Monday, April 10

WILL BUSH ACCEPT A DEFEAT IN IRAQ?

Robert Dreyfuss asks how far Bush will go to stave off a defeat in Iraq.

This is one of those questions that keeps me awake at night. Knowing as we do the stubbornness, pride and arrogant confidence of the man, can we really believe that Dubya will meekly acknowledge an impossible situation and cut our losses in Iraq? Or is it more likely that he'll call down the wrath of hell (that's Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and all their toys) upon the nation to preserve American claims to Iraqi oil and permanent U.S. bases? Can Bush's fragile character take such a stinging defeat without fighting back (so long as other bodies are doing the actual fighting)? And if, as he's said, he believes that God commanded him to take on this little project, would the Chimpster dare let God down by quitting without "winning"?

I fear and dread the prospect of a late-summer escalation -- just (coincidentally) in time for the '06 elections.

Rational observers can only conclude that the U.S. occupation army in Iraq has no place in the midst of a civil war. But in the midst of such an escalating mess, how could Bush withdraw? The Bush administration is like the proverbial kid with a hand stuck in the cookie jar, grabbing a fistful of goodies. In order to get out of Iraq, Bush would have to let go of Iraq's goodies. In this case, that means letting go of Iraq's oil, and letting go of the dream that Iraq can become the anchor for a long-term U.S. military and economic presence in the Persian Gulf. To do so would mean a humiliating public admission of defeat -- defeat for the idea of Americanizing Iraq, defeat for America's hope of establishing hegemony in the Gulf, and defeat for the neoconservatives' determination to use military "shock and awe" tactics to intimidate potential regional rivals and opponents around the world. All of that would be gone -- and in the most public way possible.

Which brings us to former CIA officer Reuel Marc Gerecht, currently a fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute. In 2002-03, Gerecht was among the loudest proponents of giving the Arabs the old shock-and-awe treatment, arguing that Iraqis, Arabs and Middle Easterners in general only understand the language of force. Writing in the Wall Street Journal on April 3, Gerecht warned bluntly that for the United States to succeed in Iraq might require far more bloody-minded tactics than have been utilized thus far. First, Gerecht notes with satisfaction that many Sunnis have been frightened and intimidated by Shiite militias, adding: "Sunni and Kurdish fear of Shiite power ... is politically overdue and healthy for all concerned." And then he gets to the heart of the matter:

"The Bush administration would be wise not to postpone any longer what it should have already undertaken -- securing Baghdad ... Pacifying Baghdad will be politically convulsive and provide horrific film footage and skyrocketing body counts. But Iraq cannot heal itself so long as Baghdad remains a deadly place."

Does Gerecht's proposal foreshadow a new effort, a last push, by neoconservatives to urge the administration to "win" the war in Iraq by overwhelming force, by sending yet more U.S. forces to engage in yet more fruitless shock-and-awe fantasies? Do Khalilzad's recent get-tough-on-Iran remarks foreshadow a neoconservative effort to expand the losing war in Iraq into Iran itself, while casting blame on Iran for the U.S. failure to secure or pacify Iraq?

4 Comments:

Blogger Ralph said...

Is there any case in history of a country expanding a losing war? It seems like such a strange concept. Frankly, I don't see how it's possible except by means of a bombing campaign against Iran. And that seems so terribly pointless. How can bombs achieve anything?

If Bush were to use a nuclear weapon, it's true that the government might surrender, but that would not stop suicide bombers either in Iran or in Iraq.

Bush's entire Middle East adventure seems doomed to failure, no matter what he does now.

12:29 AM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

It's bewildering, that's for sure. I'd be more skeptical if it was anyone but Dubya.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Deb said...

not so bewildering to the lunatics that believe in Rapture

maybe they don't want to "win"
maybe they want to lose

that's the thought that keeps me awake

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Crusader said...

"...but that would not stop suicide bombers either in Iran or in Iraq."

Let's pretend that you're right. What would could we learn from your assessment? Afterall, demographically Iraq and Iran are dissimilar.

I'll provide the answer for you: Iraq and Iran are merely the symptoms--not the underlying cause. Radical *Islam* is the greatest risk faced by the West. We weren't IN Iraq in 1993 when the World Trade Center was bombed for the 1st time, nor were we in IN Iraq when the bombs exploded in Bali. If we magically withdrew EVERY SINGLE US troop stationed overseas and returned them all to be stationed within our borders, does anyone here believe for even a single second that Islamists abroad would not continue to work to destroy us?

Bush's entire Middle East adventure seems doomed to failure, no matter what he does now.

You can't really back that up with anything other than the rhetoric of doom and gloom. Saddam is gone, Osama is in hiding (or dead), the Lebanese kicked the Syrian troops out, Ghaddafi gave up his nuclear ambitions, the (mythical) "Palestinians" had elections, etc. The Middle East has been radically reformed--it'll just take about a decade before the mainstream media figures it out.

4:38 PM  

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