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12 November 2006


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arbogast, We don't hear about the United Nations because they were already driven out of Iraq. The UN mission in Iraq was targeted very specifically in the early days of the insurgency, one of their top men was killed in a bombing.

As with so much about this war, if the U.S. had done it early on, it might have worked. At least in the sense that people would now be blaming the UN for the civil war in Iraq rather than the Bush administration. Right now though? That would require John Bolton persuading the member nations of the UN to take over responsibility for a civil war in Iraq.

I tend to think the way out involves cutting deals with Iran, Syria and Turkey. The US normalize relations with the first two, and pays off Turkey, in exchange Syria takes over security in the West, Iran takes over in the Southeast, Turkey takes over in the north, the US leaves enough mercenaries in Baghdad to keep the nominal government alive, then gets the hell out.

This means at minimum the Kurds are going to get violently put down, Iran is going to come out of this as the clear winner, and the US has to do an embarrassing about face on Syria. Screwing over the Kurds is nothing new for the US, Iran's already the clear winner, and America would benefit from having the Syrian intelligence services on side when they get back to fighting Al Queda.


Not that there's any trust to be put in the ISG - who knows what half-Bakered recommendations or cheap bandaids they'll come up with - but Bush Secundus has a history of being bailed out of trouble by Daddy and his friends. His oil companies, his baseball team, his DUI's and coke problems ... all of them fixed by the grownups, leaving him free for further adventures.

It will be interesting to see his reaction now that the bad boy has the indisputable upper hand. His longterm track record says he'll roll over and obey. But now that he has his own gang, his new buddies - the neocons, Cheney, Rove et. al. - it may be his best chance to give the final finger to the old man.

An interesting psychodrama, for sure, but one that is unlikely to affect affairs in Iraq much. As so many have pointed out here, the actors in the Mideast have broken from the US script to take affairs in hand for themselves - regardless of our blathering about "what they have to do." Do as we say or what? We'll leave them alone with a civil war and insurrection? HAHAHAHA!!!


Grimgrin, don't you realize that what you have described is more of the same?

It is a unilateral solution: The US normalize relations with the first two, and pays off Turkey, in exchange Syria takes over security in the West, Iran takes over in the Southeast, Turkey takes over in the north, the US leaves enough mercenaries in Baghdad to keep the nominal government alive, then gets the hell out.

You want to form a mini-UN composed of the US, Iran, Syria, and Turkey...and, of course, with the US pulling the strings. Get serious.


Meanwhile, Judy Miller is back and is worried about the state of journalism, re:bloggers, among other things:


DKos has a hilarious diary up on it too.


With the greatest of respect, most pundits, and the very occasional poster here, are making the assumption that we still have a choice about what happens in Iraq and can make decisions that will affect outcomes.

I would suggest that this is untrue, except in the negative sense that our actions can make things infinitely worse for Iraq and ourselves. There are simply no good choices.

Grimgrin's solution is about the only option that makes sense to me. For that to succeed, Bush Jr. will have to be muzzled and kept on a short leash. Bolten must be removed. AIPAC and Israel will have to be shown the door. We will then have to engage in serious and professional diplomacy with Syria, Iran, Turkey and the U.N. in a constructive manner not seen since the end of the cold war. There must be a major reduction in military spending. A stake must be placed through the heart of the PNAC as well, after which we can begin a sober debate about what America's priorities and vision should be. Where should America be in 50 years? What should it look like?

If these things do not come to pass, I believe there is a real chance America will disintegrate within about five years because we are simply not concentrating on what needs to be done at home. If we bomb Iran, or we have a 1918 style Birdflu pandemic, or the American Economy melts down, Iraq will look like a sideshow.


arbogast, I probably should have made it clearer, but when I said 'get the hell out' I understood it to mean that the US would be ceding any influence over Iraq to Syria, Iran and Turkey. The US would not be pulling any strings, it'd be attempting to cut them altogether.


Colonel Lang: What do you suggest has a chance of success?

How do we at least mitigate the disaster? I understand your skepticism regarding the "decider" but simply accepting the disastrous status quo is untenable. We simply have no other moral choice but to try and make it work while we have young men dieing in our name.

My hope is that Dubya will will attempt to salvage his reputation by "going to China" in the form of Iran, but I am not hopeful that the present administration would be able to pull it off.

Generally, impeachment is a distraction that solves no problem, but in this case, if he will not change course, out of pure stubborness, than he ought to be impeached, and I think the American people would support it.

