food from the floor and scrapes a little bit off the walls, making it a bit less filthy. Then he starts calling his friends, announcing: "You must come over. I've completely redecorated my home and it looks beautiful now. You have to see what I've done to it."

That is pretty much an exact analogy to what is now emerging as Beltway wisdom regarding Iraq. We took a country that was relatively stable and a sworn enemy of, and an important check on, Iran. We turned it into a cesspool of violence, instability, displacement, sectarian strife, Iranian influence, and rule by militia.

The best we can hope for is to reverse some of the damage that we did so that a Shiite regime far more loyal to Iran than to the U.S. can rule with some semblance of order. And to "achieve" that, we squandered hundreds of billions of dollars, thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians (at least), and almost every ounce of credibility and influence we built up over the last six decades. That's the best case scenario.

And Bush is still waiting for his parade......


Ricky Bones said...

I will ask teh question that needed to be asked after the "Last throes" comment and all of the "corners" we have turned.

How much longer can you keep asking us to be patient? I seem to remember them telling us this war would be over before it began and this would not cost us much at all. I also remember this, which means confuses me on how the war could be so quick and cheap -

Yeah, I believe what they tell me...right!

Mike Thomas said...

I seem to remember them telling us this war ... would not cost us much at all.

I'll bet that Lawrence B. Lindsey remembers that too.
He's the former Bush economic advisor who got canned in 2003 after estimating the cost of the war at $100-200 billion.

What the wingnuts refuse to acknowledge is that the question as to whether or not the Iraq war was a mistake is over. It doesn't matter if tomorrow peace breaks out tomorrow and all the Sunnis and Shiites join hands and start singing Kumbaya - the war was a huge boondoggle that was not worth the cost in blood or dollars.
While the thought of Iraq turning into a pro-Western democracy is sure to give most people that warm fuzzy feeling, the truth is that it doesn't make one damn bit of difference to us in the long-run. Do you think we are the slightest bit concerned that our major allies in the region are a military dictator (Pakistan) and a theocratic monarchy (Saudi Arabia)? Hell no. We're fine with that, just like we were fine with Saddam back in the '80s when he was Reagan and Bush Srs. favorite foreign dictator.
I'm all for promoting democracy, but not at the cost that the neo-cons have placed on it. Ultimately, it will be up to the Iraqi people what kind of government they will have and I don't think they will be ready for a Western-style democracy anytime soon.

Ricky Bones said...

So true Mike.

What confuses me is that we are attempting to prop up a Shia led government in Iraq, backing Sunni Militias in Iraq to combat the Shia Militias. Iran is a Shia majority nation, led by Shias, which makes it in line ideologically with Iraq's leaders, so now we have spread Iran's influence further in a sense. This now makes Saudi Arabia, a Sunni nation, quite uneasy.

Seems like this move of ours is doing nothing more than destabilizing teh region. But, what do I know, my major was history in undergrad.

We should have learned from what we did to Iran in 1952 when we deposed Mossadeqh and put The Shah in power and saw the backlash in the late 70's. Short memories I guess.

AnnPW said...

I take issue with calling the Iraq invasion a "mistake." It was not a mistake. It was a deliberate shell game (excuse the gruesome pun) pulled on a still-in-shock country after 9/11. The bastards knew what they were doing (which is NOT to say in any way that they were competent) - it was a deliberate deception, dare I say it? Yes, a lie. This is what is so hard for the American public to come to terms with, that our government deliberately lied us into the worst strategic foreign policy blunder in our history. But the evidence is incontrovertable.