It’s almost impossible to measure how far America has fallen these days. And it all happened because of a single man: the President.
We went from having a president beloved by the entire world –- Clinton –- to one hated and despised by the universe, it seems.
Poor Bush. Paul Wolfowitz talked him into a neocon dream — to establish a friendly democratic government in the Middle East from where democracy would spread to the rest of the region — and Bush paid off Wolfowitz by letting him run the World Bank.
Now Bush has only Cheney and Rumsfeld to hang on to, as they sit stuck with the shards of the neocon dream — another war lost by America, our biggest loss since we lost the Vietnam war.
Why have we lost the war in Iraq? Because we won’t get anything out of it that we started the war for.
Number one, we won’t get a place to park our troops in the Middle East. The Iraqis want us out. Having wisely decided that Saudi Arabia is no place to park our troops (our troops there being the reason Bin-Laden launched 9/11), the Pentagon will have to accept the fact that the entire Middle East is no place to park our troops (even if it’s found more than 140 other countries around the world to put ‘em).
Egypt and Israel may be our allies but they don’t need our troops, because they’ve got good armies themselves (in a fair fight the Israelis would kick our butts through our skulls). Afghanistan has our troops but they serve little purpose there, except to put Karzai on an equal warlord footing with the other warlords who’ll be running Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.
Number two, we won’t get our oil companies to control or exploit Iraq’s oilfields. Why? Because, number three, we won’t get the friendly “democracy” we wanted.
Our 1953 intervention in Iran led to the eventual fall of the puppet we installed, the Shah, and to his replacement in 1979 by a Shiite theocracy who doesn’t like us. Our intervention in Iraq is doing exactly the same thing: Iraq will be a Shiite theocracy (with a small secular Kurdish north) who won’t like us. As the only Muslim states with Shiite majorities, Iraq and Iran are natural allies, and it’s high time they got together. So instead of creating an American ally, we’re creating an ally of Iran.
With one big difference.
We’ve given Iraq’s Shiites the golden opportunity to exact a bloody revenge on its Sunnis, who are going to be paying heavily for their earlier oppression of the Shiites. Call it what you will — an insurgency, a civil war, or chaos — it’s all rhetoric for the same thing: the systematic persecution of the Sunnis by Shiite militia until the Sunnis are crushed to the satisfaction of the Shiites, i.e. until the Shiites have exterminated all members of the Sunni leadership class who refuse to bend over.
So not only are we installing a theocracy, we’re also creating a mini-genocide.
Post-election, the Shiite leaders will cut a deal with the Kurds, about how to divvy up oil revenues. Will they allow the Sunnis a cut? Why should they, when the Sunnis are killing Shiite cops every day? The Sunnis will get nothing. Their leaders will either keep the insurgency going and get wiped out, or get used to being second-class citizens in the new Shiite theocracy, or leave Iraq for other Muslim states, where Sunnis rule.
Those are the facts on the ground.
No fantasies about the recent “election,” or a “victory” strategy, or a withdrawal “timetable,” can change any of it. The war of Shiites vs. Sunnis will continue whatever our troop strength there — 160,000, 100,000, 50,000, or 0 – or whatever theocracy the Shiite leaders establish now that the Iraqis have voted for a “democracy.”
What are our troops doing there? God knows; mostly they’re holed up in their bases. Whenever they leave on some moronic “mission” to “kill terrorists,” they kill a few insurgents and civilians, upset the locals mightily, and get killed themselves. The country is controlled and policed by local militias, or terrorized by gangsters. The Shiites have been running southern Iraq and Baghdad for a year now, and the Kurds their part of the country. They don’t rely on the US Army or a national army or the police force, but on private militias and mercenaries. The interior Minister, Bayan Jabr, has his own militia, allegedly responsible for offing Sunnis with Saddam-style murder squads and torturing them in Saddam-style torture chambers. The country’s governors, mayors and police chiefs stay in power by cutting deals with gangs and militias. What can our troops do in these circumstances? Reporter Simon Jenkins writes in The Times of London:
In reality the occupation cut and ran from Iraq in the course of 2004. This was when the Americans and their allies abandoned the policing of towns and cities and retreated bruised to more than 100 fortified bases … The bases are like crusader castles dotting a hostile Levant. Movement between them must be by air or heavily armoured convoy.
Our generals may complain that the Iraqi police are infiltrated by the Shiite militia, but they are simply mouthing empty rhetoric for the reality that the Shiites will continue to happily rub out recalcitrant Sunnis, whether they use the police, their militia, or receive help from US soldiers (of which we’ve lost over 2,000 so far in rubbing out Sunni insurgents, for a “cause” that’s nothing but a screw-up we were lied into – like the 55,000 we lost in that other screw-up of a “cause,” Vietnam, that we were also lied into).
Those are the facts, and Bush is either (1) too stupid or (2) too clever to share them with us:
1) Too stupid maybe, because his gentleman’s-C brain can’t figure it out, as his limited cortex may still be suffering from a neocon-failure hangover, along with the limited CEO brains of Cheney and Rumsfeld (being a CEO has to be the worst preparation for running a democracy, probably because it’s the best preparation for being a dictator). Or maybe Bush has dumbed down himself — as well as our nation — by his silly “war on terror” rhetoric, a war which he gave up long ago when he outsourced the job of looking for Bin-Laden to the Pakistanis, who either won’t or can’t do the job we should be doing.
2) Or too clever perhaps, because maybe Bush knows exactly what’s happened, yet Karl Rove can’t figure out the right rhetoric to tell the American people straight and not look like a stupid failure at the same time.
There are signs that the Administration may be getting ready to cut and run anyway. Apparently they’re not going to ask for more than the $18 billion they already got for Iraqi reconstruction. So if they’re giving up on reconstruction, how soon will they give up on having our troops killed? My guess is the Republican leadership will force Bush to pull out by summer 2006 when they’ll be running scared at the slate of Democratic ex-Iraqi soldier candidates against them in November.
If Bush resists, he’s going to have a full-scale Republican revolt against the presidency on his hands. Now that will be something to see.
But I think he’ll buckle before then. Expect a speech before summer that we’ve won the war in Iraq, that our troops have served with great honor, that they did not die in vain, that Iraq is well on the way to democracy, and other face-saving BS.
Our toadying media will be kind to Bush; Cheney and Rumsfeld will probably get most of the knocks.
Whatever happens in our own elections, we cannot and will not achieve what we wanted in Iraq — a friendly puppet regime or a “democratic” Iraq who’ll allow us to keep military bases there and do big favors for Cheney’s Texas oil cronies.
In other words, we have lost the war.
We can pull our troops out en masse tomorrow, and it won’t change a thing. Or we can keep them there for the next 10 years, and it won’t change a thing, either. Iraq will be a theocracy that doesn’t like us, and the Shiites will continue to punish the Sunnis.
We’ve lost the war, and for Bush to talk about “victory” at some point is the ravings of either a full-blown idiot — or a total sucker who’s trying to maintain a speck of dignity.
(ENJOYED reading this? More stuff like it on my irreverent blog at Adam Ash.)