Saturday, July 29, 2006

plot attacks on the United States

i have a confession to make. i'm not necessarily a part of the 'out, now' crowd. i dont fully subscribe to powell's 'pottery barn' rule - but he was kinda on track. i can't remember when i first realised that there literally arent any good outcomes for iraq - but it was at least 18 months ago. the only question for reasonable americans (and others) is how best to minimize the level of fucked-up-ness.

i understand why many am.lib bloggers point to 2500+ dead am.soldiers, and the weekly price-tag, and the incremental terrorist-creation and so on - but these arguments are merely political issues (ie persuasive to some particular goal.) However, the decision making process ought to be primarily centered around the proximate moral issue - i.e what is the best thing to do by iraq (and, relatedly, the rest of the world)

the options seem to be a) get everyone out b) keep every one in c) add more grunts d) hang out over the horizon. frankly, i have no idea what can or ought be done - but the decision making framework ought to be framed around what is best for iraq (or more precisely iraqis) and best for the rest of the world (eg the risks of the war spilling over into other countries etc)

i've long argued that the presence of am.troops actually contributed to the war and the concomitant death and destruction - and im kinda confident that i've been correct all along. and i've always argued that the stupid americans in charge are too stupid (or too corrupt, ideologically or otherwise) to do anything properly. Nowadays, I'm still confident that they are still too stupid and/or corrupt - and i'm pretty sure that they should get out of iraq - but i think the responsible thought process should consider specifically why they should get out - and whether iraq will be a better place because of it. 'reasons' like 'its costing us $6bn a month' and '2500+ american soldiers are dead for lies' are specious. (the good side of) america has a responsibility to do the best that it can by iraq - and if getting the hell out of there is the best idea, then lets make sure that the argument is something other than 'it costs (us) too much'

again, i'm not arguing that america should stay in iraq - the clusterfuck is so enormous that there arent any good alternatives - and i presume that the best idea is getting the hell outta there (presuming that this doesnt free up am.troops for an invasion of iran or something stupid) - but i think it'd be best if we open up the discussion with full transparency and accounting and such - "out now cos it costs us too much" isnt a particularly justifiable argument (altho it might make sense politically).

for one reason or other, i dont usually rant here - and this place has basically become a clearing house of snippets of stuff that i read (BUT IM MUCH MORE INTERESTING THAN THAT! HONEST!) - but the trigger for this particular rant was this NYT piece by peter galbraith (via glenn) where galbraith writes:
Seeing as we cannot maintain the peace in Iraq, we have but one overriding interest there today — to keep Al Qaeda from creating a base from which it can plot attacks on the United States.
now, i presume that galbraith is a smart guy - but there is so much wrong in these 30 words that i cant even begin to wrap my head around it.

seriously, i'm going to resist the temptation to unpick that parargraph.

honestly.

you dont believe me?

must.hit."publish."

15 comments:

Simon said...

Seeing as we cannot maintain the peace in Iraq, we have but one overriding interest there today — to keep Al Qaeda from creating a base from which it can plot attacks on the United States.

- but there is so much wrong in these 30 words that i cant even begin to wrap my head around it.

It's Catch 22 all over again, the US won't leave, so Al Q won't stop. So 'the base' wants to create a base now? This statement frankly defies belief. The USA has launched itself off a very high cliff when it couldn't even see what lies at the bottom of said cliff. They thought it would be lovely soft rose petals, when in reality there are the thorns of the sharpest variety known to mankind down there. Baghdad is currently the crown of thorns. My suggestion? Abandon it as the capital of Iraq, remove the green zone and transfer full on-the-ground authority to provincial control. Run cental (oil) control from outside the country (Geneva?) a la the Poles and Free French in WWII. It's the only way in a country under occupation. If the situation runs on Iraq will split broadly into three sub-states anyway, and both the antipathy and violence will be endless after that. Breaking the factions is impossible, splitting them into smaller groupings is the only answer. There may be assorted exodi (is that a proper word?) in the workings of this, but that's probably a better option in the long run. (I don't suppose the US would go much on it tho'.)

rimone said...

i think it'd be best if we open up the discussion with full transparency and accounting and such

i live for the day but don't hold much hope that i'll see it soon.

Kathleen said...

