An LJ'er whose posts I consistently enjoy* posted three interesting political questions but didn't want to hear the answers. Cut for both political content and length, then...
1. If the Iraq war is all about US imperialism and a desire to steal Iraqi oil, then why are gas prices higher this year than any time in history?
For the same reason that everything else this administration does proves a catastrophic failure: it's run by a guy who's routinely failed at every single thing he's ever done, and staffed by his similarly-minded (and -abled) friends. They thought Iraq would be a cakewalk; it wasn't. They thought the oil would finance the invasion; it didn't, not least because the (perfectly predictable) insurgency keeps (perfectly predictably) blowing up the pipelines.
Then again, when two Texas oil men take over the White House and impose their will on Congress, perhaps we should not be surprised that suddenly Texas oil men are rich beyond the dreams of avarice.
I should note, btw, that I personally have no objection to great powers stealing resources; that is what great powers have always done. My objection is to their doing it so badly that in their eight short years they are quite likely to permanently destroy American power.
2. If the Iraq war is such a Vietnam-like quagmire, then why are you 33% more likely to be murdered in Washington DC than in Iraq (80.3/100,000 vs 60/100,000)? Obviously we must immediately withdraw from DC. (Some of us already have.)
Two categories of reply: one about his source's number games, then the more important one about his misunderstanding of what a "Vietnam-like quagmire" means.
Numbers: (a) Even taking his at face value (I haven't checked them) I suspect the comparison is all wrong: total civilian+police+military deaths in DC versus US military deaths in Iraq, I'm assuming. Either add in all the civilian and police deaths too (in Iraq), or check how many US troops died in DC this year; otherwise the comparison is fake. (b) How many US troops died in the first two years of the Vietnam War? Picking 1961-63 Iraq has Vietnam beat all to hell, I'll bet (though without a bright line Vietnam "invasion date" to start from the comparison is gonna be misleading**.) And finally (c) Let's make it as fair as we can, and ask the US troops serving in Iraq if they'd like a transfer to patrolling the streets of Washington DC instead. I bet they don't believe -- any more than he does, once he really thinks about it -- that DC duty would be more hazardous.
That said, he seems to be suggesting that, having had something approaching 2000 US troops killed in Iraq, we won't lose another 55,000 over the next twelve or thirteen years. Naturally, I hope and pray (and in fact believe) he's probably right. However...
(c) A "Vietnam-like quagmire" isn't about the total number of US military deaths over a two year period; it's about being massively over-committed militarily to a place you dare not leave for years at a time. If ALL US military deaths in Iraq stopped today and did not resume at all (don't I wish!), but we still didn't dare draw down our troop strength (thanks to a continuing insurgency), we'd still be in a "Vietnam-like quagmire"...with unbelievably dangerous implications for American power generally.
3. What was the point of confiscating and destroying rifles of the former Iraqi Army, only to turn around and spend our tax money on this?: By JONATHAN S. LANDAYKnight Ridder NewspapersWASHINGTON — The U.S. Army has approved the purchase of more than $29 million worth of weapons for the new Iraqi army from a Chinese state-owned company.[...]
Good question!, and I only have pure speculation in reply. (a) I suspect there are US companies benefiting here too, but that's just suspicion based on past performance. (b) The Bush family gets along really, really well with the Chinese. Perhaps that's why they're handing our empire over to them? But ultimately, (c) This administration being perhaps the most corrupt in US history -- and certainly one of the most wasteful -- the ways of their patronage are mysterious to outsiders, the mere taxpayers most of all. Perhaps we'll be better off once they leave office.
Howzat for service? :)
93 93/93 -- AJ
* I won't say who. Folks disable replies, they shouldn't be hassled, period.
** Do we play fair or what? You don't see concessions like that on Faux "News."