Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Am I the only one who thinks this sudden floating of the troop "surge" strategy for Iraq sounds inescapably compensatory?

As they used to say in the Bronx, "I've got your surge right here!" meaning, of course, in my pants.

Are all of us taxpayers and world citizens and soldiers going to pay an additional surcharge on the Iraq War so that dickhead can save face?

From a reader of Talking Points Memo:
It hit me the other day that what the surge is going to accomplish for Bush and Cheney is to take them through these next two years. By the time they can claim to have the extra troops in Baghdad it's gonna be May or June. They'll be there a few months till everyone has to admit that it isn't working (though in the interim I would predict the first really horrendous event in which our troops suffer a big loss, like 200 men in one blast), then it will be the end of 2007 and the argument will be about whether we should remove some of the surge troops. That will take a few months, at least, and we'll be in the throes of a presidential election. Bush won't want to do anything too "political" at that point, of course, so he'll happily leave it to the new prez to make shitcakes out of shit. And Bush and Cheney will spin it for all it's worth for the rest of their lives...

The very definition of evil.

Here's what former diplomat Richard Haass tells Der Spiegel:
Spiegel: Is Iraq still winnable for the United States?

Haass: We've reached a point in Iraq where we've got to get real. And this is not going to be a near-term success for American foreign policy. The Iraq situation is not winnable in any meaningful sense of the word "winnable." So what we need to do now is look for a way to limit the losses and costs, try to advance on other fronts in the region and try to limit the fallout of Iraq. That's what you have to do sometimes when you're a global power.

Contrasted to this report from professional sycophant, Fred Barnes:
It turns out you only have to attend a White House Christmas party to find out where President Bush is headed on Iraq. One guest who shook hands with Bush in the receiving line told him, "Don't let the bastards get you down." Bush, slightly startled but cheerful, replied, "Don't worry. I'm not." The guest followed up: "I think we can win in Iraq." The president's reply was emphatic: "We're going to win." Another guest informed Bush he'd given some advice to the Iraq Study Group, and said its report should be ignored. The president chuckled and said he'd made his position clear when he appeared with British prime minister Tony Blair. The report had never mentioned the possibility of American victory. Bush's goal in Iraq, he said at the photo-op with Blair, is "victory."

How seductive, the fantasies of power and subjugation.

Richard Haass knows that this "winning" talk is, despite what the limited man believes, beside the point. He favors opening negotiations with, among others, Syria and Iran and lays out a very clear and persuasive argument in a Foreign Affairs piece, "The New Middle East".

What makes him so convincing is his laying out four eras of modern Middle East history, the beginning with Napoleon entering Egypt in 1798:
The first era ended with World War I, the demise of the Ottoman Empire, the rise of the Turkish republic, and the division of the spoils of war among the European victors. What ensued was an age of colonial rule, dominated by France and the United Kingdom. This second era ended some four decades later, after another world war had drained the Europeans of much of their strength, Arab nationalism had risen, and the two superpowers had begun to lock horns. "[He] who rules the Near East rules the world; and he who has interests in the world is bound to concern himself with the Near East," wrote the historian Albert Hourani, who correctly saw the 1956 Suez crisis as marking the end of the colonial era and the beginning of the Cold War era in the region.

Most remarkably, the Fourth Era, where the U.S. enjoyed its greatest latitude in the region, began with the actions of the father and ended with the disaster of the son. It's oh so Shakespearean:
What has brought this era to an end after less than two decades is a number of factors, some structural, some self-created. The most significant has been the Bush administration's decision to attack Iraq in 2003 and its conduct of the operation and resulting occupation. One casualty of the war has been a Sunni-dominated Iraq, which was strong enough and motivated enough to balance Shiite Iran. Sunni-Shiite tensions, dormant for a while, have come to the surface in Iraq and throughout the region. Terrorists have gained a base in Iraq and developed there a new set of techniques to export. Throughout much of the region, democracy has become associated with the loss of public order and the end of Sunni primacy. Anti-American sentiment, already considerable, has been reinforced. And by tying down a huge portion of the U.S. military, the war has reduced U.S. leverage worldwide. It is one of history's ironies that the first war in Iraq, a war of necessity, marked the beginning of the American era in the Middle East and the second Iraq war, a war of choice, has precipitated its end.

If you have any interest at all in peering into the future of the region, I urge reading the whole article. Haass tells us the 12 defining characteristics of the years ahead, offers two cautions and two opportunities to be seized, albeit with a jumbo warning label.

At this stage in our history I expect that any action Bush/Cheney Co. takes in Iraq will fail, because I have no faith in their ability to judge, implement or lead. They are losers in their very own Fantasy Baseball League, and everybody knows it. Everybody.

Is it any wonder Brooklyn-born Richard Haass left his post in the Administration advising then-Secretary of State Colin Powell at the end of 2003?

The year of The Invasion.

The first surge.


Anonymous said...

A year from now, when there are another 100K US troops in Iraq & it's still a mess, Bush is going to say "I never wanted more troops; I said 'purge' -- 'purge' the troops, not 'surge!!"

Mark Netter said...


The truth is that this surge would lead to the next. Pelosi and Reid have both come out against it, so we'll see if the Dems hold fast.

Anonymous said...

I see the Dems putting up slightly more than token resistance because they can't really force GWB to leave Iraq except by cutting funding, which they'll NEVER do. And, frankly, it's cynical but i think most Dems would like to let GWB continue to dig a deeper hole going into 2008.

GWB's real resistance is going to come from GOPers, who are starting to understand theat they'll be dead meat in 2008 if Iraq is still front burner.


Mark Netter said...

I get the feeling you're right on all counts, although I will wait until the end of the 1st week of the session to pass judgment.