The Inevitable End In Iraq

Joe Klein writes:

This much I can confirm: there is growing pessimism among U.S. officials about the possibility of the long-sought political deal amongst Shi'ites and Sunnis and Kurds. The current feeling is that there's no way to get the Shi'ites to relinquish any significant power.

Hoo boy! What a shocker! The Shias don't want to relinquish the power WE gave them with the drive for Purple Fingers! Um, not so much a shock. And in case people were wondering, this and this are related stories. The first:

The [Iraqi] militias hardly command the loyalty of every policeman. But police commanders warn that sectarianism has seeped thoroughly into the security apparatus, and it threatens to undermine everything McNellis and his colleagues [presumably US Army trainers] have accomplished. The professional police they desire may instead become a sharper instrument of sectarian fury.

The second, Maliki a year ago:

I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007.
Yes ready to consolidate power and to be prepared to wage the civil war against the Sunni and other groups. You see, the simple truth is, the United States has won the war in Iraq on behalf of Iran and its Shia allies in Iraq:

Iran won the war. I wonder if people understand that what the United States is fighting for in Iraq is to prop up a Shia-dominated pro-Iran, theocratic state. That we are failing at achieiving a result counter to our own national interests would be ironic if so many good people were not dying as a result of this idiotic policy.

A little over a year ago, the NYTimes wrote:

At the rate that President Bush is going, Iran will be a global superpower before too long. For all of the axis-of-evil rhetoric that has come out of the White House, the reality is that the Bush administration has done more to empower Iran than its most ambitious ayatollah could have dared to imagine. Tehran will be able to look back at the Bush years as a golden era full of boosts from America, its unlikely ally.

. . . Washington has now become dangerously dependent on the good will and constructive behavior of Shiite fundamentalist parties that Iran sheltered, aided and armed during the years that Saddam Hussein ruled Iraq. In recent weeks, neither good will nor constructive behavior has been particularly evident, and if Iran chooses to stir up further trouble to deflect diplomatic pressures on its nuclear program, it could easily do so.

There is now a real risk that Iraq, instead of being turned into an outpost of secular democracy challenging the fanatical rulers of the Islamic republic to its east, could become an Iranian-aligned fundamentalist theocracy, challenging the secular Arab regimes to its west.

Again this understated the case. I wrote in response:

It is no longer a real risk, but a virtual certainty. Is this unexpected? Is it a surprise? Were there no warnings regarding this "risk?" Well, no. The warnings were clear, timely and from people whose opinions should have commanded respect. In the September 26, 2002 Senate Armed Service Committee hearings on Iraq, the following testimony was delivered:
GEN. CLARK: [The] [p]roblem with that argument is that Iran really has had closer linkages with the terrorists in the past and still does, apparently, today, than Iraq does. So that leads you to then ask, well, what will be the impact on Iran? And that's uncertain. But it does -- if you could take these weapons out quickly, then it would cut off that potential source of supply.

SEN. CLELAND: And if you took out Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath Party, the secularist party, don't the Sunnis and the Shi'ite Muslims make up a majority of the population in Iraq, and wouldn't that give Iran a strong hand there, and we ultimately end up creating a Muslim state, even under democratic institutions?

GEN. CLARK: Yes, sir. I think that there is a substantial risk in the aftermath of the operation that we could end up with a problem which is more intractable than we have today.

One thing we're pretty clear on is that Saddam has a very effective police state apparatus. He doesn't allow challenges to his authority inside that state. When we go in there with a transitional government and a military occupation of some indefinite duration, it's also very likely that if there is an effective al Qaeda left -- and there certainly will be an effective organization of extremists -- they will pour into that country because they must compete for the Iraqi people; the Wahabees with the Sunnis, the Shi'as from Iran working with the Shi'a population. So it's not beyond consideration that we would have a radicalized state, even under a U.S. occupation in the aftermath.

It is ridiculous for anyone to discuss "surrender" dates. Surrender to who? The United States has already granted Iran the future of Iraq. Bush surrendered Iraq to Iran long ago. You want to know when? I'll tell you:

The "anti-war Left" has always understood the problem of Iraq was sectarian in nature. For example, in January 2005, this "anti-war Leftist" wrote:
Is the Iraq Election a success? The early reporting is that there is good turnout among the Shia and Kurds. Does this qualify as success? . . . This Election is simply, in my estimation, an exercise in pretty pictures. Why? Because Elections are to choose governments, not to celebrate the day. Are the people elected capable of governing Iraq at this time? Without 150,000 U.S. soldiers? Or even with them? I have been accused of gloating by people right HERE because of my focus on the continuing violence. But my focus has been on the realities of governing a land in chaos, in the midst of civil war, with 150,000 U.S. soldiers the only force with the ability to provide security. And this is 2 years after the invasion.

"People's war"? No, sectarian. Civil war. The "anti-war Left" knew about this problem from the beginning. Did the "Best and the Brightest?"

The second problem - "if Americans and Iraqis make the wrong choices" - if, Mr. Biddle?

