Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More Time or No Time?

Mr. Bush made the news yesterday by asking for more time to fight the war in Iraq; a war he says “can be won”. Pulling troops out, he said, “. . .may be satisfying in the short run, but I believe the consequences for American security would be devastating.”

Once again the pres has everything absolutely backwards. If there was ever any validity to the BushCo war it was the fight with Saddam Hussein. That army was defeated in short order. In other words, the war was won. What we are losing now is the right to stay in place. The right(?!?) gained by exercise of force to put into place a government favorable to American policies and a number of U.S. military bases to ensure they stay favorable and that the oil continues to flow. All this being in line with the goals the neo-conservatives laid out for Bush long before he took office.

At this point, we are not in a war. We are caught in the middle of an Iraqi civil war for whose flames we laid the kindling when we attacked that country. So we are not in a war that can be won, we are in a fight that, at this point, has nothing to do with us except that it was our army that enabled it. Now we are a target without any winnable objectives. The ancient, smoldering animosity between the Sunnis, the Shia and the Kurds has been given air by the removal of the containing blanket of Hussein’s autocratic power. Having been unleashed, it cannot again be contained until either the factions have sated themselves with the blood of their enemies or another strongman emerges to push them back into their corners.

The ABC/USA Today poll that came out today supports this position. Although the Iraqis are not unanimous in their belief that there is a civil war, the majority most certainly favors an American withdrawal. Only the Kurds want an American presence, and that desire is fueled by their wish to be recognized as a separate entity free to govern themselves. They know that neither the Sunnis nor the Shiites will ever accept them as equal partners, so unless a fourth power like the U.S. is present, they know their lot will be about the same as it was under Saddam.

As to the potential for long term security problems for America, Mr. Bush is wrong again because that potential was unleashed by his own hand when he directed troops into Iraq. There was never a chance that we could avoid spawning massive recruitment for groups like Al Queda with an invasion of any Middle Eastern country. Even if the Bush intentions had been benevolent, which they definitely were not, the invasion would have been seen through Arabic eyes as exactly what it was – a move to bolster Israeli policies while seeking to ensure the flow of oil to the west.

This war has done nothing to secure the peace in the Middle East, and certainly nothing to insure America against future terrorist attack. The long term outlook, therefore, was darkened by the invasion and will be further darkened every day we stay in Iraq continuing to look as if we will not be satisfied until we gain control there.

The rest of the world has known what BushCo was up to from the beginning. It’s far beyond high time that America woke up to it, too. Between this war and our global trade policies, the damage done to our image as an arbiter of peace and a friend to the world has been more devastating to the country than anything the terrorists have yet done. If we do not begin to repair that damage and return to sane policies that seek to guarantee that the rest of the world is safe from us, the day is coming when we won’t have a friend left in the world – and rightly so.

We constantly hear about the dangers to America posed by the terrorists, but the real danger is our own arrogant recklessness. By invading Iraq, we’ve shot ourselves in the foot. If we don’t stop this madness soon, we’d just as well shoot ourselves in the head.

Be the change you want to see in the world. – M.K. Gandhi

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