November 20, 2006

The Painful Object of the Verb

Last week, I excerpted an article by Simon Jenkins, who wrote:
All sentences beginning, "What we should now do in Iraq ... " are devoid of meaning. We are in no position to do anything. We have no potency; that is the definition of anarchy.


[Bush and Blair] will have to stop the holier-than-thou name-calling and the pretence that they hold any cards. They will have to realise that this war has lost them all leverage in the region. They can insult and sanction and threaten. But there is nothing left for them to "do" but leave. They are no longer the subject of that mighty verb, only its painful object.
I have pointed out numerous times that we are no longer in control of events in Iraq. There is literally nothing we can do to direct a particular outcome. I note that one of the newer delusions that has taken hold among our ruling class, especially among Democrats, is that if we announce a date certain for our departure (or more accurately, a date very reluctantly approximate), such an announcement will suddenly cause Iraqis to "take responsibility" for creating a political miracle to save Iraq from the catastrophe we have created. Aside from the deeply sickening paternalism and condescension underlying this notion, given that we have been unable to dictate events for the last few years and since we are unable to do so now, why will that announcement suddenly cause the required miracle to occur? Our ruling wise men have no answer to this question, of course, nor will they acknowledge the obvious point that an announced departure will only decrease our virtually non-existent influence, contrary to their increasingly delusional hopes. So only one course remains: Get Out Now.

As a point of confirmation as to how impotent we are, consider this:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iran has invited the Iraqi and Syrian presidents to Tehran for a weekend summit with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to hash out ways to cooperate in curbing the runaway violence that has taken Iraq to the verge of civil war and threatens to spread through the region, four key lawmakers told The Associated Press on Monday.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has accepted the invitation and will fly to the Iranian capital Saturday, a close parliamentary associate said.

The Iranian diplomatic gambit appeared designed to upstage expected moves from Washington to include Syria and Iran in a wider regional effort to clamp off violence in Iraq, where more civilians have been killed in the first 20 days of November than in any other month since the AP began tallying the figures in April 2005.


"All three countries intend to hold a three-way summit among Iraq, Iran and Syria to discuss the security situation and the repercussions for stability of the region," said Ali al-Adeeb, a lawmaker of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Dawa Party and a close aide to the prime minister.
The United States and its military are now the object of widespread and constantly growing hatred throughout the Middle East, and throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds. We are also the object of derision and contempt -- and we are the object of the verb. Our complete ineffectuality would be the target of ridicule -- if only we didn't manage to murder so many people. The one thing we can do is destroy -- entire countries, and incomprehensibly huge numbers of completely innocent people. We have unforgivably confirmed that point to an absolute certainty, to the shocked astonishment of a horrified world.

Leave. For God's sake, just leave.