Saturday, January 13, 2007

More Of The Same

We have now officially moved through the looking glass in Washington. Given the overwhelming message at the (voting) polls in November and in the (public opinion) polls since then (and long before then) that the American public has seen enough of George Bush’s Iraq fiasco, Dear Leader’s response this week was ... to escalate the war.

There can be little doubt at this point that 43’s place in history will be among the very worst Presidents that this nation has produced. His arrogance and incompetence seem to continue unabashed and unabated by the mess he has created through both his actions and his inactions.

Actions – Time will tell if this latest escalation will merely be a footnote in the larger tale, or if it will actively add to the morass, but can anyone legitimately argue at this point that it will certainly work? Or that there is even a reasonable likelihood that it will work? Even a growing chorus of Republican critics have their doubts.

The argument is that by adding troops into Baghdad a critical mass can be reached that will pacify the city, and thereby the country, and allow the political leadership in Iraq to gain a foothold and move the nation towards a political stasis and then towards the beacon of democracy that Dear Leader has always envisioned.

Is it even necessary to poke holes in that argument? Or is it completely self-deflating? First, 20,000 additional troops (and bear in mind that these are not “new” troops – any increase is made up of extending the deployment of troops in country or accelerating the redeployment of troops which had been rotated out for refitting – there are no “new” troops available to send in) are merely a fraction of the number necessary to do what is being proposed ( remember that the original numbers bandied about were in the 50-70K range – still too few at that).

Second, if the pacification of Baghdad should by some miracle be successful, previous attempts at this sort of thing (don’t be fooled by the “New” in “New Way Forward,” there is nothing new about this strategy) have shown that the evildoers will just move elsewhere in the country and either do evil there or bide their time before drifting back into Baghdad. Pacifying the city will roil the rest of the country and vice-versa. Short of an unattainably massive occupation force, the pacification horse is out of the barn.

Third, the execution of Saddam Hussein was just the latest indication that the nominal “political leadership” of Iraq is a joke. The Maliki government is a puppet all right, but 3,000+ dead and $350 billion+ spent hasn’t even bought us a puppet – he’s the puppet of Moktada al Sadr.

Inactions – The subtext underlying all of this fiasco-making in the Middle East is the time we continue to lose by trying to either dig out or dig deeper into the Iraq-sized hole. The greatest national security issue facing this nation is not new – in fact it is no different than it was when Gerald Ford put his finger on it in 1975. We are far too dependent upon the most volatile region in the world for too large a chunk of our energy needs. As long as we are so dependent on Middle East oil, we will never be able to step back from a region we don’t understand or otherwise care about. While we have wasted lives and treasure in Iraq, it may well turn out that the time we’ve wasted is even more valuable.


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