Biddle writes:

Rapid democratization, meanwhile, could be positively harmful in Iraq. In a Maoist people's war, empowering the population via the ballot box undermines the insurgents' case that the regime is illegitimate and facilitates nonviolent resolution of the inequalities that fuel the conflict. In a communal civil war, however, rapid democratization can further polarize already antagonistic sectarian groups. In an immature polity with little history of compromise, demonizing traditional enemies is an easy -- and dangerous -- way to mobilize support from frightened voters. And as the political scientists Edward Mansfield and Jack Snyder have shown, although mature democracies rarely go to war with other democracies, emerging democracies are unusually bellicose. Political reform is critical to resolving communal wars, but only if it comes at the right time, after some sort of stable communal compromise has begun to take root.

No kidding, Mr. Biddle. But um, you do know the horse is out of the barn already don't you? That Bremer "turned over" authority to Allawi in the summer of 2004? That elections were held in January 2005? That an Iraqi Constitution was rammed through the "Iraq assembly" in the Fall of 2005? That elections were just held "ratifying" that Constitution?

About the Iraq constitution, I wrote:

The BEST result would have been a Sunni rejection of the Constitution that would have taken Iraq back to the drawing board. That result would have demonstrated to the Sunni that they indeed DO have a stake in the political process and some power to exert in that process.

THIS result demonstrates the exact opposite. Indeed, I expect that that the passage of the Constitution will make the "basic security problem in Iraq" worse -- what can Sunnis who argue for participation in the political process and abandonment of the insurgency have to offer in the way of evidence that Sunnis will have any power in that political process? Nothing. On the other hand, had the Sunni been able to reject the Constitution, they would have had a powerful argument for political participation and abandonment of the insurgency.

The result of the constitutional vote was the worst possible outcome - overwhelming Sunni rejection of the Constitution to no political effect. The divide can only worsen now.

Mr. Biddle, to write what you write in March 2006, is rather absurd. Your point would have been worthy in 2004 and 2005. But in 2006? Puhleeaze.

The Best and the Brightest? General Clark said:

BLITZER: General Clark, it would seem that whoever's responsible for this attack, this series of attacks today in Baghdad, trying to make a political statement coming on the heels -- coming on the eve, if you will, of tomorrow's expected signing of this interim constitution, trying to scare people. Is that your sense?

CLARK: Yes. And continuing to show that, despite the presence of the Americans, there is a resistance.

There is a resistance. I think our troops are doing a great job there battling it. But this is still a society that's very much at risk. There's a risk of real civil war in Iraq. And that's what we're playing with. And we knew that, or should have known that, when we went in to occupy the country.
What can explain that our "Best and Brightest," in government, academia, Media, etc., did NOT know it? I am just a poor country lawyer, and me and the other 80,000 "anti-War Left" Kossacks knew it. Why didn't they?

Yes the result of this war has been plain as day for years now. Some are afraid to face it, apparently for the sake of George Bush's feelings. History will not be kind to the "Best and the Brightest" of this generation.

That is what makes this "tough talk" laughable:

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat.

...."Certainly it [the violence] is going to pick up from their side. There is significant latent capability in Iraq, especially Iranian-sponsored capability. They can turn it up whenever they want. You can see that from the pre-positioning that's been going on and the huge stockpiles of Iranian weapons that we've turned up in the last couple of months. The relationships between Iran and groups like al-Qaida are very fluid," the official said.

....Any US decision to retaliate against Iran on its own territory could be taken only at the highest political level in Washington, the official said. But he indicated that American patience was wearing thin.

Iran is loaughing at you. You have made them the regional superpower BushCo. A bigger group of idiots could not be found.

< Tester On Reid-Feingold: Repeating GOP Talking Points | Another C.I.A. Ghost Detainee >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    I'm half waiting for Act II, (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by andgarden on Tue May 22, 2007 at 10:23:36 AM EST
    when the Saudis get into a shooting war with Iran over Iraq.

    Very Unlikely (none / 0) (#12)
    by squeaky on Tue May 22, 2007 at 01:22:47 PM EST
    They would talk to one another before shooting. Unlike our dear leader they do not believe in Bush's preemptive doctrine.

    You can't say sh*t like this BTD. (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Edger on Tue May 22, 2007 at 11:07:05 AM EST
    Jeeze. You might wake some of them up.

    Don't you know that if you keep feeding US soldiers and Iraqi civilians into the meat grinder long enough, eventually bush will be able to complete his term without ever having to admit a mistake? And bonus! Maybe the Democrats can win an election too.

    You do want to win? Don't you?

    Winning defined...

    "Things are looking better in Iraaaaaaaq. The surge is woooorrrrking..."
    Seriously, it's bordering on psychotic to believe that President Bush, a man who couldn't describe the difference between Shi'ites and Sunnis before the war, could somehow be the first commander-in-chief in the history of warfare to overcome a guerrilla insurgency without a 10-to-1 advantage and nearly four years after losing the initiative on the battlefield.
    I can hardly think of anything else that's more brazenly homicidal than encouraging the deliberate killing of more soldiers and civilians just so President George W. Bush can leave office without having to change his mind. It's like Rove grabbing a small animal and saying, "You know, I went through the trouble of capturing this small animal, I might as well rip its head off. No turning back now, yo! Whee!"

