I have work to do after this, and shouldn't even be writing this now (and won't have time to read you folks's posts for another day or two, alas, though I'll get to 'em!)...but I gather from the words today of Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham that the reality of our situation in Iraq is finally beginning to dawn on even the most FOX-hypnotized portions of the country; in honor of which I thought I'd make a few observations -- of a mostly non-polemical nature, for once -- on how difficult it really is to know where to go from here. After all, while some of the newly-awakened are becoming more, rather than less, petulant*, at least some are trying to figure out what the hell to do next...and if we're ever to become one country again, best perhaps to try to meet those folks partway. Of its many crimes against this nation, perhaps FOX's (and Rush's, and the talk radio idjits' generally) worst has been to portray hard questions as though they were actually easy ("We don't do 'nuance,' huh huh huh"). As the national psychosis begins to lift (one can pray), a quick review of the hard questions involved seems long overdue.
(1) Why don't you offer an alternative?: Okay, the reasoning goes, so ShrubCo messed everything up something royal. I don't hear the Dems, or anyone else, making a better suggestion! There's a certain truth to this, because the two timely suggestions people did have were apparently rejected: (a) Let the U.N. inspectors handle this problem in 2002, even if that keeps Hussein in power (and in any case don't destroy fifty years of American empire by launching an outright war of aggression), and when that failed, (b) Elect a Dem in 2004, thereby putting a new face and policy on the occupation, and hope that will change enough Iraqi, and world, minds to allow us to internationalize the problem, hence hope to improve it.
Understand that Republicans blaming Dems for not having a good solution is sorta like a guy insisting on visiting an STD-riddled hooker in the blind faith that he won't get sick (and that anybody who thinks he will is a pansy, huh huh huh) -- and then, as alarming symptoms show up, asking what the hell he's supposed to do now to get all better. Those who did the warning are having a terrible time getting past, "But it would have been so easy not to get sick in the first place, you idiot!", not to mention "I only hope what you've contracted is curable." But, that said, let's review the main options.
(2) "Stay the Course": That is, believe Cheney and Rummy and the Shrubster, accepting either that we're just about to win (Cheney and Shrubby) or that we'll need to be patient for an unspecified number of additional years (Rummy). Leaving aside the horrific flashbacks I get whenever Vietnam-era quagmire language like "Stay the Course" and "Don't Cut and Run" is used, I think that trying to stay this course without substantial changes is probably lunacy. I'm not alone: internal Pentagon assessment is that we can't win this militarily, only politically, but that in the meantime we're gonna need a lot more troops (which is why, of course, they're currently compiling a database on all 16-18 year old high schoolers, and all college kids, in the country**: initially for targeted recruitment, but if need be for a draft). Anyway, to my mind, stay the course without changes is just nuts.
(3) Pull out: Either now, or by some specified date. I hate to admit it, but the strategic part of my head thinks this is lunacy, too. If we pull out now (or give the insurgents a pullout date so they know they can win if they just outwait us), we're left with a middle east reshaped in nightmare terms: a brand new nation (or three) of Osama-stan(s), helped on by those dear old friends of the GOP, the goddam Iranians***. Thanks to the Shrubbistas, Iraq has already become the terrorist training ground it wasn't when we invaded; if we pull out now, I fear it'll become immeasurably worse.
(4) Escalate: That is, send in a very large number of additional US troops, necessarily by instituting a draft. As I've been saying here for some time, I suspect that's where we're headed sooner or later no matter who's running the show. The problems with this: (a) In practical terms, thanks to a generation of propaganda that nobody should have to do anything for their country, a draft would probably provoke breathtaking levels of internal opposition; besides which, (b) Those of us who faced the draft during Vietnam -- and still have memories of what that meant -- have a real reluctance to support the maiming and death of numerous American kids, particularly those who opposed the war in the first place, as a punishment for their society's being run by crooks, psychos, idiots, and religious fanatics.
So, see what I mean by calling this "Hard Questions"?
This journal is always open for comments by anybody. I'm asking you: what option do you support? -- of these, or whatever others you can come up with? Was I right in my long-ago post "Behind the Magick 8-Ball" in fearing that we're simply boned, and there's little point in debating about the coming train wreck? Or is there some way out of this that I'm missing?
93 93/93 -- AJ
(who will prolly take a couple days to reply, depending, but would love to hear some responses if anybody desires)
* My favorite example: "Well, okay, we are going to have to have a draft -- so take the traitors who didn't support the war!" A far stronger case can be made that, on democratic grounds alone, those who opposed the war shouldn't have to be maimed or die for it until all those who supported it (or their war-supporting kids) have gone, right?...particularly since those opposing the war have proven correct about it in every respect, and its supporters consistently mistaken. Why should sane (and/or wise) people have to pay for crazy (and/or foolish) people's mistakes? As a practical matter, of course, the draft can't (alas) be based on ideology, in either direction.
Btw, recall that there was virtually unanimous support for the attack on the Taliban -- certainly from both parties in Congress. Karl Rove wants you to forget that, now, but I bet you're too smart to play along.
** Los Angeles Times front page, 23 June 2005.
*** I'll say it again: despite the rhetoric, I have the deepest possible doubts ShrubCo has any problem with the Iranians, who have been their very close allies for over a quarter-century. Chalabi, Shrubby's guy in Iraq, is himself an Iranian catspaw, and Iran has been vastly strengthened by our actions in Iraq. I don't believe, I'm sorry to say, that even these guys are that dumb: it virtually has to be deliberate. They might well hit Syria, but (possible small-scale "show bombings" aside) I'm betting against any substantial moves against Iran, if the Shrubbistas have anything to say about it.