Monday, June 25, 2007

I Wish I'd Been Wrong

Every time I look at the mess in Iraq, I want to scream, "I told you so." It would be so nice to have been wrong. I'd love to have been wrong. I just reread the posts I put up on this mess last October, and then again in January.

In October I said (along with a whole lot of other people) that this was a civil war, and anybody with half a working brain could see it was a civil war, and we didn't have a the chance of a plastic cat in Hell of stopping it.

In January I predicted (again, along with a lot of other people) that the surge was not going to work. Well, here we are, almost in July, and we have more soldiers in Iraq than we've had since 2005, and the carnage is increasing daily. It isn't just that we can't control it (although we can't); it's that the Iraqis can't control it, even if they wanted to. I see no evidence that they want to. Every faction is jockeying for personal power, and revenge on the other side (with the possible exception of the Kurds who are simply trying to hold their borders).

I wouldn't change a single word of either post if I wrote them again today; so I'll just suggest that you go read them again, and tell me if I wasn't right.

The worst thing about the situation is the comment I heard on NPR, from a senior U.S. military logistics officer, that if we started a pull-out today it'd take 12-15 months to get everybody out, because every single piece of equipment has to be taken apart and cleaned to get the sand and junk out, so it will pass inspection by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. That's right - every Hummer, every rifle, every walkie-talkie, has to be inspected for pests by the U.S.D.A. before we let them back into the country. I'm speechless. This is just insane. And they're going to clean the equipment while people are shooting shaped charges at them, and suicide bombers are blowing themselves up?? And how many U.S.D.A. inspectors will that take, and do we even have that many, given they way Dubya has been cutting funds for everything but the military??

Gen. Petraeus keeps saying the surge will take time to work. Gen. Petraeus knows, I'm quite sure, that the surge will never work. The purpose of the surge is to stabilize the situation so the Iraqis can negotiate an equitable government. The Iraqis don't want an equitable government; every single faction wants to be in control of the oil reserves, and is quite happy to kill everyone else to make that so. I read today that when the British pull out of Basra, they expect fighting to break out among 3 rival Shia groups; there aren't even any Sunnis in Basra, so the Shias fight each other.

We could be in Iraq until the children of today's soldiers are old enough to be inducted and shipped over to fight, and the surge still won't work. We have to get out of there.


  1. Anonymous4:05 PM

    In his wildest wet dreams, Cheney imagines that the oil laws will be passed and enforceable, regardless of the violence and/or anarchy in Iraq. He and his cohorts decreed this invasion for an insane neocon vision of the future of the Middle East compliments of US socio-political engineering at the point of a gun, with not only a Middle East we could effectively take the reins of, but also an Iraq whose fabulous, easily extracted oil reserves would flow when, where, and for whom we decreed.

    If western oil interests come away with control of the flow of that oil, then for this administration the carnage in Iraq, the casualties on all sides, and the staggering costs to American taxpayers will not have been in vain. George Bush might not like human suffering, but he also does not object to it when he has other priorities, and as Dick Cheney loves to say, it is a question of whether or not Americans have the stomach for the fight, the sick bastard.

    Anonymous David

  2. In a just world, the things Cheney has done and continues to do would catch up with him; the Hindus call it karma. I've never seen a man so arrogant. Surely the cosmic powers, if there are any, will act. Or is their action already in play, and is that why, the harder we fight in Iraq, the worse it gets?

  3. Anonymous5:17 PM

    Then there is the continuing cost of the injured. Medical science is saving wounded soldiers who would have died just a few wars ago. Is this a good thing? Is this a nightmare for the wounded and their families? I don’t know. Can you wish the person you loved had died instead of being a brain damaged, permanently physically handicapped individual? I read about one family whose adult child is brain damaged, blind, paralyzed from the neck down, and has trouble talking but is still alive. The parents have gone through their savings taking care of this child, because our government spends money training to get the soldiers over to Iraq, but somehow is only concerned in a limited way with the damaged bodies that return. And that was only one story worth of a Stephen King novel. The bill that allots money so war handicapped soldiers can furnish their homes to accommodate their handicaps, is also woefully limited. Various charities and individuals are taking up the slack.

    The civil war we appear to have initiated in Iraq, even if it might have arrived later on its own, is devastating that country. The effects will no doubt last for decades. The same thing can be said of the United States as the effects of this war show up on hospital flights and not so delayed mental trauma. Remember the Joan Baez song? “Davy died in the Koran War / don’t know what for / doesn’t matter any more.” Our government’s willingness to feed the maw of self-aggrandizement and corporate greed appears insatiable, while the benefits for veterans and the funds for the Veterans Administration are largely ignored and forgotten. We have a wall for the Vietnam War. On what will we inscribe the names of the dead from this war, an obsidian oil barrel?

  4. Anonymous7:28 AM

    "On what will we inscribe the names of the dead from this war, an obsidian oil barrel?"

    Unnervingly well put, boggart. That is precisely what the Iraq War Memorial should be.

    Anonymous David

  5. Unfortunately, I think what Cheney has done will never catch up with him - it would be nice, but I think Congress will sit on its hands, and we'll just watch things disintegrate further over the next two years.