Friday, June 22, 2007

Neither Korea, Nor Vietnam, Nor Fish, Nor Fowl

Jim Henley lays it down regarding America's "long-term commitment" to Iraq:
1. 50,000 troops isn’t enough to “prevent” shit. Eric Martin points out that three times that many troops isn’t stopping an ongoing meltdown along the Turkish border.

2. American troops are not epiphytes. They can’t hang on trees and get their sustenance from the air. 50,000 troops will require massive daily supply convoys, or, to use the military term, “targets.” If the US doesn’t “patrol” beyond the bases, the bases will be even more subject to mortar attacks than they are now.

3. So long as American troops are in Iraq, everyone is going to believe that America still owns the place and is responsible for whatever happens there - the pressure, domestic and international, to get out of those bases and deal with whatever badness is going on at the moment will be massive.

4. For just a moment can we acknowledge the grotesque moral bankruptcy of a policy that amounts to “We’re going to take up space in your country but we don’t give a flying fuck what happens to you people?” Because that’s what the “residual force” while “abandoning the effort to stop sectarian violence” means. At least have the decency to not crash on Iraq’s couch if you’re going to ignore the family feud.

No one who is not a party hack should accept this “residual force” nonsense for half a second. I’d call it a betrayal of the ever-growing antiwar movement if I thought the Dem front-runners gave a damn about the antiwar movement in the first place.
Point out the gross incompetence with which the United States has conducted its Iraq adventure, to say nothing of the sheer immoral arrogance with which the U.S. abrogated the right to dictate the affairs of nations, and you'll get a lot of sympathetic nods from the so-called anti-war left. "Yeah," they'll say, "but things would just get worse if we left now."

How? How could things possibly get worse? Shia, Sunni and Kurd slay each other with abandon, and gleefully turn their guns on any American GIs who interfere. There are two inevitable end states from the current situation:

  • Shia and Sunni continue violently feuding, as they have since shortly after the Prophet's death, while the Kurds pick away at the fringes; or
  • One side emerges triumphant and subsumes the whole of Iraq in nationalist fervor.

The presence of Americans can only delay one of the above outcomes. They cannot alter it.

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