Saturday, March 29, 2008

More on Iraq (sigh)

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States

U.S. Constitution – Article II, Section 2

The War Against Terrorism is, to the extent it is anywhere, in Afghanistan and Pakistan. We have barely begun the first day of that war. I will leave it to others to determine whether there is a sufficient threat from terrorism to justify a commitment to fighting the War.

The War For Oil, however, continues apace. We went into Iraq -- simple looting of the treasury of the country (both Iraq and the United States) by friends of Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld aside -- because we could not risk having a person as unstable as Sadman Insane sitting on so much of Our Oil.

Since the United States would have always needed to be in Iraq when Saddam Hussein died, in order to regulate the transition into the post-Saddam world, Cheney (rightly in this view) thought to accelerate the end game. Our unilateral invasion also enabled the United States to cut the French, Germans and Russians out of Iraq for awhile.

However, for whatever reason, since Cheney and Rumsfeld could not sell their honest motives to the public (maybe they might have if they tried, but never mind), the United States had to go into Iraq under false pretenses. Amongst other falsehoods, we had to pretend to care about the people of Iraq. Only, we didn’t actually know anything about the people of Iraq. Naturally, we wound up botching the transition.

However, the world has changed, and the United States cannot leave Iraq.

Bush/ Cheney/ Rumsfeld have not stabilized post-Saddam Iraq, and they can never stabilize it to the point where it is strong enough to stand on its own. Which means that we will be there for a mighty long time to come.

Because after we leave, Iraq will not, as every else seems to think (i) pick themselves up by their own bootstraps or (ii) naturally break into its three (3) component parts.

If the United States is unwilling to keep order in Iraq (which we basically guaranteed to the world we would do), Iran, Turkey, and whoever Saudi Arabia finances will roll into Iraq to fill the void.

Or maybe China, Russia, India or some combination thereof will decide to create a New World Order.

Once opinions about Cheney have cooled down, one of the great questions will be whether Cheney understood the accelerated curve by which China and India was advancing. Whether or not emerging nations, and their need for oil, played a part in Cheney’s calculations about going into Iraq.

Myself. I think Cheney only cares about the money. For a guy like Cheney, caring about your country is a fool’s game. Caring about democracy and freedom is even worse -- a game for girly men. Doesn’t mean Cheney was wrong to go into Iraq though. It only means that the few people who had countervailing power were wrong to let him slip off the leash. You can count those men on one hand.


One of those men with the power and moral authority to rein in Cheney was John McCain. He squandered it. Sure he spoke up, to Oprah and to the television cameras. But he never spoke up when it countered. And the reason he squandered his power and authority, the reason he refused to speak, I submit, is because John McCain believes in the Divine Right of American Presidents. He believes in the notion, that despite what George Washington said, we elect an American King every four years, and that King must be served.

Or to put it less dramatically, John McCain believes that the President is the Commander In Chief over everyone. Except that is not what the Constitution actually says. Whether the American people will choose to elect King John to take us anywhere he cares to go remains to be seen.

I digress.


We will "win" in the Middle East when we solve the energy crisis in a way that does not destroy our planet, and on terms that convince China that it does not need to be in the region itself. That modest goal can take 25 years. We can not leave Iraq until that moment, at the earliest.

If we define "win" in a less cynical manner, in a manner like John McCain defines it, in terms of national character -- or if we define "win" in a manner that the neo-cons define it -- including such goals like democracy or even self-determination, or even military balance of power, or having anything to do with the state of Israel -- we will be in Iraq until the end of days.

If we leave Iraq now, we cede not only the oil, which can be replaced, however painfully, by coal, but a critical component of our power to control events in the 21st century world.

What's that you say -- we already ceded our power when the Bush Administration asked China to pay directly for this war, and asked all the Mid-Eastern caliphates to pay indirectly for this war by buying up our financial institutions?

Certainly some damage to the United States has occurred. Are we doomed forever? We worried about the same thing in 1975. We recovered.

Relative power, that is. Other things were gained and lost in the transition from pre-1973 power to post-1980 power.

Was it worth it?

I'll leave that discussion for another 100 years of the blog wars.