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In the Way

This isn’t going to be a very long post, but let me share some good news and some bad news. The good news is the Iraqis agree on something concerning reconciliation, and have a solution. The bad news, (at least it is to some) is this: Iraqis all agree, across sectarian lines, That their biggest barrier to reconciliation is our occupation.

The screwiness of the whole thing is encapsulated in the first two paragraphs:

Iraqis of all sectarian and ethnic groups believe that the U.S. military invasion is the primary root of the violent differences among them, and see the departure of "occupying forces" as the key to national reconciliation, according to focus groups conducted for the U.S. military last month.

That is good news, according to a military analysis of the results. At the very least, analysts optimistically concluded, the findings indicate that Iraqis hold some "shared beliefs" that may eventually allow them to surmount the divisions that have led to a civil war.

Seriously. One concern should stand out as obvious: How does one define optimism? If the shared belief is that they want you out, that they think you're getting in the way of peace and stability in their country, then shouldn't the optimism go in the other direction, that you should be optimistic that violence may go down in your absence?

But of course, these people may just be fooling themselves. It could get much worse if we leave. But if people believe, across the board, that our occupation isn't helping them (though some leaders benefiting from us would likely disagree) then how are we of all people going to help Iraqis reconcile?

Some see no such thing as a blown opportunity. Some would have us remain indefinitely, putting off the possibly violent point at which Iraqis hash things out for themselves. But we lost the opportunity to prove to the Iraqis that we could manage their country better than them and keep things under control. We're back to our old mistakes in Vietnam, supporting lousy, corrupt leaders, spending money like water, and grasping for signs of improvement, without properly weighing the rest of the situation.

If we look for reasons to stay, look for reasons to see success around the corner, we could convince ourselves to stay practically forever. But the fact of the matter is, most of the people in both countries want differently, and the opportunity for America to shape the endgame to our liking passed long ago.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2007 2:03 PM
Comments
Comment #241055

Stephen, you are missing the perfectly circular justification for Bush’s insistence on remaining in Iraq. We are there to help them reconcile. Our presence hinders their reconciliation. Therefore, we must remain there to help them reconcile.

It is the perfect rational for the gullible to defend the real reason for remaining in Iraq: to perpetually sustain a ready military strike force in the heart of the oil region our nation is so incredibly dependent upon. It, in Republican’s minds, presents an unspoken but all to visible threat to all Arab oil producing nations who might otherwise consider oil a bargaining chip in their U.S. relations.

Putin is already learning and adopting similar strategy, and China is no dummy, they too will recognize the potential of such a shrewd international political gambit. Only problem is, the precedent we set, may well be used against us by these other nations, as in China’s growth of influence in Mexico and S. America.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2007 4:32 PM
Comment #241056

Stephen,
Polls of Iraqis over the past few years consistently show the same results. The Iraqis do not want us in their country. They want us to leave. They want us out. The sooner, the better.

Americans want the US out of Iraq too. It’s not our country. Never was. For whatever reason, some Democrats and most Republicans do not get the message. The public has been leading the politicians on this and other issues.

The other day, Lieberman was giving a speech to the American Legion or some such group of people who were supposed to be supporters. He spouted the usual baloney, winning this and winning that, the usual Neocon lines about victory and how Iraq (somehow)contributes to national security. When he paused for applause, the supposedly sympathetic audience gave a response something like this:
Clap. Clap.


Posted by: phx8 at December 19, 2007 4:37 PM
Comment #241071

My Party may not be covering itself in glory challenging Bush, But the other Party has set the record for most filibustered bills ever in a Congress, and done it in half the time required.

This is part of the vicious cycle that keeps us In Iraq.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2007 6:10 PM
Comment #241075

A handy chart to show you the historic highs to which the Republicans have brought their new obstructionist lows.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 19, 2007 9:09 PM
Comment #241076

there is a misconception that we are protecting our oil. it is not our oil it belongs to the major oil companies and it is not to insure us of a steady supply. because the supply will continue no matter who controls the oil. an example is venezuela that now controls its own oil but there is no interuption because they are interested selling to who ever will pay. we are there to protect those oil interests not our supply of oil
we tend to make these counties out to be in control of there oil but oil co. control them as well as the policy makers in this country

Posted by: albert at December 19, 2007 9:18 PM
Comment #241093

Albert,

the supply will continue no matter who controls the oil. an example is venezuela that now controls its own oil but there is no interuption because they are interested selling to who ever will pay.

When oil *cheap* resources will drop in a soon future, these oil exporters wont hesitate to *choose* their customers, and not necessarily only on higher price basis.
Look at how Putine already use its gases exportation to keep former soviet states under its energetic (pun intended) control.

Do you believe one second middle east leaders would never resort to some economical geostrategy? They did in the past. Remember 1973 oil crisis?
Why they wont in the future again???

When everybody is addicted, dealers own all.
And nobody will say that we’re not addicted to oil…

Wake up, we’re in a world economic war. And resource is a WMD in this war as in all previous wars.

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at December 20, 2007 4:24 AM
Comment #241101

philippe, very good posting, however times have changed since 1973 if you remember it wasn’t too long after oil dropped to 8.00 a barrel that we became more efficient and used alternate energy. and opec nations suffered for it, now with al quaida threatening there control they no longer have the luxury of turning off the supplies.
i believe the russian situation was over gas which moves by pipeline and which makes delivery limited leaves no competetive supplier anyway thank you for you response i even liked the “wake up” funny.

Posted by: albert at December 20, 2007 7:46 AM
Comment #241103

I think the oil angle, while relevant in a certain sense, is a red herring. The real purpose was to turn Iraq from a strategic opponent, especially as far as Israel is concerned (Israel being a fixation for many of the Neocons for complex reasons), into a client state from which we could pacify the rest of the country.

And it’s a dream that dies hard.

The real issue with these people is not that they’re especially greedy. If they were, they might see Iraq for the bad investment and cut their losses. Oil, I think, was secondary to crushing a potential power center in the Middle East. Now that we’ve made Iran more powerful, that’s who they want to attack next.

The reality is, though, America doesn’t want to be saddled with being globocop. We’re more a peacetime nation than a wartime nation. Liberals had set up a system where the rest of the world helped keep order among themselves, but the Neocons trust neither Americans who don’t take their view, nor the rest of the world to keep order.

America, though, can’t win such a game. We’d be like those cartoon characters, who, when a dam or other container starts to leak, starts having to plug up more and more holes, with fewer and fewer fingers, toes, and noses to plug things up with.

American needs to help build arrangements of power that are self-sustaining, not try and save the world by themselves. If the Neocon years should teach us anything, it’s that strength is best used when it gathers other strength to it, rather than trying to bear the weight of the world itself alone.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 20, 2007 9:17 AM
Comment #241107

albert, the very fact that OPEC exists and meets to decide how much oil to pump and ship disproves your entire concept.

Oil is a political bargaining chip, hence the perceived need by the Bush Admin. to plant our military in the heart of oil land in perpetuity if possible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2007 9:47 AM
Comment #241178

david i can’t speak for opec’s reasons for existence but if i were an oil producer i would feel a need to protect my resources. oil companies would pump them dry and move on.i guess my point is there are more than just the sinister motives we place on these countries than we get from our self serving controlled media.

Posted by: albert at December 21, 2007 8:47 AM
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