Friday, July 27, 2007

IRAQ

I've always had a single, insistent thought about this, even before we invaded: Iraq is not our country, and we don't belong there. Six years after the misbegotten invasion, we are trapped in a gruesomely stupid venture, and our incapacity to face the truly horrific predicament we are in is helping to keep us trapped there. When he stepped down as Secretary General of the U.N., Kofi Annan publicly proclaimed that the worst moment in his career was being unable to prevent the U.S. from going into Iraq. In a nutshell, we are now fighting to prevent what our invasion made inevitable: the spread of terrorism and Islamic extremism. Our policies have been the biggest destabilizing force in the region. What follows here is a sum total of thoughts (my own and others), ideograms, key insights, and information I have gleaned over several years of tracking and reading. --Any terrorist threat present in Iraq today was 100% created by our invasion of that country in 2003.

--GWB and Dick Cheney have never acknowledged that anything they have done has generated the chaos in Iraq or the incredible levels of anti-American sentiment now activated throughout the Muslim world.

--All of our actions are framed by Al Qaeda as evidence of the West's malevolence toward Muslims. What we have designated as the "war on terror," they describe as the "war on Islam." The jihadist propaganda machine teaches that our agenda is to invade Muslim lands and destroy Muslim culture. They don't have a hard sell. As a result of our occupation of Iraq, we are now the feared advocates of preemptive war and imperialism.

--We claim we are promoting "freedom," but Islamic fundamentalists like al Qaeda and the Taliban want to live according to 7th century Sharia law, as presented in the Koran. They want no part of our concepts of democracy, secularism, or religious and political pluralism. They are hellbent on destroying democracy, and care nothing for international law. Jihadists want to dominate the planet. "The whole idea of exporting democracy...is one of the most destabilizing things in the world today," says Michael Scheuer, a form chief of the CIA's bin Laden unit.

--The invasion of Iraq has not brought us anything in terms of fighting terrorism. Quite the reverse: it has furthered bin Laden's goal of inciting the Islamic world to fight against us and to persuade Muslims that Islam and the West are at war. What was previously a fringe movement has now metastasized into a full-fledged, incurable threat. Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's chief deputy, wrote in 2003 about us: "If they withdraw they will lose everything, and if they stay they will bleed to death." No wonder Congress can't figure it out.

--GWB will never admit defeat, even if his desperate need to "win" does the world in. He will not pull out before his term ends. His only exit strategy is to exit himself out of the presidency: drag things out, delay recognition of defeat, hand the problem over to someone else. Blame the Democratic Congress for the failure, and if that doesn't work, the Iraqi government. You have to wonder whether he is lying to the American public when he says we can win, or just to himself. Or does he actually believe his own lies? Try figuring that one out!

--Iraq never did pose a direct threat to the U.S., and now, after all this war and death and obscene expenditure, we are back to where we started six years ago. So put on your pearls, girls, and follow the arguments to where they lead. Here are the choices:

--We can pull out our troops and watch things disintegrate, or we can keep our forces there and watch things disintegrate. We can postpone the day of reckoning, but we can't escape it.

--Then, there's all the STUFF to consider. If we withdraw our troops, we also have to take with us 24,000 Humvees, 679 Bradley vehicles, 366 MI Abrams tanks, 192 M88 Recovery vehicles, 3,282 Heavy Trucks, 912 Trailer Trucks, 60 Kiowa helicopters, 121 Apache helicopters, 293 Blackhawk helicopters, 63 Chinook helicopters. And then there is the 100 million pounds of combat gear and equipment from hundreds of outposts, supply depots, fuel centers, and ammunition-storage facilities. Better get out of the way!

--"Nothing in excess" were the words engraved above the temple of Apollo at Delphi.

--If we leave, there is much fear of the ensuing blood bath, civil war, terrorist haven, failed state, etc. But this "aftermath" of our leaving is already happening, and nothing we can do will prevent it.

--The war was a horrible mistake. Now that we know this for sure, continuing it becomes something much worse than a mistake. We spend a lot of energy trying not to see what is staring us in the face. Accepting the loss and the pain may be the precondition for any significant change.

--So I agree with Alice Walker. Even if there is nothing you can do personally to stop the war, it's important to have awareness of what has happened. When asked about whether finding more things to weep about wouldn't be likely to make one even more depressed, she answered: "Have the courage to be more depressed. In a world like this, where we are--as Americans anyway--paying for so much suffering, who wants to be Little Miss Sunshine? It's scary."

--Today's headline by Arianna Huffington on her blog, the HuffingtonPost: "Bush sets the table for September: Who You Gonna Believe, Petraeus or Your Own Eyes? Finally, a question that is easy to answer.

1 comment:

colleen said...

I'm heartsick and repulsed by it all. Will there be any justice?