I also wish that our General Staff and civilian leadership had a tradition of resigning in protest rather than lieing on command and writing "I told him so" books later.

If our efforts are worth the life of a single soldier, why are they not also worth the career of a flag officer?


considering the utter silence and cowardice of democrats in congress, a case for impeachment based on the war in Iraq would not only be a distraction but dishonest. It could be about the unitary executive excesses. In that case it would be a great response. But even with a principled case like that we'd again face the problem of complicity and cowardice.
Also impeachment is counter-productive, it would give the GOP a chance to protray critique aimed at Dear Leader as part of a purely partisan campaign, aimed on avenging Clinton. No thank you. It would poison the political landscape for another 15 years. The whole process would see the GOP and Dems alike fiddling while Rome is burning.

To me there is no question Iraq is lost, and beyond US control. The problem US leaders have now, is who will be to blame for 'losing Iraq'. Bush will not accept that stigma (just think how it would look in the history books, where the deaths in Iraq will be all but a 'comma'), nor will the Democrats, who do not want to go the 2008 elections as 'weak on defense', 'weak on terror'. That means there will be some 'compromise', and the decision on how the US will deal with the failure in Iraq will not be before 2008. Until then the US politicos of both parties will continue throw good money after bad money, and lives into the bonfire, rather than face an inconvenient reality.

Amazingly, politicos like McCain still utter entertaining nonsense like 'Maliki has to understand ...' or 'the next six months will be crucial' (so were the last 30 or so months), just as if the US had any control over where Iraq will levitate to.

It could well be that the decision how to deal will not have been take out of their hands till then completely. If Bush's stance toward Iran won't change, things may go the road to war on their own steam. Now that would take things out of US hands. It will be the greatest rout for the US since the Chinese intervention in the Korean War.


Confused Ponderer, with the greatest of respect, I suggest you are falling into the trap of seeing Iraq as a domestic political problem.

You also say "Until then the US politicos of both parties will continue throw good money after bad money, and lives into the bonfire, rather than face an inconvenient reality."

What if we are overtaken by events and the Iraqis succeed in defeating us militarily on the ground?

There is this constant assumption that the U.S. military cannot be defeated militarily and forced to retreat out of Iraq that underlines all comment from both Left and right.

I believe it is important to challenge that opinion, because in my opinion, 140,000 soldiers cooped up in firebases and the Green zone, are extremely vulnerable, especialy if, as I suspect, they have been ordered to minimize casualties, and as a result are not aggressively patrolling around their bases on foot.

If bad weather makes close air support difficult or impossible and the insurgents can get some heavier weapons, there could be a tragedy. 140,000 troops are not enough.

P.S. The Democrats are spineless about Iraq because they are owned more than the Republicans by AIPAC. They will be spineless about Iran in due course.


of course Iraq is NOT a domestic political problem. My view is just that the DC crowd treats it that way.

The worst consequences for the US are not domestic but about their international standing and leverage and ultimately about their influence. The DC elites should consider whether the current US global position of dominance is at risk. I think so, and sadly, that's mostly self inflicted. I'll get back to that.

And at home ... the whole Iraq war domestically was more about propaganda but about substance. Only the dribble of bad news and lack of credible success eventually deflated the Bush crew's propaganda bubble. That is, Bush probably defeated himself by losing Iraq. In the essence, the war was made a GOP vessel to boost presidential popularity (carrier landings and other PR stunts with the troops everyone?). Now they got the bill. The degree to which foreign policy had a domestic aspect is, probably thanks to Mr. Rove, unprecedented.
The other domestic effects, the steady dribble of US casualties, and the deficit, will be painfully notable on a national scale only in a while. Till then, it's easy to fiddle, to pick up my earlier metaphor. Already the GOP is back into little plays like recess appointing Bolton again, in the knowledge he will fail, and to then be able to pin it on the Dems - accusing them of being obstructive. And a walking dead Bolton will be waited out in New York until he gets the boot. That are all domestic games with foreign policy.

And then there is the superpower complex. I have the impression that politicos of both parties still like to think that the US are, in virtual perpetuity, "the only superpower left". The people in DC seem to really believe they can steer Iraq. They are mistaken. The US' unique position after the end of the cold war aside - that dream of guaranteed US possession of virtually inviolable global dominance was just driven into a brick wall by Bush.
The US' formerly overwhelming degree of global power and leverage is quite literally a thing of the past. And worse, I doubt it can be restored. I have even greater doubts that this is fully understood in DC.

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