Here’s more on the “war against the U.S. Officer Corps.” on Salon. See my own earlier article, The Under-reported Purge Against the U.S. Officer Corps. Alas, will your favorite obscure pundit ever be credited for prescience? For raising issues YEARS before anyone else does? Sigh.
A final note on the Iraq Study Group... that it seems so badly named. I grew up thinking that a “study group” helps students to prepare for a test. But the test was already flunked, more than three years ago. And now Colin Powell has finally found the guts to start saying so openly
So the new consensus is that nothing has worked and everything in Iraq has failed? Hm. Now that even neocons and Fox News are being dragged (fingernails scraping the sand while screaming “Nooooooo!”) into facing smidgens of reality, we remain with dozens of other quandaries.
1) What to do next. Hrm. I honestly do not like any of the options on the table. What sane person would? In Comments, last posting, I offered the Kurdistan Plus Scenario. It has dozens of problems, but also many advantages. I cannot guarantee that it would survive close examination by experts. But let us be thankful that at least now experts are partly in the loop.
2) Assigning blame. You can bet that Fox et al will be screeching about how this is no time for “partisanship and blame casting.” About how we need to pull together (after the right has spent years tearing us apart). And sneering “So what’s YOUR big plan for getting out of Iraq?” Indeed, I am NOT one of those calling for impeachment or waging total Culture War. (I want to win by ENDING “culture war.”)
Still, blame can and should be cast at least this far... by saying and repeating that “past incompetence should reflect on a group’s future credibility! “If you lied and denied and evaded and invaded and rejected reality and have a perfect record of horrid decisions, it is patriotic for others to SAY SO! If only to force you to admit it and to let some other voices be heard, for a change. Past blunders are totally relevant to your qualifications for continued trust.
3) Explaining the underlying causes. I sometimes feel we live in a Bud Light commercial (“less filling!” vs “tastes great!”), in which we are reduced to screaming at each other over which explanation for our present leadership makes the most sense.
"Brainless incompetents!" vs. "No! Betraying sellouts!"
All right, I am one of the only ones saying the latter. In fact, I think that when supposedly smart people spend a trillion dollars over four years on a relentless plan that squanders our international prestige, our goodwill and ability to lead the world, our soldiers’ lives, our national readiness, national unity and dozens of other treasures, it should at least be pondered -- on the table -- whether such a relentless and PERFECT pattern might have actually been the deliberate outcome, deliberately sought, by men who were and are far more frighteningly competent than we let ourselves imagine.
(Though you guys really ought to see the “2006 in Review” strip of “Tomorrow’s World” by Tom Tomorrow. In which it is pointed out that the CIA’s longtime nickname for VP Cheney was “Edgar.” As in Edgar Bergen. All right it was before your time. But Edgar Bergen was a ventriloquist, you see, who put words in the mouth of a dummy, you see....)
And more... Although one should always read TRUTHOUT documents with a grain of salt, they nevertheless point out many things you did not know and/oir might want to pose as topics and questions you’d sure like answered. Hence I recommend a (not unbiased) glimpse at Sec/Defense nominee Robert Gates. All told, if a quarter of it is true, I’d wish for somebody else. But what can we expect?
Stefan offered a map of the U.S. showing where servicemen and women killed in Iraq were from. Definitely NOT what you’d expect. Show it to all red-county Americans who are still tempted to sneer at urban “manhood.” This is a point that needs hammering. Urban America is not only the prime target of past and future terrorism. It is the ONLY likely target. New Yorkers and Bostonians displayed tremendous courage and patriotic resourcefulness on 9/11. And they are the ones who express fearlessness toward “terror,” disapproving the decision to squander a trillion dollars and our alliances and our readiness in a panicky over-reaction to this threat.
Rather, urbanites wanted to defeat the terrorists the best possible way, by going after them carefully and professionally, but also getting on with our normal agendas... with our normal lives.
And yet, despite that (and knowing that this war is vastly stupid), it appears that Urban America has also stepped up to fight when called upon, sacrificing at least as much as the regions that claim to be the sole bastions of patriotism.
I do not belabor this point in order to insult Red State America. It is a realm of deep values and hard-working folks who have some legitimate complaints about the snooty disdain that they received from a few nasty urbanites, over the years. But none of these things excuse the outrageous over-reaction that has burgeoned during the neocon era, saddling a great nation with today’s moronic leadership and relentlessly dissing the “decadent” cityfolk who are America’s truest “salt of the Earth.”
See a fascinating and delusional piece predicting a “Saudi-Israeli Alliance” arising out of the arrival of Iran as a nuclear power:
The staggering naivete of this article appears to be based upon several suppositions that have no basis, whatsoever.
Foremost is the assumption that sunni-shiite fractiousness has any meaning above the level of the streets. That the killings and enmity in Iraq have anything to do with the long range goals of the Iranian mullahs and the Saudi-Wahabbi sheiks across the gulf.
In fact, there appears to be very little such enmity. In fact, if we take both groups at their word... and especially look at the messages contained in the textbooks that they teach to their young people... there are many common yearnings. And a common foe. The decadent West.
It is foolish to ignore that both of these oil superpowers were chief beneficiaries of this current war. Both have seen skyrocketing revenues and a much-desired growth in pan-Islamic radicalism, for example.
The textbooks tell all. They portray a war of major worldviews, with the Sunni-Shia conflict relegated to a mere tiff among brothers. I see no reason to assume this is a lie.
Follow the money. The beneficiaries. The textbooks. The genuine and passionate idealism. The common goal of driving our corrupting foreign influence.
Views like the ones contained in this article are chimeras. Utterly delusional. Complex incantations used to distract us from what is really very, very simple. And terrifying.