January 14, 2005

premature iraqification

The psychological pull-out has already begun even if the troops haven’t started packing their bags yet. That the withdrawal is well underway can be heard clearly if you pay close attention. Yesterday, Colin Powell’s remark that American troops would start returning home this year is no off the cuff trial balloon floating-Powell is nothing if not deliberate.

Was it not just the other day we were hearing that we needed more troops to do the job? Clearly a major change in policy is in the works and this is just the first noise we are going to hear about letting the Iraqis clean up the mess themselves. All the fine words about long-term commitment will not be retracted because to do so would be to admit error and we certainly can have none of that. The premature withdrawal will instead be explained in terms of fulfilling the plan for the incremental hand-over in power that was in place all along.

What constitutes premature depends, I suppose, on perspective. From the vantage point of before the commencement of the invasion, I doubt there were too many sober minded individuals making the case that we would be in and out of Iraq in less than three years. I think most informed Americans, certainly myself, anticipated that we would be in Iraq for an extremely long haul.

The possibility that we might pull out of Iraq more quickly than the space shuttle fleet could be returned to service really never occurred to this Curmudgeon.

There are many little hints that this administration’s ability to keep up the fiction that everything is great in Iraq is straining to the breaking point. The recent revelations of the poor state of the National Guard, the Pentagon beginning an open-ended review of Iraq policy, continual rumblings over postponing elections, and, of course, the continual march of death across our television screens, all combine to give us a sense that finally some Americans are actually daring to speak of the Emperor’s fine birthday suit.

Truthfully, holding slipshod elections and packing our bags for a hasty exit may be the best we can hope for now. Don’t misunderstand me: I am all for staying the course and making sacrifices. I have been consistent and even vitriolic on that very obligation. At some point, however, you have to assess whether our continued presence in Iraq is in the best interests of the Iraqi people and the deepening spiral into civil war that we are seeing play out suggests that perhaps a democratically elected government might have a better shot if they weren’t strapped to a giant target labeled “Made in USA”.

One can hardly blame the Iraqis if they are left with impression that the government-to-be was manufactured by the United States when, by the Presidential Administration’s own words, they say exactly that. Judge for yourself based on this excerpt from the New York Times:

Powell has said it is imperative for the elections to go forward as planned to give more credence to the concept that insurgents are fighting an Iraqi government rather than an American occupation force.

If you were like me, you had to read that twice. What we, through our elected representatives, are saying is that what needs to change is the anti-democratic militia’s “concept” of who they are fighting.

Does anyone in Washington have a “concept” of what they are doing?

In fairness to Powell, those are not his words, but this is the type of stuff you hear constantly out of this Administration. Maybe changing concepts is how you create those new realities of which they are so fond. Unfortunately, the anti-democratic militias in Iraq have a pretty clear agenda and pretty well-defined Reality. Until we choose to begin acting in some version of reality that bears some relationship to Reality, we should resign ourselves to ineffectualness.

We the People may love to be deceived by our home-made self-image, but the people of the Middle-east are shockingly reality based.

Leaving Iraq now is certainly premature. Even beginning the process to leave Iraq now is premature when infrastructure work is nowhere near completion. That we are starting down that road is undeniable. It is time for all Americans to pray for mercy on ourselves because after all of the lies, poor planning and hyperbolic rhetoric, leaving may be the only option. And time also to pray for mercy on the Iraqi people, because after all of the lies, poor planning and hyperbolic rhetoric, our leaving may be the only option.


Blogger Common Good said...

I think we are on the way out. FoxNews is already parading out the talking heads with the not-so-subliminal message "we are getting the **** out of mess-o-potamia".

Good luck Iraq.... our bad.

4:28 PM  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I agree with everything you wrote this time. What a mess Bush has created. I just wanted to add that our local troups are just entering Iraq today and our community has been told by those in charge that we won't see them again for a minimum of 18 months. At the rate things are going, some of them we may never see again.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...

Perhaps now Iran is the next target. I may blog on this, but it is interesting coupled with the noise about getting out of Iraq. I guess the time to do it is while you have the troops in theater. Also, give this administration’s history of using a crisis du jour to divert attention from other things, it makes political sense. And as we have seen, if it makes political sense, that is all this administration needs.

At least this time we will be pursuing an enemy that actually does have weapons of mass destruction.

And is it just me, or in attempting to deny Powell’s statements, does Shrub sound like he is talking out of both sides of his mouth?

