Friday, March 24, 2006

Leaving Iraq, pt 1

I've been working, off and on, on a lengthy(and so far, kind of unwieldy) post on the question of whether or not the US should leave Iraq now. I left part of it as a comment at 1115, a new(to me) blog that I first heard of via the Koufaxes, in response to Sarabeth's "Nobody Knows", which you should read. My response:

Even though I think leaving Iraq in chaos is grossly wrong, I’ve come to believe that the US has become one of the destabilizing influences in Iraq. From my vantage point it seems as if so much of what has happened in the past 3 years has been because of Bremer disbanding the Iraqi military, who were mostly Sunni, and who oppressed the Shia under Saddam. The US has essentially sided with the Shiite militias, igniting and inflaming the civil war. If the US leaves the war will probably get bloodier quicker, but the two sides will eventually have to start talking to each other. But if the US stays and aids the Shiites without going so far as helping them secure an outright win against the Sunnis, the war will just keep going indefinitely, and the US will be the obstacle that prevents the Sunnis from going to the negotiating table. As long as they are demonized as “insurgents” and “terrorists”, negotiations will be impossible.

Of course, the Shia will also refuse to negotiate because of their (false) sense that the US is on their side, when in fact the US policy, defacto or deliberate, is just to keep the two sides at each others' throats. This is what the Brits and the French did in Africa a hundred-plus years ago, sowing discord in conquered lands so that the locals wouldn't figure out that it ain't the Hutus/Tutsis/Hausas/Ibos/Arabs/Tuaregs et al they need to be fighting, but well, whitey.

That's where we are, as far as I can see. If you reflect on US/BushCo Iraq policy strictly from a game-theory stance, ignoring their rhetoric, how can you come to any other conclusion? The Bushies want carnage and disorder. They want to wreck countries, and they're probably disappointed that they seem to have run out of time and "political capital" so that they probably won't get a chance to ruin Syria and Iran too. (I question whether Iran is really in jeopardy because it occurs to me that the mullahs may have some October-surprise dirt on Poppy that would suddenly find the light of day if things got too worrisome.)

Xymphora thinks they're doing it for the Israelis. Greg Palast says it's about oil,[via] insofar as capturing Iraq can help keep production down. A recent poll of US g.i'.s in Iraq[via] suggests they mostly think we went to Iraq to get retribution for 9/11, and rhetoric about WMDs notwithstanding, that is pretty much how the war was really sold, just like the current song-and-dance about spreading democracy is just a guilt salve for the unreflective bloodthirsty schmoes who responded to the ur-message of revenge, and have since figured out that all we did was wreck a country that didn't do a damn thing to us and would have been just as happy to sell us Kuwaiti oil in the 90s as they were happy to buy US weaponry in the 80s. How do you do Mistah Rumsfeld?

that photo of rumsfeld and saddam from the reagan years

So now what? The war has cost a quarter of a trillion bucks and counting, and for the money we could have bailed out both Ford and GM, AND brought federalized healthcare to all uninsured Americans(and for the auto workers, to help the bailed-out companies stay competitive), and I'll bet we still would have been ahead. But none of those things would've been particularly macho.

Bush,jnr recently said that the troops will stay through the rest of his presidency. Presumably this will allow Georgie and the delusional few who still support him to then blame the failure of BushCo policies and his war on the subsequent president who will "cut-and-run". This just shows what an evil, puffed-up bag of malodorous wind GWB is. It also parallels his earlier business ventures, almost uniformly failures, in which he took profits, wrecked companies, and others bailed him out.