kurt's nightmare

Generally, I post once a week. Topics are randomly selected and depend mostly upon whether it's baseball season or not. Other topics will include sex, politics, old girlfriends, music, and whatever else pops into my little brain. If you'd like to read, or ignore, my blog about China: http://meidabizi.blogspot.com/

Name:
Location: Dayton, OH, Heard & McDonald Islands

I'm an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Dayton. I represent no one but myself, and barely do that. I'm here mostly by accident.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

This War

Our President and maximum leader generates a lot of reaction, from unadulterated love to unadulterated hostility. I know some people who think he--virtually by definition--can do no wrong, and others who blame him for everything from childhood obesity to avian flu.

The reaction he generates from me is anger and scorn. This is an administration that chose to invade Iraq with the intent of deposing Sadaam Hussein, imposing democracy, and providing an example to the other Middle East countries (presumably these never include Israel) of the joys of elections, the democratic process, and freedom.

Sadaam Hussein was deposed, and I know few who weep because of it. Is he the most monstrous leader on earth? Probably not. Did he deserve to be taken out? Probably. The question is this: at what cost?

It is starting to look more and more as if "democracy" is not going to be the result of the US invasion, regardless of how one construes that very ambiguous word (although ambiguous, it can somehow be regarded as univocally referring in Administration soundbites). It looks more and more likely that the result will be the metamorphosis of a low-level civil war, which is what is presently occurring, into a full-blown civil war, between Sunnis and Shi'ites. The Kurds may well try to sit this one out, and everything I've read, heard, or seen, is that it is simply a matter of time until the Kurds declare an independent Kurdistan. This gets Turkey and Syria involved, with whatever destabilizing effects one might imagine.

The Sunnis have economic and military support in the region, of course, and dominate the central part of the country; the Shi'ia have the majority of the population, evidently dominate the security forces that are being developed and trained by the US, and have economic, military, and political support next door in Iran. This is a recipe for bloodshed, vindictiveness, and payback that we may shudder at, although--as I suggest below--Americans will hear relatively little about it.

The anger I have for this admininstration comes from it having placed the US in an intractable dilemma. We can't leave and we can't stay, and we certainly can't do both or neither. Thus we can't finesse our way through the horns of this dilemma, and seizing either horn is neither politically nor militarily viable. The current attempt to speed up training and responsibility of the domestic Iraqi security forces and work with an (unstated but genuine) timetable for withdrawal seems to be the best of a range of fundamentally miserable options. Miserable for American troops, miserable for Bush's political support (and for those who depend upon him, the numbers of which are decreasing rapidly), but especially miserable for the Iraqis. When one hears Iraqis say they were better off under Sadaam, that may be hyperbole, sour grapes, or 20-20 hindsight; but it says something about how Iraqis view the US presence and what it has accomplished. But the current report of Shi'ites--whether officially part of the Iraq security forces, or "rogue elements"--executing (and torturing) hundreds of Sunnis (and reports of white phosphorus being used in this war against civilians)--don't inspire much confidence about what happens in Iraq when the US forces are gone.

Shi'ite Death Squads?


White Phosphorus

A standard trope that has been employed over the last year or so is to compare the Iraqi invasion with the Viet Nam war. Critics talk about a "quagmire," while supporters of the invasion go to great lengths to point out differences. Ann Coulter, mystic historian and anorexic fantasist, compares the death toll in Iraq to that of the American Civil War (or War Between the States), WWII, and Viet Nam. The US lost 60,000 men and women in Viet Nam for what, even according to its architects, was a failed idea followed by a failed plan. Since we've only lost 2,000+ in Iraq, the current war is not like Viet Nam. I wonder if she remembers that this originally was part of a Global War on Terror?

More telling, perhaps, is that the journalistic coverage and official administration responses sound almost verbatim as if they were coming out of the Columbus Dispatch and Nixon White House of the late '60s, although the word "traitor" is thrown about with even more aplomb than before. I've been told any number of times that critics of the war are traitors--"gutless traitors," according to La Coultera's current diatribe--and that the media are to blame for failures to acheive victory. The inimitable Loofah king, Bill O'Reilly, in a fascinating tete-á-tete with Newt Gingrich last night, also declared that anyone who dared suggest that the war was going badly, that we should get out, and that invading in the first place wasn't a boffo idea, was guilty not just of treason, but also of hating Bush so much that he or she desired an American defeat (and, by implication, more American deaths).

