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Thursday, August 03, 2006

'Stay the Course' is not a Strategy

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The world's eyes are on the Israel/Lebanon conflict, so much so that other events in the world (other than Mel Gibson's DUI) seem to be happening in the background.

The war in Iraq Is part of that background noise. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has agreed to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding Iraq policies (or the apparent lack thereof). ThinkProgress.org points out that a lot has happened since the SecDef last testified in February.


It looks like Rummie's testifying now. He doesn't seem to be explaining why 'stay the course' is a good idea or what course, exactly, we're supposed to be staying. Truthfully, I think a better nautical term for the SecDef and Iraq policy would be 'adrift'.

The BBC reports:

Civil war is a more likely outcome in Iraq than democracy, Britain's outgoing ambassador in Baghdad has warned Tony Blair in a confidential memo.

William Patey, who left the Iraqi capital last week, also predicted the break-up of Iraq along ethnic lines.

He did also say that "the position is not hopeless" - but said it would be "messy" for five to 10 years.

Mr Blair said the violence was designed to put extremists in charge rather than leaders committed to democracy.

"What should our response be? However difficult it is, stay the course, stand up for those people who want democracy, stand up for those people who are fighting sectarianism, stand up for a different vision of the Middle East based on democracy, liberty, the rule of law," he told reporters.

The Foreign Office said it did not comment on leaked documents but added that Iraqi security forces were getting more capable every day.


Agence France Press reports:

Troops loyal to the embattled Iraqi government have fought intense gunbattles on the outskirts of Baghdad, as their US and British allies raised the spectre of civil war.

Fighting continued into Wednesday night after a day of violence in which dozens were killed -- including 16 mostly young civilians who died in a double bomb attack on a football pitch -- as insurgents targeted police positions.

President Jalal Talabani painted an optimistic picture of his government's beefed-up security strategy, predicting that homegrown police and army units would be ready to take charge right across Iraq by the end of the year.

But officials from the United States and Britain -- who between them have 137,000 troops in country supporting the government -- warned that violence between Sunni and Shiite factions posed a serious threat to Iraq's future.


I ask the question a lot, but just how bad do you have to suck to take Saddam Hussein's Iraq and make it even worse? Is it possible that somewhere - maybe in a psychiatric ward or home for the mentally helpless - there's someone who could do a worse job than Rummie?

I mean, geez, the guy had a plan for what was basically a coup, but stopped planning once the leader was deposed. This is the utopian 'and then history ends' thinking that has been a hallmark of the neocons; if you do the right things in the middle east, everything will be perfect and happy for ever and ever.

We live in a world that reacts and changes. Rummie and the neocons think they live in a world that's static and posable. We need people who are willing to live in the real world.

--Wisco

4 comments:

Dave Greten said...

I love the pretty language these politicians use when trying to convince other people to put their lives on the line for their misadventures.

Why did the loudest Iraq War cheerleaders skirt their service during the conflicts of their time?

How can anyone draw inspiration to serve from a man with five deferments?

Adam Ierymenko said...

I think the "and then the world ends" thinking comes from several sources:

1) Francis Fukuyama (sp?) and his idiotic "end of history" thesis. Anytime someone utters this phrase, a giant booming voice from heaven should shake the ground with laughter.

2) Intelligent design, which is really just a revival of neoplatonism/medieval rationalism, posits a rational designed universe where change does not occur absent a driving intelligent force. This kind of thinking has implications that go beyond mere evolution denial, and is a big part of what I call "postmodern conservatism." (I sometimes wonder if this is a better name than "neoconservatism.")

3) As an implication of #2, postmodern conservatives believe in a fixed and unversal (designed) human nature. In particular, they believe that something like American social democracy is the natural state of humanity. Thus, they believe, when road blocks to it's formation are removed it will simply magically come into existence for the same reason that soap bubbles are round.

In the real world, things don't work that way. Life, of all other natural processes, most closely resembles a fire. It is explosive, opportunistic, chaotic, and filled with infinite variety. It will not lay down and behave for some fool quack's "model of history."

BenMerc said...

Great points, to bad they don't understand human nature, then at least some of their ideas would hold a little water. For the most part the conservatives I know are somewhat repressed on many levels, they are constantly looking for an authority figure to defer by.

Dean writes in his new book... Conservatism Today: A dysfunctional family.
He then gives a list of the current branching of the group. Although I realize there is quite a bit of cross-over with his differentiation of the sub-groups, it is an interesting break down to say the least. He has no less then ten sub-species representing the conservative movement in play. The last one listed were the Platocons, one of the branches of Straussian belief (Plato was his obsession) and is the primary classification of where a large percentile of the neo-con movement resides.

themikmik said...

Stay the course = unnecessary death, unnecessary loss of credibility for the US gov't....

(I came here from Huffpo, good blog!)