Iraq: a glimmer of hope
Hey, beats "Iraq: boy, are we #$%ed," hunh? ;)The glimmer I have in mind is neither the President's current short-term escalation gamble, nor yet the efforts of the Democratic House and Senate to put some limits on the conflict. Instead, I have in mind the belated attempts by the non-elected, permanent government -- military, intelligence, diplomatic, and other such folks throughout the bureaucracy -- to wrest control of the conflict away from incompetents, crooks, lunatics and children of any party, and steer America somewhere back in the direction of her own best interests.
If their effort succeeds, everyone who insists that government is the problem will owe them a major apology...like he didn't already.
I stopped posting about Iraq here once it became clear that the President intended to reject the advice of his entire military command and throw what few remaining ground assets we have -- Army, Marines, Guard and Reserves -- into the meatgrinder (after the ones he'd already fatigued, crippled or destroyed), in hopes that things might work out after all. This hope, however unlikely, wasn't and isn't impossible -- except in the form his neocon buddies proposed it: i.e., sending our remaining troops head to head against Sadr and his militia. The extremely good news is that General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq with overwhelming bipartisan support, is rumored instead to be cutting deals with Sadr, and focusing on keeping Iran as far out of the mix as possible. So there's the first improvement: Petraeus isn't doing what they sent him there to do. Thank God.
Iran, of course, is seeing its hegemony over the Middle East -- which it could never have got on its own, but succeeded in very nearly getting by gaming the Bush administration into handing over -- endangered by current moves. I suspect that's why Iran is engaging in ever more provocations (most recently its capture of fifteen British sailors and marines): the mullahs hope to build a pretext, any pretext, for sending a million fresh troops into Shia Iraq to consolidate their gains. We could exact a huge cost for such an operation, but I am far from certain we could stop it...leaving aside what the cost to ourselves would prove to be (and it would be immense, both there and back here).
The President, alas, remains as intransigent as ever: if he can't have his latest huge-dollar blank check from the Congress with no strings attached, then he'll veto the spending bill and then blame them that he's run out of money. For their part, the Dems are trapped in a fractious coalition: those terrified what a pullout will mean, side by side with those who want a pullout last week and no more shilly-shallying. And in the meantime, China is making noises about wanting to diversify its holdings (as in, stop picking up the tab for our debt). Oops.
In short, the danger to the United States continues to be greater than any I have ever seen in my life. But the good news is, the professionals seem to be reasserting themselves, with some help from elected grown-ups in both parties. I pray for their success, and for our undeserved salvation.
93 93/93 -- AJ