Why The Neutralist? The term Isolationist implies a narrow Fortress America outlook and is used as an epithet. The term Neutralist does not indicate someone hiding out from the world. No one calls the Swiss isolationists. The Wilsonian world view is old, tired and wrong. Our interventions have been less and less successful and now the failure can no longer be covered up.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Lest anyone still thinks it was a good idea
Of course, how worthy a mistake it was is a question we are not able to put to the soldiers who are now beyond answering.
I'm sorry, I was against this war from the beginning. I knew it was a fraud from well before day one. How you may ask could a nobody from a backwater know such a thing. I was born and raised in a state unexcelled for its culture of corruption. Politicians from Louisiana could learn a few tricks. A lot of it is done without any bribery. No, it is done much more smoothly. first, someone starts mentioning un met needs. Then, the newspapers have articles that morph the un met need into a crisis. State reps and senators start using phrases like " we need to do it for the children" and "the kids are our future." Soon enough there is a new state agency and cronies are being hired all over the place.
It was a little bit different with the war drumbeat. First, we have Iraq mentioned as part of the Axis of Evil. Then, do we remember the Anthrax scare? I do. I remember pundits hot for action, for others of course. As I live up on a hill, I can get Boston stations on the car radio. One talk show host, Jay Severin was shilling for the war big time. One afternoon he breathlessly intoned that it was reported that the anthrax involved in the letters had the footprint of an Iraqi lab and that if it did have that footprint, then, "We are at war with Iraq." Cut to a break.
The anthrax scare faded away but the drumbeat continued. I remember some peacenik type acquaintances talking about going down to New York for a march and hearing them hopeful about stopping the juggernaut. I remember telling them that the people who want the war, can have the war and that is that. Of course that was discounted, but that is life. If common sense had ever prevailed in this country, the slogan would have been, Forget the Maine. Contriving a war has a history here.
Some of the propaganda was so obviously stupid that it embarrasses me as an American to think it was said and quoted. Condoleeza Rice's remark about the smoking gun turning out to be a mushroom cloud was, maybe, the worst. A few unfortunates might have believed that Iraq was somewhat near the bomb, but no one suggested they had any inkling of a delivery system. So, Condi, how were they to get it to a target? "Quick Achmed, get it on to the donkey cart, we will get it on a cargo ship as part of a shipment of dates and when it gets to New York Harbor, it gets set off. I volunteer you, Achmed, for this important mission."
Let me admit, I am for cutting and running. Jonah is not. In one of the dumbest analogies ever he writes, A doctor will warn that if you see a man stabbed in the chest, you shouldn’t rush to pull the knife out. So, Jonah probably feels that if you wander into a burning house, you should make yourself a cup of tea, sit down and drink it while reading the paper rather than rushing out. Of course Jonah forgets to mention that stabbing was a self inflicted wound.
There is no winning in Iraq. We don't have an enemy from whom we can take the surrender ala the Japanese on the Missouri, or Lee at Appomattox. We don't even have an enemy we could surrender to if we wanted to. So, we are going to leave eventually. If anyone reading thinks staying in an unwinnable war is worth it, maybe you will volunteer to explain it to the next of kin of the men who will be killed until we finally say au revoir. Heck, explain it to me. No, cutting and running is the plan, now or later, whether under Bush, President Hillary or President McCain.
Of course, Jonah has a plan.
"According to the conventional script, if I’m not saying “bug out” of Iraq, I’m supposed to say “stay the course.” But there’s a third option, and, funnily enough, I found it in an old column of mine (journalistic taboos be damned!). I think we should ask the Iraqis to vote on whether U.S. troops should stay.
Polling suggests that they want us to go. But polling absent consequences is a form of protest. With accountability, minds may change and appreciation for the U.S. presence might grow.
If Iraqis voted “stay,” we’d have a mandate to do what’s necessary to win, and our ideals would be reaffirmed. If they voted “go,” our values would also be reaffirmed, and we could leave with honor. And pretty much everyone would have to accept democracy as the only legitimate expression of national will.
Finishing the job is better than leaving a mess. And if we can finish the job, the war won’t be remembered as a mistake."
Okay, so they vote and say stay and we fight it out for twenty years and thousands of casualties. So, how will the war not be remembered as a mistake. They can vote now by universal support for our mission if they wanted to, but they don't, or not enough of them do.
No, cut and run. Tell Jonah admitting denial is the first step (it is, isn't it?).
Is there no other way. Well, there is one other way. Mind you, I don't endorse it. Still, I believe it recognizes the reality of Iraq. The land between the Tigris and Euphrates is where big government was invented, not to mention cynicism regarding big government. These people will never buy the we are here for you, let's spread democracy, by the way are there sufficient women in your graduate petro engineering classes silliness. They know what works and we are spreading something else.
Before we invaded Iraq was either a perfectly good dysfunctional country or a horribly bad functional country. There was reasonable freedom of religion and hospitals and schools functioned. Our sanctions distorted the economy, but at least there was an economy. It is not a good model, but in some form or other it is what works there.
I know what you're thinking. Yes, I know he has had a rest and is bored with the trial, but no. Saddam can suffer whatever court structure they have there can hand him. We are not going to help him no matter how many times he shows that picture with his buddy Don Rumsfeld.
What we need to do is find the smartest, toughest guy in the country. I would throw one other criterion into the mix. I would want us to look for the most decent smartest, toughest guy in the country. It should be made clear to him he has a country to run and all we ask is he just run it. We would like to buy some gas when he has cowed the country into some semblance of order, but he needs fear nothing as long as he does not bother us.
Actually, we should just bug out. We'll screw up this selection process as well.
No matter what the boy thinks, it was not a "worthy mistake." It was just a dumb war and it won't get any smarter.