Saturday, September 08, 2007

Groundhog Day

As I'm working on the second installment of "SPQR", wherein your humble author sets out to prove that he, you and everyone you know in the United States is living in the 21st Century equivalent of the Late Roman Republic, I note that the news is full of the supposedly pivotal "report" from GEN Petraeus, the theatre commander in Iraq, on how the whole "surge" thing is working out

Some of the silliest wriggling I've read lately has been regarding whether the "surge" has been working or not, and what this "report" will mean, or if it will mean anything.
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IMO this is just another example of how stuff disappears down the collective memory hole. The ONLY justification for this escalation was to create the climate for a "political solution" since wars are only won when...ummm...there's a political arrangement where both sides accept some sort of end state, even if that end state isn't a true end to the war (the sixty-year ceasefire in Korea, for example). We have forgotten - or have been bullshitted into ignoring - the fact that the Iraqi factions are, if possible, further apart than ever. Working? Working as what, a security guard force for the cloth market in Hilla?
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So, no, the "surge" isn't working at anything that will produce a result after the last American boot steps out of the marketplace. And, since we have no larger scale plan, the same holds for the Middle East in general. And nothing short of defenestration is going to change the Administration's approach to this war. They're going to continue to stick their head down this rathole because they really think they can win by killing rats one at a time. They're mesmerized by tactical success ("We have Sunni allies in Anbar!") because strategically they're at a third-grade level, they have no plan for Middle Eastern policy other than to keep shaking that place up in hopes that something they like will happen. They actually believe that their plan to return Iraq to a pre-Ottoman, pre-Westphalian state condition by arming individual tribe to fight as our proxies, a plan also known as "Arm 'Em All And Lock The Doors", is going to create some sort of "bottom-up" political accomodation in Iraq because, well, after all, it worked so well in Germany during the fucking Thirty Years' War.
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So the Petraeus "report" and the subsequent "debate" on our ME policy is primarily smoke and mirrors: smoke from the Democratic opposition's part, who claim to want to extract our military from a socially and politically complex mess but are unwilling to do the hard work of, y'know, actually doing it; and mirrors from the Administration, who knows what it wants but can't say so because it knows that the non-25%-koolade-drinking portion of the American public wants nothing to do with running a "soft empire" in the ME (since there's nothing "soft" about a lot of what we'd have to do to do it - much like we're doing now).
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ISTM that this whole ridiculous kabuki play is emblematic of the larger problems in our country and our government. In a real democracy we, the People, would be clamoring for hard answers from our government while our armies are fighting in a foreign land and our public largesse is being handed over primarily to the wealthiest citizens. Instead we get this...this...charade.
And the truly sad part is that there's SO much screwed up in our country right now - not that our country is screwed, just there's a lot of hard work to do - and we're caught on the cleft stick this jackanapes and his conservative friends have whittled for us.

1 comment:

SBird said...

What I also love is the bs explanation post-Bin Laden-tape that the reason he hasn't been caught yet is that we have too many resources committed in Iraq...as if there was some sort of inevitability to that, as if that wasn't a choice. Fuck 'em.