Civil war in Iraq? Yes
The administration and pundits on both sides of the stay/go argument about Iraq keep repeating the lie that its hard to tell what’s going on in Iraq. Bull. Here’s the deal:
Yes, Virginia, it is a civil war. It’s low scale, but it is a war, and not very civil. It is a power struggle between Shi’a and Sunni, and nothing to do with us, whether we go or stay. The Kurds don’t care either way.
Yes, the winner ultimately is Iran, but Iran was the winner from about the end of the first year of our occupation. Recall that they had fought a real war - with trenches and nerve gas and everything but the kitchen sink – with Iraq for eight years prior to our arrival. Yes, there are Iranian agents in Iraq, and they are bad actors as far as we are concerned, but there is precious little that we can do about it, short of bombing Iran back into the Stone Age, or shipping over about 500,000 troops to occupy either country; not much of an option in any case.
Rather than stabilize the Middle East, we have created a snake’s nest of jihadists, seriously endangered the safety of Israel, and managed to alienate the entire planet in the process.
Bear in mind that we have a Senate majority leader in the person of Bill Frist, who has said, in another context, that the President “has done nothing illegal,” and so we have a Senate leadership blind to reality, an army that we are doing a damn good job of destroying our own selves by not relieving them in any kind of orderly fashion, a national treasury that is being bled dry because of this war, and a pissed-off and demoralized citizenry.
And you say that “staying the course” in Iraq is an option? What kind of nuts are you, exactly?
Not your father’s Republican party
Originally the Republican party was a collection of people concerned with fiscal responsibility, limited government, and dedicated to the advancement of civil rights and protection of the environment. Certainly there are many Republicans in my lifetime that I would count as towering figures - Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Pete McCloskey, Tom McClintock, and recently, Lincoln Chaffee - but not many.
As I survey the political scene today, I see a pathetic pack of venal and mendacious power mongers: Frist, Delay, Gingrich, the several Bush’s – it’s a long list. None of whom are what I would call a decent person. And no way in hell would I want to ‘have a beer’ with George Bush, jr., a sociopath of the first water.
Oddly enough, I think Strom Thurmond has become a decent person, morphing from a racist bigot into a world-class statesman, but that’s just my opinion; I know lots of people who would disagree with me on that.
We’re a long way from the decent, ordinary-businessman-turned-politician who was the bedrock representative of the Republican Party of the 1950’s. Instead, what we see now is a gang - dependent on a power base of radical Bible-pounding theocracy fanatics - waging war on the rest of the world, Islam in particular, and spending the people’s money like drunken sailors, driving this country into receivership, not to mention sabotaging the Constitution in the process.
Many of my friends are actual dyed-in-the-wool Republicans. To a man (and woman) they are shocked, dismayed, and confused about what has happened to their party. Where did these deficit monsters come from, they ask me. Not unkindly, I point out that they elected these egomaniacs.
In the other corner ...
Not that the Democrats are all that much better: bickering, rudderless, confused, afraid of being perceived as “weak” - which they certainly are - proving their spinelessness daily. The tough realists in their midst, Murtha, Feingold, Byrd, Conyers and a handful of others, are ignored or sidelined by the “leadership,” or criticized by self-serving political pundits.
It’s been said over and over that in a democracy the people get the government they deserve, but I cannot for the life of me see America as deserving of this entire crew of fanatics, war-mongering religious bigots, and near-sighted and craven politicos.
So, what to do, what to do? Well, there’s always the November elections, if Diebold can be made to behave, and Republican election commissioners can restrain themselves from hacking the ballot boxes. Good luck on that, I say.
There’s a new crop of Democrats (many of them war veterans) who deserve strong support, but no towering figures visible yet.
Third party? No help there: most Americans hate change, and there’s no money available to mount any kind of serious challenge in that direction; Hillary Clinton has vacuumed up all the spare cash, anyway. Which is crazy, because she doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning the presidency in our lifetimes, regardless of her monumental ego.
The only serious hope – and it’s a faint one - that I hold for this country is that corporate leaders put this government on notice that this country is headed straight for economic implosion and is going to take the planet down with it if somebody doesn’t wake up and steer the Ship of State in the right direction.
John Dean said in another context – but for similar reasons – that, “there’s a cancer on the presidency.” I would submit that there’s a gaping hole in the Ship of State, and I see no shipwrights, no navigators, and certainly no captains capable of saving her anytime soon.