Iraq: Onward Through the Fog
But what could happen in the meantime to upset the president’s extremely shaky applecart?
* A significant loss of American livesOne factor that will not upset the applecart is the continued slaughter of Iraqi civilians.
– either in a single incident, say in the oft-mortared Green Zone, or a series of incidents -- that clearly put the lie to the fiction that the surge is working.
* Al-Maliki, who is so vile and ineffectual that he actually makes Bush look good on some days, does something so outrageous that it clearly puts the lie to the fiction that Iraqis can reconcile and march arm in arm into the future.
* A full-scale Republican revolt because of some or all the above and/or other developments that spell sure electoral doom for the beleaguered party in 2008.
* A successful Democratic-led legislative initiative because of some or all of the above and/or other developments that finally forces the president’s hand.
This is because of two interrelated reasons: The president and most Americans couldn’t give a rat’s ass about Iraqis per se, who always have been a vague abstraction at best, although the slaughter does continually reinforce the view that chaos reigns four years after the president declared "Mission Accomplished." In any event, the slaughter will continue whether U.S. troops stay or leave – and probably will get worse no matter when they leave.
Jeff Weintraub, a social and political theorist, hammers this home in a timely essay at his blog in which he asks that people not lose sight of who is slaughtering all of those Iraqis. The obvious answer, of course, is Iraqis, with the Sunni insurgency being the primary engine.
Weintraub’s money quote:
"Of course, there is a good deal of blame to spread around. Part of the responsibility for this horrible situation lies with theFinally, I would like to reprise an especially angry comment that I made here the other day in the wake of the news that there is an agency commonly referred to as "The Office" within the Iraqi government that is being used as a smokescreen to hide an extreme Shiite agenda that is no less atrocious than the Sunni insurgency and in some ways worse because it has the official backing on the man Bush is so desperately trying to prop up.
administration for its astonishingly incompetent and irresponsible mismanagement of the post-Saddam occupation and reconstruction of U.S. , since this helped the Sunni Arab 'insurgency' to emerge and in other ways contributed to the socio-political conditions for the current sectarian bloodbath. Responsibility is also shared by a wide range of governments, institutions, and political groups . . . Iraq
"But these wider considerations, while important, should not allow us to evade what seem to me two central truths.
"First of all, the primary responsibility for this ongoing mass murder, torture, and ethnic cleansing of Iraqi civilians lies with those who are actually doing it - and who have been doing it steadily for years.
"And second, whether or not one thinks the 2003
war was wise or justified, and whether or not one believes that continued Iraq involvement can help to achieve a decent political outcome in US , there is absolutely no reason to believe that a Iraq withdrawal at this point would end or reduce this ongoing sectarian bloodbath - quite the contrary. A U.S. abandonment of U.S. (rapid or 'phased') might or might not serve long-term Iraq interests. But we shouldn't fool ourselves into pretending that it would somehow be good for Iraqis." U.S.
My anger was appropriate then and even more so now:
Overlayed with the news that Al Maliki is running a Stalinesque ethnic cleansing operation out of his own office and the president’s veto, the notion being floated by the White House that the prime minister can get his house in order if only given another six months is a grotesque fiction.
And a cruel affront to every man and woman wearing an American uniform in
and Iraq and the many thousands who have come home in pine boxes or with body parts missing. Afghanistan