    Yup, nothing like pounding Fallujah and the (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by Militarytracy on Tue May 22, 2007 at 12:13:08 PM EST
    Sunni triangle to h*ll because you have  Coke/Alcohol fried gray matter that has only left the lizard brain alive and Sunnis are all bad, they are part of the axis of evil.  Then a visit from a totally pi$$ed off Saudi Arabia (Sunni oil friends of the lizard) now has the lizard brain fighting with itself.  In Bush's lizard fight though the only lizard left standing is Bush's.

    Iran is the Middle East's version of Germany. (none / 0) (#1)
    by Pneumatikon on Tue May 22, 2007 at 10:12:58 AM EST
    We should have been dealing with her aeons ago. So now she cleans our clock. So what? History's wheel still have centuries of turning to do. We're not going anywhere.

    Impeach Bush you morons! Christ!

    BTB (none / 0) (#3)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 22, 2007 at 11:00:08 AM EST
    Is THE one??

    BYOB Jim (none / 0) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 22, 2007 at 11:20:29 AM EST
    Yes, this one.

    You are advocating fighting for Iran's allies.


    BTD - Huh??????? (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 22, 2007 at 03:28:48 PM EST
    This was the question:

    Here's your chance. Convince me that this type of action does not embolden the terrorists and hurt endanger our military.

    And you think this is an answer??

    To steal a phrase from Youngman...

    Take your logic...... Pleaseeeeeeeee


    Well (none / 0) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed May 23, 2007 at 08:29:55 AM EST
    Sorry that you do not understand it Jim.

    A war to entrench an Iranian friendly Shia theocratic state seems to me to be the emboldening action. It seems to me that that is what endangers our military.

    But you missed the point I guess.



    BTD (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed May 23, 2007 at 06:26:00 PM EST
    Nope, I can spot a strawman.

    BTD (none / 0) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue May 22, 2007 at 11:00:51 AM EST
    wow... a double

    Is this THE ONE??

    Well A Ray of Sunshine (none / 0) (#7)
    by talex on Tue May 22, 2007 at 11:34:47 AM EST
    This much I can confirm: there is growing pessimism among U.S. officials about the possibility of the long-sought political deal amongst Shi'ites and Sunnis and Kurds. The current feeling is that there's no way to get the Shi'ites to relinquish any significant power.

    This is the important thing about this entire post.

    I loath Klein. But even he cannot help but to tell the truth once and a while.

    At we move toward fall more and more 'officials' in DC both in the WH and in both chambers are going to accept the fact that Klein brings up. And it is that wholesale realization that no political solution is possible that will ultimately get us out of Iraq.

    They have already accepted that the is no military solution. When they accept there is no political solution there are no further options. It will be game-set-match - -  bring the troops home.

    Yes. (none / 0) (#14)
    by Edger on Tue May 22, 2007 at 01:35:03 PM EST
    That veto proof majority fantasy never would have gone anywhere anyway. Better to just toss in the towel and give him all the money he wants with no strings. Right talex?

    You're wrong on only two points (none / 0) (#9)
    by fairleft on Tue May 22, 2007 at 12:30:23 PM EST
    1. Iran did not 'win' the war. Iraq is in for semi-permanent civil war until there is some sort of Lebanon-like settlement between the Shiites and Sunnis. The exceptionally powerful Saudis (and very likely the U.S as well) won't stand for a stable Iran-allied Iraq.

    2. Why do you favor no funding after March 31, 2008? Re-read what you've written and quoted and ask yourself: why not urge no funding now?

    Because I am a pragmatist (none / 0) (#10)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 22, 2007 at 12:39:35 PM EST
    But seriously, if you want to know, check the topic header War  in Iraq, where I explain myself in over 30 posts.

    So am I, that's why short-leash (none / 0) (#11)
    by fairleft on Tue May 22, 2007 at 01:17:11 PM EST
    funding is a good idea. I'd rather have no funding now, but short leash gets us votes every 2/3 months, and the 'out' bandwagon (we only need 50% of the House) will really get rolling by September.

    Well (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue May 22, 2007 at 01:32:48 PM EST
    If that helps, go for it.

    See my latest post. I do not believe short or long matters on this.

    The battle is lost. /But we can win the war if we can sell Reid-feingold.

    Without that, nothing else will work.


    Great analysis, BTD, but... (none / 0) (#16)
    by Lora on Tue May 22, 2007 at 10:15:38 PM EST
    Iran is loaughing at you. You have made them the regional superpower BushCo. A bigger group of idiots could not be found.

    They are not (all) idiots.  Some of them are very smart.  So...what's your analysis of why they did what they did?

    Funny how bush is working towards the exact ... (none / 0) (#19)
    by Sailor on Wed May 23, 2007 at 06:43:53 PM EST