Saturday, September 29, 2007

We Are Never Leaving Iraq

The Iraq War remains vastly unpopular in this country, but it still remains largely detached from Americans. Most voters only vaguely assumed things would be over with the Democratic turnaround in the 2006 midterms, but the sad truth is that we cannot disengage ourselves from this terrible war while Bush and Cheney are still in the White House.

Some of us, however - perhaps in our more cynical and pessimistic moments - share a darker impulse in the back of our minds. We are never leaving Iraq. We are never leaving. For me, it was the day when the design plans for the new American, ahem, "embassy" in Baghdad surfaced online for a day. The size and scale of the compound (the size of the Vatican), as well as its resources and personnel, just left me sinking into despair. And then you add in the 14 permament bases scattered throughout the country, including a new one only four miles from the Iran-Iraq border.

But at least the Democrats will change course! They'll end the war, surely! Right?

Well...don't count on it.

You probably don't want to read this article from the NY Times. And you really don't want to read about this week's debate in New Hampshire, where none of the major Presidential candidates would commit to ending the war during their first term. And you really, really don't want to read this essay from the SF Chronicle, explaining why the Dems will never get us out. Just think about that for a moment, and let that sink in. We'll still be fighting a war in Iraq in the year 2013.

Oh, and by the way, there's going to be a new war with Iran. Yeah, the "shock and awe" scam all over again. I'm sure that will go nicely. You didn't really want to send your kids to college, anyway.

I honestly don't think this is something that we as citizens, and especially those in the peace movement, have faced up to. We're arguing with the Congress, but there's a basic assumption that the midterms settled the matter, and it's just a matter of time. Forget that. We're playing through 2002 all over again.

Here, I'll post a segment from the end of Carolyn Lochhead's piece in the SF Chronicle. Get your damned fingers out of your ears, truth seekers - before the machine grinds us all into dust.

7 reasons Democrats cannot end the war in Iraq

1. Lack of votes: Democrats have 50 anti-war votes in the Senate. They need 60 to overcome Republican filibusters that have blocked every proposal to change the U.S. mission. Even if they cleared that hurdle, they lack the two-thirds majorities in the House and the Senate to overcome a presidential veto.

2. Public uncertainty: Two-thirds of the public want to leave Iraq, but that majority is unsure how and when to do so. Politicians also are wary that the public mood could shift.

3. Strategic uncertainty: No one knows what would happen if U.S. troops pull back, and the potential for bad outcomes is high no matter what the United States does.

4. Blame game: Democrats are afraid that if there is a withdrawal and Iraq spirals out of control, they will be blamed for losing a war that might have been won and will be held responsible for any bad consequences in the Middle East.

5. Lack of bipartisanship: Bipartisanship does not serve either party's political interest. Agreement blurs partisan distinctions, makes Democrats look like they are capitulating and forces Republicans to countenance an American defeat.

6. Guilt: Many Democrats believe the United States, having invaded Iraq, bears responsibility for stabilizing it.

7. The Constitution: If the United States were a parliamentary democracy, the Bush administration would have been replaced last November. But under the Constitution, the president is commander in chief, and Congress' only tool is to cut off funds for the war, which it can't do because there are not enough votes.


fatherkrishna said...

Stunning post... Yet somewhat depressing. The fact that sons and daughters of US (and UK) citizens are dying to maintain this farce, whilst the 'commander in chief' - Vietnam draft dodger - plays out his term on the golf course is outrageous.

The war machine is necessary to take away attention from damning domestic policy and accountability of failure.

The US (and UK) are not too far away from one party states, the democratic process is fast becoming an illusion.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Well, that was fast. I just posted that a few minutes ago.

For the record, I didn't intend for this blog to become ensnared in politics. It's just that the times we live in require it. I can't stay silent.

Which, of course, turns the title of this humble blog from campy and silly to something more menacing.