What should be done about Iraq — now. And why?

There are various proposals including by (those who believe that they are) presidential candidates. Whatever their value these are policies that will be adopted no earlier than many months from now, after many more deaths. What can be done now?

George Bush’s aim is to postpone the inevitable until he leaves office and then blame others for the disaster. “If I had been allowed to continue my forceful leadership we would have won”, which more and more people are seeing is pure nonsense. What has to be done is to force him to admit, now, that it is nonsense and that there is no rationale, except his ego, for our remaining. Force the Republicans to admit that there is no reason to remain, or pay the very high political price for allowing the senseless slaughter of our troops and Iraqis.

Iraq varies from a civil war to chaos. There are factions within factions. Iraqis are more interested in killing each other than in living together in peace, than in their country.

Why should our soldiers die to protect Iraqis so they can slaughter each other? Bush says our aim is victory. What is victory when we are in the midst of another people’s civil war? He does not know, he cannot answer. He says we should finish the mission. What is the mission: to get the Iraqis to love each other? In that case instead of sending another 30,000 troops he should send in 30,000 psychiatrists. Bush’s aim is clear: to postpone the inevitable so the next president will be blamed for his catastrophe — no matter how many American lives, no matter how many Iraqi lives, it takes. Shall we spend hundreds of millions of dollars and so many, many lives, shall we cause so much suffering, so George Bush can evade his responsibility for the immense damage he has done? Force George Bush to explain, in meaningful words not slogans, what we are doing there, which he cannot do. Then let us tell George Bush — forcefully — that people’s lives are more important than his ego, and let us start to withdraw from Iraq, now.

Other actions, such as deauthorizing the war, will not work. Bush will claim that he has the responsibility to protect our troops (say by leaving them without proper shielding so that they can be killed).  And since they are there they must be allowed to finish the job or else the terrorists will win. So he, as Commander — of incompetence — in Chief) must ignore Congress’s wishes and continue fighting. Then he can blame others for his disaster.

But if he and the Republicans were forced to explain, in meaningful words, why they are there they will be unable to. What choice will they have then?

How can this be done? Congress should pass a noncontroversial resolution asking for Bush to state clearly, in well-defined terms, what we are doing in Iraq and what the goals are. Congress needs that in order to properly discharge its responsibilities. He says the aim is victory. What is victory when we are in the midst of other people’s civil war? What is the mission? He should state plainly what the situation in Iraq would be after “victory” and why he believes that is possible when the Iraqis clearly do not want to live in peace with each other.  Any response will clearly be nonsense and should then be torn apart and shown to be nonsense. That will convince the country that Bush is just trying to postpone the inevitable so he can blame others, no matter how many lives it takes.

That Bush is just trying to find a way of blaming others and cares not in the least about people’s lives should be stressed again and again, in ceaseless speeches and advertising campaigns. (Why should Bush care about the soldiers, they aren’t rich?)

Don’t try to force him to do anything, which is impossible. Keep embarrassing him and the Republicans.

Will there be chaos after we leave, perhaps worse than now? This is unfortunately quite likely. Bush and the Republicans have gotten us into a situation where we can neither stay nor leave. They have made all options disastrous. This should be emphasized again and again. Whenever they point up the dangers of leaving it should be stressed that they are admitting how much danger they have caused, how they have so badly mishandled the entire situation, what a disastrous mess they have made.

What (little) can be done?  We should leave. There is nothing that we can do, no matter how bad the situation is or will become, we cannot prevent it from becoming worse, we cannot make it better. Our being there just aggravates the problem. We are a target and very much an excuse. The Iraqis are killing each other in the guise of fighting us. At least we should remove that excuse and force them to face reality, no matter how bad that reality will be.

Shouldn’t we wait until the Iraqis are able to provide security for themselves? We have been trying unsuccessfully to do that for a long time. The Iraqis are not trying to build up their security forces, but rather to use them against each other. If we wait for them to be strong enough we will wait forever. We should recognize that no matter how bad the situation will be if we leave now, it will be just as bad, or worse, a year from now, 2 years, 10 years, 50 years. Waiting will not help.

Nor can we stay partially in. It will do no good to have our troops remain there restricted to their bases or Kuwait enjoying the sight of the Iraqis slaughtering each other. That will just give them excuses. And they will not be able to fight the terrorists that way. That should be obvious. They can’t fight the terrorists while we have troops, dying, and in the midst of the fight. They will have even less success fighting from the sidelines.

We created this disaster, aren’t we responsible for dealing with it? The pawnshop principle has been applied: you broke it, you bought it. However the mess that the Bush administration caused is so great that there is nothing that we can do. Bush not only broke it, he burned down the pawnshop. Also the Iraqis are more interested in killing each other than in their country. That greatly weakens our obligation.

Will our leaving lead to regional wars? That is unfortunately all too possible, but it need not be. If the countries are determined to fight each other, they will. But are they? Intelligent leaders would talk to everyone and try to work out arrangements that prevent wars. That is difficult and uncertain, but may not be impossible. Bush however is determined to flaunt how incompetent he is and takes the attitude “they’re naughty people and we won’t talk to them” thus throwing away much of his power. Won’t Iran be greatly strengthened? Yes. Bush decided that a major beneficiary of his administration is Iran and worked hard to accomplish that.  It is what he wanted and it is what he has achieved. It is too late now to change.

Let us then force Bush and the Republicans to admit that there are no reasons to remain, which just makes the problem worse. They will then have no choice but to leave Iraq, now not after the country forces them to leave.


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