Surge of Nonsense
One way to show progress in reducing sectarian violence in Iraq is to change your definitions. You know, the statistics leg of the “lies, damned lies and statistics” triad. So the first way you get such violence down is to classify sectarian deaths by the direction the bullet enters the body: from the back of the head, it gets counted, but from the front, it’s merely a criminal act so doesn’t count. Car bombs also no longer count. Very convenient.
Finally, whatever reduction might actually have happened has to be attributed to the ethnic cleansing that’s happened in most of the country. The Iraqi refugee count is up around 2.2 million and increasing about 60,000 per month. Internally displaced, about 2 million. BBC interviewed Iraqis in Baghdad a few days ago asking about security. One man said it had improved, but then mentioned that he couldn’t go to his house just across the Tigris River and only a few miles away because he’d be killed. It’s positively shameless how little America has done for those millions it has caused to be driven from their homes.
In a recent poll, seventy-nine percent of Iraqis said they wanted US troops to leave. Fifty-seven percent, up from 51% six months ago, approve of attacks on Americans. Of Sunnis, who make up about 20% of the population, 93% think it’s ok to kill Americans. It’s simply incomprehensible how staying in Iraq can be justified in light of those numbers.
But, of course, Bush hardly needs rationality to justify his bloody policies. All he can see is their oil, which by the way, went over $80/barrel recently, and his already fatally flawed legacy. He figures if he can wait out the war till the end of his term, someone else will get to clean up after his mess.
However, the Democrats, it seems, also want the war to continue till he exits so they can have him, and the disasters left in his wake, to campaign against. They are frantically grasping for ways to capitulate to mister 30%. Any excuse will do to avoid stopping the war. Two-thirds of the American people and something like 90% of their own party, want them to bring the troops home now, but they just can’t bring themselves to actually take a stand. As a result, public approval of congress is even lower than America’s somewhere-a-village-has-lost-its-idiot president.
That is no mean feat, only the Democrats could manage that one. They moan and whine and snivel that they can’t stop the war because they don’t have the votes to stop a filibuster or override a presidential veto. This is totally irrelevant bullshit. If the Republicans are stupid enough to want to wage a real filibuster against a war authorization bill that requires the troops be brought home, let them. Let them talk endlessly about the need to maintain a war which a great majority of Americans want to be ended.
If Bush vetoes a bill that requires withdrawal, then they could just send it back until he has no option but signing. Ah, but they’ll be accused of not supporting the troops. This is numbskullism at its finest: to support the troops in a conflict they never should’ve been in in the first place by keeping them in harm’s way. The only way to support the troops is to get them out.
Nevertheless, to the Democrats, who lost their backbones eons ago, it makes perfect sense to kowtow to the worst president in history by enabling the continuance of a war that will cause the deaths of another 1000 of so Americans before Bush leaves office. All for supposed political advantage. Never mind that that policy has already brought them dismal approval ratings. Just like Bush they are incapable of giving up on failure, they are determined to ring the last ounce of disaster from it.
Anyway, hardly anyone in congress is actually talking about leaving Iraq, only pulling out combat troops, which make up less than half of military personnel on the scene. No one, it seems, is even mentioning the immense permanent bases the US has established there and intends to maintain indefinitely. They’ll be training Iraqis and going after Al Qaida and dying the same as now. When nearly 60% of a population want to kill you, they will find a way.
So what happens if/when the US leaves? For certain, it’ll be a mess, but I believe, possibly after a six month to a year transition, it’ll be less of a mess than if occupying troops stay. With rare exceptions, the different ethnic groups have been segregated. They will have their own mini-states, some run by warlords or whatever. Shiites will fight other Shiites for domination of their part of the country.
I can’t see either group invading the other’s territory; both sides are heavily armed and capable of defending themselves. There will be lots of bloody clashes, but the groups will mostly stay in the safety of their own enclaves. There may be a national government but it will be a powerless fiction – like the Somali ‘government’ which has to meet in a neighboring country because its own land is too unsafe.
Iraq will essentially be a failed state for at least ten to twenty years: possibly, once animosity abates, the two groups will be ready to coexist again. There are still a few mixed neighborhoods in Baghdad and large numbers of families who are mixed, so reconciliation is not inconceivable.
Meanwhile, Bush is preparing to bomb Iran, or give Israel the go-ahead to act as proxy: a potential catastrophe of the highest order. Meanwhile, impeachment, the only thing that might teach him a little humility and enforce a bit of caution in his maniacal ways, is off the table thanks to the Democrat’s victory-through-spinelessness strategy. If Bush attacks Iran I will consider Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic party that elected her as Speaker of the House of Representatives responsible. They have made it clear that he can act with impunity, that no matter how reprehensible his actions, he will not be held to account. Once again a political calculation – waiting out his presidency – that could have untold consequences.
I am not optimistic.