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Friday, August 31, 2007

Iraq is Over

The Iraq war would pay for itself. Paul Wolfowitz told us that, not once, but twice. In February of 2003, he told the House Budget Committee, "[Iraq's] got already, I believe, on the order of $15 billion to $20 billion a year in oil exports, which can finally -- might finally be turned to a good use instead of building Saddam's palaces. It has one of the most valuable undeveloped sources of natural resources in the world. And let me emphasize, if we liberate Iraq those resources will belong to the Iraqi people, that they will be able to develop them and borrow against them."

Then, in March, he told Congress, "The oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years. Now, there are a lot of claims on that money, but... We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon."

Which really makes this story a little perplexing:

Voice of America:

A U.S. newspaper reports that President Bush will ask for up to $50 billion in additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq.

The Washington Post says the administration will request the additional funds after presentation of a long-awaited report on the state of the war in Iraq in mid-September.

The new money would be in addition to the $460 billion asked for in the 2008 budget, and the $147 billion included in a pending supplemental bill to fund the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.


For a war that was going to pay for itself, this thing is getting awfully pricey. At the risk of sounding like pretty much anyone's mom, does Bush think we're made out of money? As much as Bush and the neocons want to stay in Iraq until the lights go out on the universe, it's clear that we can't afford it. Not only are we running out of money, we're getting tight on personnel. The big surge is running out of steam. And, as it turns out, the big surge had very little bang for the buck.

BBC News:

Iraq has managed to reach only three out of 18 progress benchmarks set by the US, a draft of a key report seen by the Washington Post newspaper says.

The reported findings of the Government Accountability Office - a Congressional watchdog - contrast with a White House study saying eight goals have been met.


According to AP, "The State Department, Pentagon and White House dispute some GAO findings, including the conclusion that Iraq has only partially met tests involving its budget process and legislation dealing with semiautonomous regions in the large, multiethnic country, two officials said."

That should be read as "The White House, White House, and White House dispute some GAO findings..." The idea that State is independent is laughable and the Pentagon hasn't been wasting a lot of time on original thought. Despite a big PR campaign to convince us that Iraq is on the verge of become a model to all nations, Iraq is as big a hellhole as it's ever been. According to an anonymous journalist at McClatchy's Baghdad Bureau, "All the troops in Baghdad couldn't provide security for the residents for one day.. just one day. Not a week... Not a month ... But 12 + 12 hours. And if you have read or heard about such a day believe me it didn't exist."

Allow me to add that most iraqi journalists are anonymous -- it's safer that way. Iraqis practicing journalism tend to get assassinated. That's how "safe" Iraq is now.

Iraq is a failed state brought about by our failed war. That the war would fail to make positive changes should've been entirely predictable. This isn't the first time I've pointed out that operating as if your lies are true is an invitation to disaster.

We have an option. The White House doesn't like it, because it'll make this administration the administration that "lost" the war -- as if it weren't doomed to fail from the gitgo. We are under absolutely no obligation to stay in Iraq.

Go through the 2002 Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq, check off the "whereas" points, and see which are no longer true and which were never true. Iraq's obviously not trying to impede weapons inspectors, there are no WMD, Iraq poses no threat to anyone (it can't even threaten armed groups within its own borders), Iraq's violations of UN resolutions is a moot point -- that government no longer exists, Iraq's in no position to attack the US, al Qaeda in Iraq is (despite BS from the administration) a non-player, etc., etc. etc.

We, by Bush's and that Congress's own measure, are done. In an extremely legal and technical sense, we won. It's over. Time to pack it in and go home.

There's a plan.

Center for American Progress:

A phased military redeployment from Iraq over the next 10 to 12 months would begin extracting U.S. troops from Iraq's internal conflicts immediately and would be completed by the end of 2008. During this timeframe, the military will not replace outgoing troops as they rotate home at the end of their tours and will draw down force and equipment levels gradually, at a pace similar to previous rotations conducted by our military over the past four years. According to a U.S. military official in Baghdad involved in planning, a withdrawal could take place safely in this time period.


The Center's full report on withdrawal is here. It's time to hang it up. This is a war still in search of a reason for being. It's an expensive boondoggle. It's cost us thousands of american lives and hundreds of thousands of iraqi lives. We've accomplished everything we set out to accomplish (mostly because none of the "problems" we set out to fix proved to exist).

As things are now, we're accomplishing nothing. We're just going around in circles, putting out small fires in a burned out landscape. It's over and it was over before we ever started. Seriously, there's no good reason to keep pouring blood and money and resources down this rathole. Staying serves no purpose.

--Wisco

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