If one of our stated goals for invading Iraq, was regime change and helping the Iraqi's elect their own gov't, surely, now that they have done this, we should be guided by what they say they want.

The Maliki Peace Plan included an agreement with the Sunni that they would lay down their arms and the US would withdraw within two years. What the hell was wrong with that? I wouldn't even give us two years, frankly.

I'm sure the UN Security Council would have concurred in that plan. So what is the offical reason we cannot accept the freely elected Iraq plan? Why can't we replace the US troops with UN Peacekeepers when our current UN Security Council authorization expires at the end of the year?

What's wrong with me? It's the oil, stupid.

Don said...

That or the all-bluster power-and-control-freak Rumsfeld, or maybe others with vested interests in an unstable Iraq that either is or isn't producing oil, or the MIC more than happy to be part of Rummy's transformational vision for the war department...

Or maybe all of the above.

I've been jumping back and forth between 2 books the last few days: Risen's State of War (about 100 pages in, good read) & Schwartzkopf's autobio It Doesn't Take A Hero (re-reading for the 5th or 6th time). Comparing and contrasting, it's making for an interesting study of the build-ups to the two Iraq wars, and of the absolute insanity behind the scenes of Gulf II.

'Insanity' is not figurative; these people are fucking nuts.

I'll comment on Risen's book when I'm done, but this pass through Stormin' Norman's days at CentCom, 2 things stood out for me:

1) no mention of Wilson (not a total surprise, but still...)

2) One passage on pg. 318 on the planning of Gulf I's air campaign (emphasis mine):

Though no one had told us, "We don't want you to destroy Iraq as a nation," my assumption in directing the planners had been that the United States would continue to need Iraq as a regional counterbalance to Iran.

After 3 years in Iraq, that single sentence made me want to scream. And throw things.

Schwartzkopf wrote that in 1992 on events in 1990. In 2003, we had most of the same fucking players in the Administration, at the Pentagon, and in CentCom; plus a borderline nuclear Iran, and they couldn't fucking figure that out. Of course, we also had Junior trying to outdo Poppy running the war show (or being run, take your pick), and Rock'em Sock'em Rummy, the Armchair General from Hell.

The walls of the Oval Office should be padded, and the door of the SecDef's office barred, locked, welded and bricked up. That's just a start; there's a lot of housecleaning to do.

As fucked up as Iraq (and Lebanon) are now, there can be no sane resolutions so long as the figurative asylum is being run by the literal madmen.

I just hope there's a way to bring about resolution without revolution.

damien said...

Remember General Jay Garner from March 2003 who called for Iraqis to hold elections within 90 days and for the US to quickly pull troops out of the cities to a desert base. "It's their country.... and their oil." There was the 101-page plan for Iraq's economy drafted secretly by neo-cons calling for the sale of "all state assets ... especially in the oil and oil-supporting industries" that he fully intended to IGNORE. This was when the Sunnis, Shias and Kurds were still talking to one another. Garner lasted one day in Iraq before Paul Bremer was called in and cancelled the Iraqi factions conference, postponed the elections for a year and issued a raft of edicts selling off Iraq's assets to US and foreign operators.

Remember the big flashing neon question: "Why did they go into Iraq?" We still don't know. But oil and assets played a part and the WH mafia aren't going to give that up easily. So a lot more lies need to be told. In fact, it's essential if they're going to maintain their hold on Iraq. They'll attack Iran if they have to. (And don't forget, those Dems are waiting in the wings waving subpoenas come Nov.)

The political implications for the region? A pullback from Iraq will result in increased pressure to get out of Afghanistan and strong moral pressure to get out of the ME altogether (inc.longer term, places like Saudi Arabia). So, stay or leave, it's a loser for the US and a massive win for 'ragheads' everywhere.

The three characteristic that spring to mind with the Bush administration are:

(1) Basic criminality.
(2) Incompetence in essential governmental tasks. They clusterfuck everything. (Think Katrina).
(3) They live almost entirely by media manipulation and deception.

So don't expect any sensible decisions from these guys, or any mature judgement about peace in the ME, or anywhere elsewhere. There's some elections still to be stolen, and parts of the Treasury still to be looted.

Have you forgotten who we're dealing with?

damien said...