La Coultera and the Nospinmeister thus make it clear: support the President, or be a traitor. Even Gingrich was willing to make room still for the First Amendment, particularly given that treason is a capital crime. Healthy debate and all, huff huff.

Finally, the parallel comes home when we see that the Bush administration is going to adopt precisely the Nixonian strategy: declare victory and get out. I think there is simply no way sufficient political will--or moral will--exists for the US occupation to continue as is, or even for the US to dominate Iraq for more than another 18 months or so. Nor should it. We will be told, of course, that our mission was indeed accomplished, that the Iraqis are better off than before, and we will hear less and less about what is going on within Iraq; that information will be available, but one will have to look harder to find it (when was the last time you heard a detailed report on conditions in Afghanistan?). Those who insist on letting us know what shape Iraq is in, of course, especially if the pessimistic scenarios are correct, will be accused of being reprehensible fifth-columnists, trying to undermine the tremendous accomplishments of the Bush administration.

As was clear in Viet Nam, we aren't making things better so we better see how we can minimize (or minify) the damage and then start to develop a strategy whereby the problems we inflicted on the Iraqis can be addressed and ameliorated. And we better start doing it pretty fucking soon.

Are things getting better?

Sadly, if Seymour Hersh is right, the President is not only convinced that he is right, he refuses to listen to anyone who disagrees or even challenges his worldview. (Do we really have to wait for Bob Woodward to redeem himself in 2009 with his book Bush the Bubble Boy: Mom, Intellectual Courage, and the Dangers of Political Solipsism, where we get the anecdotes, á la The Final Days, about temper tantrums, religious weirdness, and inexplicably intransigient dogmatism?)

Oct. 11, 2000, in the second debate of the election campaign, Bush criticized the invasion of Somalia (Mogadishu, specifically) because Clinton's original mission had "changed into a nation-building mission, and that's where the mission went wrong." "The mission was changed, and as a result, our nation paid a price," Bush continued. "And so I don't think our troops ought to be used for what's called nation building."

If he's right--your call--I think he might go a little farther now, and say this:

I don't think our troops ought to be used for carrying out an ill-conceived plan, based not just on faulty intelligence but contrary to that intelligence in many cases, and from sources the US intelligence community (and others) regarded as fundamentally flawed, with no particularly clear idea of what will constitute success, and generating more problems than are solved. As my Daddy might say, the first thing you do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.


Mr. Bush: stop digging.


8 Comments:

Anonymous Frodo said...

I flipped out the day after Thanksgiving my 21 year old son decides he wants to be patriotic and join the Marines. I lost it, but maintained composure, He voted against W he is against the war. He talked to a recruiter (they are the wormtongue of modern timer, damned liars and Republican policy repeaters, an answer for every fact against the war, a lie for all reasons) got my son feeling all patriotica about letting those marines already there die a valiant death, "into the valley of death rode the 600" song and dance crap. My son has no college major program, he started and stopped at comm. college and was feeling down about that, and wanted to move out and get away. So after many evasive conversations he decided he just wants to move out and into an apartment with friends. The main goal being, an escape route out of my house. Which is fine with me I told him I will even support him with auto-insurance, I told him I will pay for that and he doesn't have to get killed or even shot at. So major crises diverted, but he will reconsider his options in 6 months. Hopefully this will buy him time to see through the total futility of war, and how permanent it is to get killed, dead, you don't come back. To fight for an unjust cause makes you just as wrong to support an immoral cause. I pray we exit within the year and bring home the other misguided 21 year old youths who have so much more of their lives in front of them. I also told him that people used to say anti-war demonstrations against Vietnam was a useless waste of time, but in Nixons own books didn't he say the march on Washington that brought out 10s of thousands to D.C. was when Nixon finally wavered. I told him that he can vote with his feet too. That if he signed up, that could embolden Bush to continue on with the war, thinking hey I can still get suckers to die for my Iraq Folly. But if you don't join the marines then Bush will also see the numbers of recruits going down and he can't reload the cannon fodder with fresh young 21 year olds to fire into a certain death, and Bush will reconsider. I told him his decisions to support peace will be recorded as a NO VOTE against the war. I hope and pray I am right for everybodies sake.

2:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"He who joyfully marches to music rank and file, has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice. This disgrace to civilization should be done away with at once. Heroism at command, how violently I hate all this, how despicable and ignoble war is; I would rather be torn to shreds than be a part of so base an action. It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder."

~Albert Einstein

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Verbing weirds language.

3:32 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

uggs outlet, christian louboutin uk, tiffany jewelry, nike outlet, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, prada outlet, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, uggs on sale, kate spade outlet, louis vuitton outlet, replica watches, louis vuitton, ray ban sunglasses, polo ralph lauren outlet online, michael kors outlet, louis vuitton, nike air max, uggs outlet, nike free, christian louboutin, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, prada handbags, tory burch outlet, chanel handbags, oakley sunglasses wholesale, oakley sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton outlet, ugg boots, longchamp outlet, michael kors outlet, gucci handbags, burberry outlet, nike air max, cheap oakley sunglasses, michael kors outlet online, tiffany and co, replica watches, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet online, burberry handbags, christian louboutin shoes, polo outlet

11:47 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

new balance, hollister uk, timberland pas cher, nike blazer pas cher, kate spade, hollister pas cher, burberry pas cher, michael kors, polo ralph lauren, nike air max uk, nike free uk, nike roshe run uk, sac vanessa bruno, oakley pas cher, guess pas cher, replica handbags, michael kors pas cher, abercrombie and fitch uk, true religion outlet, north face uk, vans pas cher, true religion outlet, north face, air max, coach outlet, true religion outlet, sac hermes, mulberry uk, ray ban uk, michael kors, sac longchamp pas cher, nike air force, michael kors outlet, louboutin pas cher, hogan outlet, nike roshe, polo lacoste, lululemon canada, jordan pas cher, true religion jeans, nike air max uk, longchamp pas cher, coach outlet store online, converse pas cher, coach purses, nike air max, ray ban pas cher, ralph lauren uk, nike free run, nike tn

11:50 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

longchamp uk, valentino shoes, bottega veneta, louboutin, iphone 6 plus cases, instyler, nike huaraches, nike roshe run, celine handbags, mont blanc pens, iphone 6s plus cases, asics running shoes, nike air max, insanity workout, iphone 6 cases, p90x workout, soccer jerseys, soccer shoes, reebok outlet, jimmy choo outlet, nike trainers uk, chi flat iron, iphone cases, abercrombie and fitch, timberland boots, s6 case, new balance shoes, ipad cases, ralph lauren, mac cosmetics, hollister, vans outlet, baseball bats, ferragamo shoes, beats by dre, mcm handbags, iphone 6s cases, oakley, north face outlet, herve leger, nfl jerseys, hollister clothing, hermes belt, ghd hair, babyliss, lululemon, giuseppe zanotti outlet, iphone 5s cases, wedding dresses, north face outlet

11:52 PM  
Blogger oakleyses said...

pandora jewelry, moncler, marc jacobs, moncler, canada goose outlet, ugg, pandora jewelry, canada goose jackets, juicy couture outlet, moncler uk, louis vuitton, gucci, louis vuitton, canada goose outlet, canada goose uk, ray ban, converse, pandora charms, canada goose, doudoune moncler, moncler outlet, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, swarovski crystal, converse outlet, moncler, supra shoes, wedding dresses, montre pas cher, canada goose outlet, lancel, barbour uk, ugg pas cher, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, ugg uk, louis vuitton, barbour, hollister, links of london, hollister, thomas sabo, moncler, pandora uk, toms shoes, swarovski, canada goose, nike air max, coach outlet, vans, canada goose, karen millen uk, juicy couture outlet, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia

11:54 PM  
Blogger dong dong23 said...

nike outlet
ugg outlet
ugg boots
michael kors uk
tory burch outlet
adidas stan smith
oakley sunglasses
canada goose outlet
burberry outlet
ray ban sunglasses
201711.8wengdongdong

9:24 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home