Monday, January 15, 2007

Blue helmets in Iraq: the Marxist Grouchist solution

Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho): Awfully decent of you to drop in today. Do you realize our army is facing disastrous defeat? What do you intend to do about it?

Chicolini (Chico): I've done it already.

Rufus T. Firefly: You've done what?

Chicolini: I've changed to the other side.

Rufus T. Firefly: So you're on the other side, eh? Well, what are you doing over here?

Chicolini: Well, the food is better over here.

"Duck Soup" - Marx Brothers (1933)
David Seaton's News Links
I can't think of a more pitiful admission of total failure than Niall Ferguson's "Marxist-Grouchist" solution for the tragedy of Iraq. Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard and formerly a great believer in America's imperial 'mission'. Where are the blue helmets supposed to come from? Muslim countries? Okay. Sunni or Shiite? Non-Muslim countries from outside the region? Okay. Who is going to risk the lives of their young people to pull America's chestnuts out of the fire? Who has enough ground troops available even if they wanted to send them? Russia? China? Don't they back Iran? This reminds me of another dialog from "Duck Soup": "Chicolini: You no unnerstan? Firefly: Of course I understand. This is so simple that an eight could understand it... Quick, get me an eight year old child!" DS
Niall Ferguson: Blue-helmet time in Iraq - Los Angeles Times
Abstract: The flaws in Bush's new plan are real enough. But they are not the flaws the Democrats want to name. The most obvious one, articulated (bravely, in view of his presidential hopes) by Sen. John McCain, is that 21,500 extra troops will not be enough. In 1920, when they crushed an insurgency, the British had about one soldier for every 23 Iraqis. Even with the projected "surge," the ratio of Iraqis to Americans will be 174 to 1. Yet even if the president were in a position to send in 215,000 extra men, I doubt they would suffice to halt the civil war. Why? Because, having been the war makers who precipitated Baghdad's descent into anarchy, U.S. forces now lack the legitimacy to be regarded as peacemakers. Bush's medium-term goal of handing over responsibility for law and order to the Iraqi security forces is also fatally flawed. Left to their own devices, those forces will become at best ineffective and at worst active participants in the civil war. For these reasons, I see only one credible alternative to Bush's strategy: U.S. forces should hand over responsibility for Iraq's security not to the Iraqis but to a new force provided by the United Nations. READ IT ALL

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