Sunday, November 12, 2006

Back to Iraq: Now what?

Well. We’ve got a Democratic House, at least, and maybe a Democratic Senate. What does this mean for our most pressing political disaster, the War in Iraq? Can we just declare victory and get out?

Over at Intel Dump we've beaten this subject to death, backed the El Camino over it, stomped up and down and then come back after a couple of bullshots and whomped that sucker flatter than a congressman trying to skivvy under a banquette to beat a waitress out of a rolling quarter. I’ll repost here what I posted there and let y’all thrash me for my alleged wisdom.

First of all, it’s waaaay past time for us to realize that all we're gonna do from here on out is referee the squabbling of the Iraqi factions disguised as "politicians" on their way to forging whatever blood and iron result they end up with.

Right now the Bushniaks, the power players and the talking heads at Foggy Bottom, up on Capitol Hill and across the Potomac at Six-Flags-over-Arlington remind me of nothing so much as a sideshow animal trainer who has dumped a box load of savage wildcats into the "Professor Puffnums and His Amazing Persian Pussycats" act and is spazzing frantically around trying to herd them onto the little stools as they rip shreds off of him and each other. All the while shouting to the increasingly appalled and head-shaking crowd "Everything's under control! Darn these frisky kitties! Just a teeny second, folks, and you'll see a Reeeaaly Big Show!!" I

f it has not become obvious by now, let me state the reality in simple English: the political leadership that ginned up this war has not idea where it's going, can not figure out a way to either lead or drive its' Iraqi proxies (who, in true cat fashion, have no intention of doing what we want just because it's either good for us, good for them or commonsensical), and is both unwilling and unlikely to accept the reality that it has sunk almost 25,000 lives in dead and maimed and untolled billions in treasure into what is unlikely to soon, if ever, resemble the original goal of a US/Israel-lovin', free-market havin', Western-values embracin' American client state in the Gulf.

The cats are running the cat act, folks.

Maliki can see the writing on the wall, as can all of his Iraqi brothers. We cannot hang on there indefinitely; we will always lack the patience, the ferocity and single-minded will that the local factions will always have; and that when we leave (whether by "choice" or by force of attrition) the doors to the charnel house will truly be opened and the pale rider will emerge, blinking and mewling, into a red morning that will make us all cringe to have been door wardens to his arrival.

What the hell can we do to change this reality?

Bomb Iraq back into the Stone Age? Been there, done that.

"Reconstruction"? With the cash sitting in the boat basin of every Republican millionaire's yacht club and amortizing in her trust fund?

I cannot see any "change of tactics" or "strategic reassessment" that will change the reality that we are out of cash, out of options and out of time.

The hard men in the Iraqi factions look like they have decided that the game is now "The Last Man Standing" and our usefulness is only as an ubermilitia, to be manipulated into crushing whoever they can get us to attack to further their own sectarian interests.

We have sown the wind, and it's our turn - and more brutally, the Iraqis turn - to reap the whirlwind. So, given that, what is our prospect for Iraq in the short term?

That's the subject of the next post.

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