February 26, 2006

Endless War

We are not "spreading democracy" in Iraq, and that was only one of the many fig leaves used to camouflage other goals. But we are most certainly spreading death and devastation:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's defense minister warned on Saturday of a "civil war" that "will never end" and said he was ready to put tanks on the streets as sectarian violence flared despite a second day of curfew in Baghdad.

Extending a traffic ban in the capital to Monday after battles around Sunni mosques and a car bomb in a holy Shi'ite city, leaders scrambled to break a round of reprisals sparked by a suspected al Qaeda bombing of a Shi'ite shrine on Wednesday.

The gravest crisis since the U.S. invasion in 2003 threatens Washington's hopes of withdrawing its 136,000 troops from Iraq.

"If there is a civil war in this country it will never end," Defense Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi, a minority Sunni Muslim in the Shi'ite-led interim government, told a news conference.

"We are ready to fill the streets with armored vehicles."
We've been told by many commentators that we couldn't leave Iraq because, if we did, it would collapse into chaos and civil war. We're still there -- and all of that is happening anyway. Our presence remains one of the major destabilizing forces, in direct opposition to the professed aim.

We might double the number of U.S. troops -- except that we can't. We don't have them. I suppose the administration might propose a draft, but I think many if not most Republicans would vehemently oppose it. The American public is already disillusioned with the Iraq disaster, and becomes more unhappy about it every day. I don't think they would stand for a draft for the fantasy of "saving Iraq," since it appears to be beyond saving at this point, at least by us. Besides, even if we instituted a draft, it would take months before more troops were trained and available.

So that leaves one course of action, the one that those of us who opposed this war before it began have been advocating for almost three years: get out. Set a definite end date for the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and get them all out in six months at the most.

Of course, it will never happen. That would be "cutting and running." That would be an admission of defeat. Instead, the administration and its supporters will go on pretending that there are just a few more corners to turn, that they can see the light in the distance even if all of those traitorous cowards can't, and they'll continue to spew all the rest of the propagandistic garbage that pollutes our public debate.

But we've lost. Because the administration never bothered to educate itself about Iraq or its history and culture, all of which would have told them this was an entirely futile enterprise, we never knew what we were doing in the deepest sense. This has been a calamity conceived in ignorance, and executed with blind stupidity. We were defeated before the first American soldier set foot in Iraq.

But we will pretend that we can still "win." Many more people will die. And all of it is for infinitely less than nothing.