Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Victory in Iraq?

The Honorable U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was squeaking and waving his arms frantically in the air the other night in the well of the Senate and generally looking pretty agitated, trying to make his case that Americans should know that if we don’t try this one last trick, this “surge,” then by golly (and here he nearly broke down and sobbed) we’ll suffer Defeat in Iraq.

Wow, dude, where have you been? Not only are we already suffering “defeat in Iraq,” most Americans had that figured that out waay long ago. Graham is acting like we’ve all been living under rocks for the last three years (a period longer than WW II in which we kicked the butts of Germany, Italy, and Japan simultaneously) and like we can’t count to 3,000 or something. Graham needs to know that while we may be slow to anger, we ain’t stupid, like some people we could point our fingers at.

Iraq is America’s Tar Baby and there is nothing down this road but defeat. The history of that screwed up region tells us so.

Let’s look at the facts on the ground.

1) The Kurds in the north are autonomous (and relatively peaceful), and want to stay that way.
2) The Sunni and the Shiites are killing each other at a prodigious rate, qualifying their areas as ground zero in a civil war.
3) We’ve been spinning our wheels for three years with no end in sight.
4) Over one million Iraqis have fled the country, with thousands more fleeing every day.

These last people are the upper echelons of Iraq civic society: the shopkeepers, the intelligencia, the scholars, and the wealthy investors. In other words, the people who make a country work. Without these groups of people the country cannot function in any meaningful way and they won’t be back soon.

But is Iraq a write-off? Leaving aside American culpability in crashing Iraq’s economy as well as the enormous scale of the physical damage caused by the original Shock and Awe and subsequent military actions, combined with Halliburton’s gross incompetence in failing to meet even minimum standards in fulfillment of its mission to rebuild the infrastructure, we are left with the fact that it is our mere presence that is driving the bulk of the violence.

Recently President Bush has been driven against every fiber of his being to admit he made a mistake in not allocating enough troops to smother the country.

What he has not addressed is what in the hell are we doing there in the first place? The real reasons, and not more neo-con bullshit.

Tonight’s the president will address the problem of achieving “victory” in Iraq, over three years after he declared “Mission accomplished” on that aircraft carrier.

The question still goes unanswered, “What mission?”

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