And there's a nice one from Barry Crimmins:

It's such hard work that former White House press secretary Scott McClellan finally succumbed to fiction fatigue in April. After a few years of repeatedly avoiding obvious questions and telling us that "the American people aren't interested" in the details of the Bush-Cheney crime spree, he had all the credibility of a greasy, sweaty John Wayne Gacy saying, "Smell? What smell?"

lukery said...

hello everyone - thanks for all the great comments. have been off solving other problems today.

simon - yep, exodi is a word. now.

my major qualm (among many) with "to keep Al Qaeda from creating a base from which it can plot attacks" is that all it takes 'to plot' is a bedroom somewhere.

i agree that the most likely 'best' answer is a multi-state solution in iraq - but i'm not an expert in such matters - and i can't begin to imagine/quantify all the displacement costs for all of the individuals and so on - not least is the slicing of the economic/oil pie. and i'm also 'concerned'/cognizant of the fact that the apparent israeli goal is to break all of it's major regional competitors/threats into smaller, less powerful statelets (which doesnt mean that breaking iraq up is necessarily a bad idea.)

lukery said...

kathleen - yep - i didnt mention in my post that the decision about when amtroops leaves should be an iraqi issue.

the iraqi population has long wanted america to leave. i was watching lehrer maybe a month ago and Shields mentioned that 80% of iraqis want america to leave, and lehrer was speechless. i was horrified that he didnt know this.

lukery said...

rimone - to be clear, the full quote was "but i think it'd be best if we open up the discussion with full transparency and accounting and such - "out now cos it costs us too much" isnt a particularly justifiable argument" - so i was specifically arguing for the 'left' position.

of course, we'll never get anything except bamboozlement from those in charge.

lukery said...

don - thanks for that - very interesting. will be happy to publish a review of SoW when you are done.

re "As fucked up as Iraq (and Lebanon) are now, there can be no sane resolutions so long as the figurative asylum is being run by the literal madmen." - yeah i obviously didnt make this point clear at all in my post (i didnt even try). i have no illusions that whatever we say, and whatever arguments are brought forth, the lunatics are indeed in charge - raping and pillaging as per the plan - and it will continue - most probably regardless of who is president in 2009.

the point of my post, aside from the reaction to the 'al qaeda plotting' nonsense, was to focus attention on the appropriate moral reasoning - as i said: "i think the responsible thought process should consider specifically why they should get out"

i can understand certain americans wanting to leave iraq 'becuase it's too expensive' - but from a non-american, i find that disgusting.

lukery said...

damien: "So don't expect any sensible decisions from these guys, or any mature judgement about peace in the ME, or anywhere elsewhere. There's some elections still to be stolen, and parts of the Treasury still to be looted.

Have you forgotten who we're dealing with?"

i hope i've cleared all this up in my previous comments. i'm under no illusion about the egadministration and their motivations - and i wasnt trying to present an argument to counter them. that would just be silly. i wasnt advocating a policy - i was simply trying to add some clarity/depth to the 'out now' argument - and trying to tease out the issues.

lukery said...

btw - i love 'fiction fatigue' :-)

damien said...

I'd never accuse you of a lack of nuance, or forgetting details, Luke. I guess I was just doing my usual "stating the bleeding obvious". It comes from playing too much chess. After a while you understand that all the tactical ins and outs mean very little if the underlying strategic weaknesses dictate the final outcome. That's why I post here: to provide a contrast to the nuance. Normally I'd be concerned that I was morphing into a Rummyite ("we don't do nuance") but as we're all soon to be Ledeenites, it's of little concern :)

btb, Hopsicker has a new article out tying the 5.5 ton Mexico drug haul to long-time Bush backer Richard Rainwater. You can follow it via Cannonfire

lukery said...

damien - i hope you'd accuse me of lacking nuance if i, for example, lacked nuance!

the point that you made was kinda echoed through some of the other comments to this post - so i wasnt quite sure whether my point was clear - or if we were all screaming 'these fuckers!' together in unison.

thnks for the skyways link, again.

Kathleen said...

Well, I guess we didn't go there so the Iraqis could have a freely elected gov't, not one that called any shots anyway, just for show, or we would have welcomed their peace plan, agreed to it and said finally, "Mission Accomplished". How come we didn't do that? Because W stands for Wall to Wall War and we are never going to leave until we have war with Iraq's neighbors, Syria and Iran.

How can you remake the ME without destroying it first?