Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Dire Predictions

The Tribune opinion page was pretty hard on W this Sunday. In particular, this piece, by retired Col. E.W. Chamberlain III. The article, title "Prediction," consists mostly of just that:
We will be out of Iraq before the congressional election of 2006. We'll either be completely out or well on our way out with a specified end date.
Here's why.
The toll of the war in both lives and treasure are going well beyond what we were promised. The elections in Iraq already are proving themselves to have been merely a vote of the majority for the majority with no room for any meaningful minority voice in the emerging government.
Our goal of bringing democracy to Iraq, while worthy, is unattainable. The Shiite clerics won't stand for it.
The clerics, who have taken on the same titles as those used by the Iranian Shiite clerics when they toppled the Shah, have won the elections.
As already is evident, even prominent Republicans are openly questioning the war. The Republicans are quickly realizing that their recently won majority in Congress will be a chimera if they blindly acquiesce to what many now see is a failed policy.
The American people are becoming less concerned about jobs as the economy improves, which gives more time for concern about a war that has no discernible end. They too are beginning to ask uncomfortable questions, hence the president's recent and frequent calls to stay the course.
Republican-dominated Congress will force the president to end the war as a demonstration of their power, or they will lose their ascendancy as the Democrats use the war and its costs and lack of tangible success as a rallying cry in the 2006 elections. The Democrats would be foolish not to.
So, my guess is you can mark your calendar for our troop withdrawal by fall 2006.
His further predictions are spectacularly dire
The insurgency in Iraq is Sunni, which many in Washington have yet to figure out. They are fighting us because we provide a focal point for rallying the Sunni people inside and outside of Iraq.
As soon as we leave, the full force of the insurgency will fall upon the Shiite government of Iraq. It already has started. The suicide car bombings that have killed so many Iraqi civilians are mistakenly tagged as terrorist attacks, when in reality they are attacks against Shiites by the Sunni insurgency.
If a couple of Americans also get killed, so much the better in their view, but the real target is the Shiite population and the Shiite-dominated government.
Probably even before the U.S. withdraws, the "democratically elected" Shiite government in Iraq will be aligned rapidly with Iran and will receive open and massive support. The Saudi Arabian government will continue to support the Sunni insurgency, as it does today, but the support will become open.
The Sunni insurgency eventually will lose as the full weight of a Shiite Iraq and a Shiite Iran overwhelms it. Numbers alone, coupled with a real war of attrition that does not discriminate between combatants and noncombatants or follow any rules of engagement, will result in horrific casualties and defeat.
This will not be the kinder, gentler, American way of war. This will be an Old Testament conflict with no quarter given.
The remnants of the Sunni insurgency will flee to Saudi Arabia. There they will foment discord because the Saudi royal family did not do enough and allowed the Sunnis to be defeated in Iraq. The royal family will be overthrown in a violent revolution in Saudi Arabia led by Sunni clerics who long have chafed under the pro-Western rule of the House of Saud. The Sunni clerics will emerge as the dominant power in Saudi Arabia. Americans and all other Westerners will be killed or, at best, ejected from Saudi Arabia, which has enough native petrochemical engineers and knowledgeable oil field workers, and can find other non-Westerners to run the oil fields. No Westerner need apply.
Of course, we need not fear another attack here at home from Osama bin Laden as all this occurs, because he will have fulfilled his fatwa. The only thing bin Laden ever said he was after was to remove the Westerners from Saudi Arabia, the Land of the Holy Places. This will be done when the clerics assume control of Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden will win the war on terrorism by achieving his goals with our unwitting help.
While each of these predictions seems successively less likely, they are clearly within the realm of possibility -- farfetched, but possible.


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