Sunday, February 10, 2008

Leaving Iraq is like leaving "Sonny's Bar"

David Seaton's News Links
Jim Hoagland has an insightful article in today's Washington Post. He makes these points:
Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama share a problem as they move deeper into the primary season: They have both issued promises to withdraw from Iraq that are impossibly vague, unrealistic or worse. They must now rectify this -- for the good of their campaigns and the nation. The Democratic candidates repeat fundamental errors already made in Iraq by President Bush. They ignore the important role that Iraqis must play in deciding the fate of their nation if there is to be any stability during and after a U.S. withdrawal.(...) Like Bush, Obama and Clinton pretend they can implement neat solutions to that torn country's complex problems. That is, to borrow a phrase from this campaign, a fairy tale.(...) Obama's effort to impeach Clinton's credibility through a backward-looking debate on Iraq -- pitting her 2002 vote vs. his 2002 speech -- has not been decisive because he has yet to show that the difference will lead to an authentically different approach to getting U.S. combat troops out of Iraq. Yes, Obama has promised to withdraw all combat troops within 16 months. Clinton promises to begin withdrawals within 60 days of her inauguration. Most significant, each has promised a hedge: to keep unspecified numbers of soldiers behind to fight terrorists or train Iraqis and, in Clinton's case, to protect the Kurds and deter Iranian aggression. But neither has been pressed in debates or news conferences as to how these residual troops would be left behind. It strains credulity to think that the Iraqis would -- after being told that they are not worth protecting or working with -- allow U.S. troops to stay on and hunt al-Qaeda & Co. or protect the huge U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. What carrots do the two Democrats propose to keep this permanently dissed ally on board instead of making any U.S. retreat a hell on Earth? Kennedy and other Democrats pillory Bush administration officials for trying to negotiate a status-of-forces agreement with the Iraqi government to replace the expiring U.N. mandate that governs the presence of foreign troops. Bush's fault is that he has waited far too long to recognize that Iraqis want to exercise sovereign rights inside their own country. He is not rushing to tie a Democratic president's hands. He responds to long-standing pressures from the Iraqis and the United Nations that he has previously ignored. Bush's cavalier rejection of the provisional Iraqi government created immediately after the U.S.-led invasion -- in favor of installing proconsul L. Paul Bremer III and a long occupation -- pushed U.S. policy onto its slope of disasters. Surviving Republican candidates overshoot the runway in the other direction, attributing to recent U.S. gains a permanence that has still to be established. The Democrats clearly will not repeat that mistake. They must also reject Bush's habit of ignoring Iraqi realities and responsibilities and pretending that the United States alone has the power to impose its will as the end point of this conflict.
In fact, thanks to Bush's immeasurable incompetence, leaving Iraq has become like the famous scene in Robert De Niro's film, "A Bronx Story", (see above) where an improbable group of Hell's Angels invade a Mafia-owned bar in the Bronx and after being politely asked to leave, begin to spray beer and insult the patrons. Chazz Palminteri the local capo mafiosi locks the door and tells them, "Now yez can't leave", whereupon every Italian extra in Hollywood comes out the back room with baseball bats and beats the bikers to a pulp.

This is more or less the position the United States finds itself in today. I think that when the American people really wake up to the fact that, with Republicans or Democrats, by now Iraq is so screwed up that "yez can't leave", they will gladly extradite Bush to The Hague to have him tried as a war criminal. DS

1 comment:

opit said...

Iraq and Iran have been central to American ambitions for a long time. Governments of both countries have been changed at American instruction in the past : this is a continuation of the 'danse macabre'.
American bases in Iraq were never authorized : yet there they are. "War" on Iraq ditto - nor occupation. Yet the US is there.
"Al Qaeda" was - and is - a tool of the CIA.
There was never any believable reason to bomb civilians all through the oil-producing regions save one : 'cowboys-and-indians' rerun in the 21st Century as a grab for oil by Texas oilmen. Drive out the natives.
It's a horrendously unbelievable scenario except that the script has been published and the actors have agreed to it !
All the while those who point out what has been published are ridiculed as 'theorists' .
Bullshit baffles brains.
Tom Engelhardt is only pointing out what many others know : the Middle East is being destroyed ( still ) to secure the main requirement for America's military supremacy - energy.
There is no accident or stupidity adequate to explain the fact that the 'game has been played according to the script'.
Read it and weep.