George W. Bush often seems proud that he doesn’t read much. Nonetheless, he expects "all Americans" to read a 35 page document explaining how we are going to fix Iraq.
Iraq is getting "fixed" all right, but the important question is for whom. No matter how you slice it, doesn’t appear to be the Iraqis. In nearly three years, there has been too much death, destruction, torture, fake news planted by fake journalists in a fake free media in Iraq. A fake global coalition for fake free elections for fake prime ministers and presidents.
This administration brings to mind a rogue veterinarian, who arrives abruptly at the front door with a black bag and announces "The neutering begins now!"
Certainly, the Iraq invasion was nothing if not a bit of rough surgery. A hasty decapitation of a macho leader we once found productive and virile, but later proved uncontrollable and defiant. Bush wasn’t overly creative, just eager. Every President since 1991 had stated that sanctions on Iraq were not going to be lifted with Saddam Hussein in place.
It was about military bases, oil control and contracts, and petro-dollar insurance, none of which could have been ours with Saddam in place.
Neuter Iraq, and neuter the Arab world as well.
We didn’t break Iraq. Ten more dead Marines on Friday, and an ever increasing death and casualty rate for Americans in Iraq indicates if anything, Iraq is as strong and tough as it ever was. What we have here is a botched castration.
Of course, it hurts. It’s ugly, and it isn’t fixable. We can’t do a Pottery Barn and buy our way out of it with more soldiers, more bribes to more corrupt politicians, more planted news stories. We can’t help by complying with the royal suggestion of the "commander in chief" that we read and place our trust in his non-strategy strategy paper.
Operation Iraqi Freedom has not brought freedom. It has, however, brought torture, Willy Pete and napalm and depleted uranium dust, slaughter, destruction of entire city blocks to find a handful crazy-mad Iraqi patriots, or nationalists, or just a guy seeking revenge for a wife or child we "unintentionally" sent on to the next world, thievery and corruption and unemployment, and constant government lying about what we have done and what we continue to do in Iraq.
Bad policy, bad logic, bad obsessions, bad president.
We see uniformed young soldiers, fresh from boot camp, tell congressmen and CNN that we need to "stay the course." We hear from uniformed officers claiming we are "winning." They speak as Stepford-style representatives of an up-or-out promotion system that rewards loyalty to political and spending agendas and treats the oath of office as a quaint formality.
We see a young Iraqi soldier, trained and sheltered by the occupier, blurt out to Mr. Bush, "I like you!"
Meanwhile, soldiers, Marines and generals who hint what is actually going on in Iraq are both publicly and privately targeted with institutional slander.
None of this is new. Modern states with their presidents will have their wars, generally waged for the same reasons that kings and despots have always waged wars — those old sins of lust, greed, pride, sloth and envy.
We can leave. We should leave, quickly and straightforwardly. It isn’t necessary to even announce a timeline, as that in itself seems to frighten an increasingly rabbit-like George W. Bush.
Pack up and go, pull out, evaporate our presence in Iraq like a puddle in the hot sun.
Nir Rosen has it right. Here’s what will happen when we leave. Rosen is simple and honest where our president and his advisors pose, prevaricate and publish position papers.
Will the Kurds secede? Rosen says they already have, in practical terms. Will we see secular democracies in Iraq? No, but it isn’t clear that Bush and company ever wanted that. We wanted a U.S. friendly government in Iraq. If we leave Iraq now, before we completely infuriate the security-craving Sunni population, we may eventually have not one but three friendly governments.
We will have the Kurds, because we made their independence possible, and because our friends the Israelis have Kurdish politics under close supervision. The Shia, already silent on American abuses in Iraq, will need our backing to fend off Iranian religious interference and political pressure. Shia follow particular religious leaders, unlike the Sunni who feel each Muslim’s direct understanding of the Koran is sufficient. This makes Shia concerns at once religious and political, and they will prove cantankerously independent of the Iranian mullahs.
The Sunnis, proud and strong but today militarily and economically emasculated may in fact someday be a friend to the United States. Of all Iraqi ethnicities, many Sunni in central Iraq at one time actually liked Americans, and admired America. The most educated, industrialized and secularized of Iraqis, they once found a kindred spirit in the Americans they happened to meet.
Viewed this way, leaving immediately becomes an imperialistic success. Go with that, Mr. Bush and be a hero.
Karen Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., [send her mail] a retired USAF lieutenant colonel, who spent her final four and a half years in uniform working at the Pentagon’s Near East/South Asia bureau. She lives with her freedom-loving family in the Shenandoah Valley, and among other things, has written on defense issues with a libertarian perspective for militaryweek.com, hosts the call-in radio show American Forum on Saturday nights, and blogs occasionally for Huffingtonpost.com.