10:45 AM  
Blogger Ed Abbey said...

I know Bush isn't the brightest plant out there but going into Iran would be about the stupidest thing he could do and I can't possibly believe he would even contemplate it right now. The Arab world backlash that we have right now would be very mild compared to the backlash we would receive post "Mission Accomplished" in Iran. What's next, North Korea?

12:08 PM  
Blogger Tony Plank said...


I think you just insulted the entire plant kingdom. Hard to do I know, but there it is.

I tend to agree with what you are saying, but listen, politics trumps everything. When one thing goes bad, they create a new crisis to get old problems out of the headlines. Witness the traction that Social Security discussion is getting. The media and We the People are their willing lap dogs. We crave a new story and we are tired of the Iraq story. The media, capitalist running dogs that they are, will only be too happy to give us what we want. And to tell us what we want to hear.

I fear we are lead by people who are only guided by self-interest. They are blinded by the might of the American economy and military. They are so concerned with creating new realities and shaping them to their idea of what the world should be, they are willing to ignore the lessons of history and proceed on faith in their vision.

If there were even a shred of a hint of a glimmer of a murmur that perhaps they had learned from Iraq, then I might be more inclined to agree with you. I actually think they did learn, but the lesson is that as long as you tell the American people that you are protecting them, apple pie and Chevrolet, they will follow you no matter how many die in the process or what the unapprehended facts might tell you.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Common Good said...

"If there were even a shred of a hint of a glimmer of a murmur that perhaps they had learned from Iraq, then I might be more inclined to agree with you. I actually think they did learn, but the lesson is that as long as you tell the American people that you are protecting them, apple pie and Chevrolet, they will follow you no matter how many die in the process or what the unapprehended facts might tell you."

What did people really think the presidential election was about anyway? We have a incompetent president on a personal jihad... we could either send him packing ... or not. Well, guess what red state america... we all get to go down with you. For for those I just pissed off... ask yourself this question. Do you really believe Bush ever even considers "what the nation wants, and how it disagrees". Every word and every speech and every interview screams "this is about me and my belief system". "We" aren't even there. Like Jon Stewart said: "Bush is living a real-life Truman show". I have NEVER had these types of feeling towards a president. I have disagreed with many presidents... even on most everything (Reagan), but it never seemed personal. With Bush he makes it personal. You can never know for sure, but this is what I really think is going on with our prez. I think he comes from a family of great accomplishment (at least lots of money and getting elected). I think he was always trying to measure up to dad and dynasty... and couldn't do it. Not on the sports field, not in school, and not in business. However, none of that ever changed the fact he was the "son of a president". Getting elected to president doesn't turn out to require a serious examination of one's life resume. You know, stuff like real accomplishment you did on your own without dad and dad's friend money and power. Heck, the American public doesn't have a need for that kind of measure of the man... we just need to know we would like to have a beer with the guy. If you think about... it's certainly more our fault (NOT MINE) than Jr's... we gave him the damn keys. So guess what, Jr is president.. he showed daddy. I think he is still showing him (and us)... for example finishing the job in Iraq. Does it scare anyone else to have a president fulfilling personal issues in the White House that seem to have very little to do with us out here. Hellooooooooo prez.... can you hear us? There is train wreck happening and all we can do is watch. The really, really bad news is we are all on that train.

Someday, it would be really cool to be able to vote for a president where you really believed it was about "us" and not some personal aggrandizement and some lab experiment of personal ideology. Yeah, right... lol.

btw... I totally agree the Social Security conversation is bs. Rove has already done the Iraq sh*t hitting the fan calculation... better fill the masses with social security drivel for a while to keep their minds off of Vietnam...oops, Iraq.


1:08 PM  
Blogger Tom Grey said...

Maybe I don't belong here but ...
where is the alternative?

Can you say, Sudan?
Can you say, UN?
Can you say, Genocide?

Bush says freedom and democracy. That's what I support. That's what the last 3 years of his actions have seemed to be towards.

NOT cost-free. NOT unreal perfection -- but a heck of a lot better than any critics are willing to quantify.

Quantify as in: how many casualties is it worth to take out Saddam and bring to Iraq a democratic vote?

You hear: it wasn't worth ANY; or, it's already TOO MANY. Junk.
Less than 2500 (about WTC) Americans killed means Bush gets a A. Right now he's at about 93%. Have another scale? Lets hear it. Otherwise you're being silly; that any American deaths is too many.

Who has done better?

6:33 AM  

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