Wednesday, May 03, 2006


I haven't posted much on political issues. There are a couple of reasons for this: first there are many blogs out there, with authors much smarter than I, who write about the rotten state of the world. I can hardly compete. Second, I'm lazy. It's true. Spewing my opinions is easy in the privacy of my own home -- to back something up all I have to say is, "I think I remember someone said something on NPR", Len tends to believe me, mostly because he hears the same news, and because we have similar opinion (but not always). In a (somewhat) more public forum, I feel more compelled to back up what I say, and I am generally too lazy to do the research. Also. Too busy. But Iraq.

First I'm going to say something that will probably shock some of you who know me: I don't believe the U.S. should pull troops from Iraq. I believe if the troops were to leave now, Iraq would be much worse off than it is now, and certainly than before they invaded. Frankly, it would be immoral. Not that there is anything moral about this war. From the beginning to pressure cooker we're in now, we have had nothing but lies, exaggerations and fear-mongering; it is for this that over 2300 American soldiers have died and 14,000 have been wounded. Not to mention the Iraqi dead and wounded, for which there is not reliable count. Iraq Body Count is a place to start, but The Lancet puts the number much higher. Pulling troops out won't stop the killing of Iraqis, I think it will just get worse.

This administration never took this war seriously. It was supposed to be a video game, flowers and dancing children in the street, and then a Republican lock on all three branches of the Federal government and most of the states. Had they taken threats from the Middle East seriously, they would have stuck with Afghanistan, a country where we might actually have done some good and a war most Americans could get behind (without being lied to, anyway).

Joe Biden, Democrat from Delaware, and Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, published a piece in Monday's New York Times about what could be done in Iraq instead of pulling troops out (you might have to log in for this, the column is free, but I can send full text, if you prefer). Juan Cole, of Informed Comment, responds here and here, and has his own proposal here.

Personally, I think one of two things will happen. Bush, et al. will shrug their shoulders at Iraq and go invade Iran instead, leaving Iraq to burn up in a fireball. Or Bush and cronies will "stay the course" until 2008 and force the next President (probably a Democrat, because they always get stuck with the dirty work) to pull out and leave Iraq to burn up in a fireball. Either way, Iraq is screwed. And it is Bush's fault.

And in 2008, Bush and cronies will go back to their rocking chairs in Texas. Or hell. Whichever comes first. I don't believe in hell, but I'm willing to make an exception.


Mama Lu said...

Great post. We (as in Canada) have lost some troops in Afghanistan now, and there is some worry that there may be some pressure to pull out.

Of course our new government's stupid reaction is to stop flying the flag on the Parliament Buildings at half-mast whenever there's a death and to ban news coverage of the coffins arriving in Canada (gee, I wonder where Stephen Harper got that idea?). However, the mission is very much in line with our peace-keeping tradition (just more dangerous than any of the other places we've been). We may also be doing some good, so I think that most Canadians will want to stay the course. The troops certainly do.

Thank you so much for the comment on my blog. It's my first, and a little disconcerting to think that someone is actually reading and enjoying it. I'll try to work through the resultant writer's block.

Jerry said...

I think you're exactly right about the wisdom of pulling troops from Iraq. We broke it, we bought it.

Have you been keeping up with the whole Juan Cole/Christopher Hitchens imbroglio?

Carrot said...

I am not convinced.
I think it's a matter of: do you want chaos and civil war now, or would you prefer it later? Damned if you pull out, damned if you stay.

Of course, the whole discussion is kind of moot. I think there will be a limited pullout, reducing overall troop levels and pulling back to the mega-bases -- but those bases, and the troops in 'em, will be there for decades (which was the whole reason Commander Koo-koo Bananas stared the whole thing anyway).

OT - your "I don't believe in hell" comment reminds me of James Wolcott's excellent post re: hell & Moussauoi