Thursday, September 11, 2008

Iraq Revisited

Between playing hooky and covering the election shenanigans, I realize I have not written about Iraq in a really long time. Not that the world is waiting on my opinion, of course. :-)

I am definitely NOT of the opinion that the surge has given us a victory... only a temporary truce. And I suspect that perhaps the timing of the truce has more to do with the fact that Iraq is no longer really an integrated nation. Between genocide, ethnic cleansing, terrorism, and the massive movement of refugees, the population seems to have resolved itself into homogeneous regions.

Certainly the Anbar sheiks got tired of al Qaeda's heavy hand long before the surge officially started. Thank gawd for the Awakening but I think it was pretty evident long before that the al Qaeda nutjobs were not really going to be a comfy fit for any of the ethnic groups in Iraq.

Not that the truce is bad, but please remember that we heavily armed the Kurds before the war, heavily armed the Shiites in the first years of the war, and then more recently we heavily armed the Sunni to fight al Qaeda in the West and to add a counter weight to the (now) overly powerful Shiites in the South. And what have we gotten get for our troubles? A very heavily armed nation of opposing ethnic forces, subject to various outside interests, who will eventually be fighting for control of resources.

If I were Obama I would NEVER give in to McCain's opportunistic crowing about victory in Iraq. We may be able to find a way to exit stage left in the lull of it but this war is definitely not over for the Iraqis. I am horrified about what we might be leaving in our wake.

The Republicans lied their way into Iraq (with the full throated support of their flag enshrined followers) and then lied and spun their way through it. They lied about the degree of violence and the degree of instability for years. If citizens were not actively working to ferret out the truth, they believed it was a big ol' "mission accomplished" with just a few bad insurgents causing all of the problems. I remember talking to my parent's neighbor years ago over beers and I made the mistake of saying what I thought, that Iraq was a disaster. She snapped into flag-waving-patriot-nazi mode so fast I didn't even know how to respond. "It is not, that's a lie." Allllllllrighty, then!

There is no reasonable discussion to be had on the matter with people like that, and there will be no convincing them of anything now. To them, the surge gave us victory, McCain is a hero, and anyyone who doesn't accept that is a Hate-America-First liberal. No gray areas, no common ground. Case closed. And not having learned a damn thing, those people will continue to accept anything the GOP dishes out as long as it's draped in a flag and delivered by a heavily lip-glossed Fox News anchor.

I'm just sayin'.

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