Belaboring the Obvious

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Missing the Point....

Making excuses for Dem candidates who won't let go of the war is, well, making excuses. Swopa at FDL makes the attempt to explain why the leading candidates are hedging their bets and making their language on our military in Iraq more circumspect.

In this entire analysis, there're two things missing. The Iraqis don't want us there, and the American people don't want us there.

As for the ancillary points, the notion that there's no air force in Iraq ignores the obvious--Iraq hasn't had an air force worth pissing on since 1991, and that didn't prompt Iran or Saudi Arabia or Turkey, or Israel, for that matter, to attack Iraq. Iraq has been militarily castrated for more than a decade, period. The only country attacking them in all that intervening time was... us.

As well, the notion that the South Korea model applies to Iraq in the sense that an American presence could prevent other countries from attacking Iran is specious. What's the truth about the "South Korea model?" It's that the South Koreans are fed up with us being there, have been for some time, and the American presence in South Korea has actually impeded South Korean efforts to bring North Korea around through its "Sunshine" initiatives. We've succeeded, in the last few years, in annoying both Koreas. Better people than I say the same thing, foremost among them, Chalmers Johnson.

More importantly, giving Dem candidates an out on this matter ignores one important point. Keeping a US military presence in Iraq confirms the world's suspicions that the US is behaving imperially, if only because many already see the invasion not as an exercise in "liberation," but, rather, as a necessary step to keeping US forces in the region for further imperial ambitions made possible by military force. Bush & Co.™ cynically used the Iraq invasion to rid themselves of the onerous problem of US forces in Saudi Arabia (the root cause of much of the terrorism directed at the United States since 1991, and directly attributable to Bush's sainted Dad), without actually having to give up the openly imperial desire for controlling the region militarily.

Hiding in amongst Swopa's words are some assumptions which, I think, are fundamentally imperial in nature. For example, in considering our "long-term" presence in Iraq, Swopa says, "... any residual presence will need to depend on establishing a non-intervention agreement among Iraq’s neighbors that we can then police...." Why should we be policing such an agreement? It's their part of the world, not ours (something that even progressives seem to forget all too frequently). It's far too easy to slip into the "white man's burden" mode of thinking, and the above is an example.

Further, any attempt to keep our military in Iraq continues to enable all the worst aspects of the occupation, from a progressive perspective--the wretched excesses of private military contractors, for both security and military logistical services, not to mention the huge expense of keeping "enduring" bases in operation in a hostile and demanding environment, and a level of bloodshed we created.

And then, there's the matter of treating this as a simple political strategy to minimize the endgame effects that were already set in motion when Bush determined to attack another country for no good reason, and none of the possibilities with soldiers remaining in the country are the least bit attractive, morally, ethically or politically. If a Democrat persists in the view that a US military presence is necessary, this leaves open the clear possibility that such will cause a backlash among US voters. They may simply stay away from the polls (given that a strong percentage of voters currently are dissing the Democratically-controlled Congress for its perceived failure to solve the Iraq problem in short order, this eventuality has to be considered).

There's also the strategic box in which such a policy would put both soldiers and future policy makers. Failing to leave might well encourage various Iraqi factions to cut off supply routes to such bases, forcing supply by air (think a bit about airlifting in just fresh water for 50,000 soldiers and 50,000 contractors).

Then, there's the matter of our presence in Iraq encouraging the recruitment of and facilitating the training of new terrorists. As long as we're there, we give them a reason to go on doing so.

Then, there's the moral aspect of withdrawing American forces from security patrols to entrenched positions, leaving the Iraqis to blow each other up. What message does that send to the rest of the world? That we're above the fray, or that we're exhibiting a grotesque realpolitik, allowing the warring factions of Iraq to destroy each other while we wait out the violence in order to establish ourselves as a permanent fixture in the country and its government, achieving our originally-intended goal of creating a puppet state safe enough for our risk-averse oil multinationals to occupy with the help of our military? No matter how much innocent blood may be shed in the process?

What no candidate has thus far entertained is the one thing which will minimize the damage and also extract the US military from the region--appealing to the Iraqi public's self-interest and wishes. The reason we have not done so is that the current administration sees the economic interests of the oil companies as greater than that of the desires of either the American public or the Iraqi public.

The Republicans are quite brazen about their intentions for the region--one knows what they mean when they talk about "freedom" and "democracy" and "sovereignty." They're talking about profits--no one above the age of six should be mistaken about that bit of three-card monte disguised as an altruism serving only to reinforce mistaken notions of American exceptionalism.

Democrats, however, keep telling us they want to do the right thing. As long as they perpetuate a war begun for illegitimate reasons, by imbeciles subsumed by their own propaganda, they're simply perpetuating a horrible error. No good comes from finding the middle ground in a disaster. The way to fix the problem is to actually fix it.

It was not long ago that Georgie Anne Geyer reported that friends of Bush from Texas said, in a meeting with him, that he had been "nearly wild-eyed" as he repeated "I am the President." This was to suggest that Bush's mental stability was in question. The other phrase in the story, less mulled over, was that Bush "also made it clear he was setting Iraq up so his successor could not get out of 'our country's destiny.'"

And that is exactly what Bush is doing, if one goes by the words of most of the Dem presidential hopefuls. If the Dem candidates are so willing to let themselves be outwitted by an imbecilic bozo of Bush's miniscule mental caliber, what else are the voters to think--that the Dems are in league with the same financial elite and oil barons that pull Bush's strings, or that they're stupider than the poster child for stupid Presidents? If Bush says he's gonna force his successor to do what he, Bush, wants, shouldn't they at least make some small attempt to rub Bush's fuckin' nose in his own evil intentions?

There aren't too many other choices in this matter. Thanks to Bush and some reality-averse people in Congress (including a lot of Dems that now wish we didn't notice their election-induced Alice-in-Wonderland logic of that time), we did great wrong. We can't fix that by continuing to do wrong.


Post a Comment

<< Home