Wednesday, December 13, 2006

THE NEW WAY FORWARD = OCCUPATION

Bill Bennett was on The Today Show this morning, speaking about Iraq. Matt Lauer made mention of Bennett's remarks concerning the Iraq Study Group and how he had characterized them, and I was taken by the fact that Bennett's characterization matched Bennett to to Tee. I believe his words were that the Iraq Study Group was the most self-righteous and smug group he had ever heard. Had I been Matt Lauer, I would have suggested that Mr. Bennett should take a look in the mirror were he looking for self-righteous and smug. But that is all a digression to the more important point: We are never leaving Iraq.

Look, let's be honest: the Conventional War with the Iraqi military is long over and we won that. We destroyed the Iraqi military almost without a thought. The Conventional War which our soldiers fought was a resounding success, never mind the legality of it. But we have managed to make a complete hash of the Occupation, for that is what we are in now. We are Occupiers.

I've written about this once before, and others more knowledgeable and more erudite have also written about this, but the conventional consensus persists in calling our Occupation of Iraq a War. And as Bill Bennett pointed out this morning, then the terms used are victory or defeat. We must win the War. The problem is, we have already won the War; but we have lost the Occupation. Which brings me to the title. The only way Bush can appear as anything other than the completely incompetent CIC is by continuing to call what we are in in Iraq a War, because Wars end, and they usually end with a victor. So Bush and the Neocons continue to call our involvement in it War. The only War going on in Iraq is the Civil War there; we are stuck in the middle of it!

We are occupiers. Let's face it; that's what we're doing there. Occupation, in and of itself, is not a good or bad thing; after all, we occupied Germany and Japan after WWII and still have bases in both of those nations because of our occupation. Our relations with both countries are overall good, though starined now since we don't seem to have any sense of restraint anymore. But what we have done in Iraq is quite simply criminal. First, we invaded on false pretenses, then we ignored the necessary infrastructure needed for occupation. And here's where Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bremer, Senor, and all the rest prove how criminal they are. Not a single one of them thought that there may be more to taking over a nation than just winning a conventional war. Not a single one of them looked back in history just two generations old and saw what was necessary to solidify the gains made by the allies in defeating Germany and Japan.

History shows that to maintain order, the US and its allies did not disband the infrastructure of Germany and Japan. We did not tear up the institutions of those societies, leaving a vaccuum. But Bush and his cadre dont' really study anything. For Bush, this was always just an exercise in one-upmanship. There was never any threat from Iraq. Bush Jr. just wanted to play leader, just like he played at everything else. And once the initial euphoria of showing what a great leader was over, he lost interest in the hard work necessary to hold Iraq together. Just as he lost interest in everything else he's ever done. Just as he's lost interest in rebuilding New Orleans. And the only reason he is now even considering any changes in Iraq policy is because for the first time someone (the American Voters, six years too late) is holding him responsible, something no one has ever done to him before.

But there will be no change in policy or the change in policy will be to send more troops because that would be an admission that we did something wrong. No; Bush will state when he finally talks to us that we need to chart a new course which will be pretty much the old course. We will stand down when the Iraqis stand up. We must win this thing and we will win this thing, if only we persevere. And he's right to a certain extent. If we stay there for 20, 30 years or more, Iraq will become stable again. Just like Vietnam is stable again. And he'll feel he's vindicated, because to him what's improtant is not how many US soldiers died, not how many Iraqis died, not how much treasure we spent prosecuting this illegal war, not what it's done to the country and our civil liberties: No; what matters to him is his reputation. He is so wrapped up in himself, that he actually believes that what is best for him is best for the country. He has become what Richard Nixon was accused of: an Imperial President of the first magnitude. He does not do the country's bidding; the country does his. But the truth is the Emperor has no clothes (or thoughts, for that matter).

A final question that needs to be asked: Just how many lives, how much of our country, how much treasure are we willing to sacrifice for George Bush to not feel as though he failed? How much are we willing to scarifice for the continued Occupation of Iraq?

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