Saturday, October 11, 2008

No News

A WP article about declining press coverage and presence in Iraq contains the proof of American "success" in that country. One line stands out:
U.S. military officials acknowledge that they are not eager to showcase American military-led combat operations at a time when the Iraqi government is calling for a more limited role for U.S. troops and pushing for firm withdrawal timelines.

Imagine that. Iraqis making demands of the United States. Demands that this country must take seriously. I call that a nation a-borning. Or at least groping its way toward a national voice. Many Iraqi legislators have long expressed the same sentiment. "America Out" (or at least way the fuck down) sounds like one of the few things Iraqis can agree on.

Looking at the mission objectives (misleadingly declared "accomplished" in 2003), I see that Iraqi WMD's are no longer a threat. They never were but certainly not now. Brutal dictatorship? Gone. Replaced with a violent and destructive competition among competing ethnic and sectarian groups, leavened with America's lethal and overwhelming force. Stable democracy? Democratic forms perhaps but most authority exercised by relatively few in the absence of any national consensus. Ally in the war on terror? All of the Iraqi factions have some reason to ally with America--our forces and money are a valuable asset in their three-way competition--but America's interests are not theirs. Otherwise, far too many Iraqis have good reason to hate America for the losses they've suffered. But that may be tolerable as long as we don't put Americans directly in their sights.

If this sounds at all like I am shilling for the "victory" crowd, I'm not. Whatever "success" America has achieved in Iraq is AT BEST a meager return on a high cost investment. CheneyBush was perversely right in 2003 with that "Mission Accomplished" bullshit--he had done all he knew how or cared to do. Ever since, this nation, Iraq and the world have been trying to rebuild what America destroyed. Picking up the pieces and trying to contain the damage. Except that the use of military force has destroyed even more in the years since as CheneyBush continued to pour lives, money and our national honor in a desperate effort to avoid blame for a catastrophic mistake.

Five and a half years. Many Hundreds of thousand lives lost. A financial drain now approaching a trillion dollars. Victory will gain the right to station forces in a hostile and volatile area with every expectation that these expeditionary costs will stretch into the future even as our economy collapses around us.

Some victory.



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