In Search Of A Reality

Good opinion piece from the NYT yesterday... for the most part. They start off so well it's tempting to go with them all the way...

In Search of a Congress
NYT, Friday 21 September 2007

If you were one of the Americans waiting for Congress, under Democratic control, to show leadership on the war in Iraq, the message from the Senate is clear: "Nevermind." The same goes for those waiting for lawmakers to fix the damage done to civil liberties by six years of President Bush and a rubber-stamp Republican Congress.

The NYT editors have missed the boat in two places, however. They've nailed the problem with the GOP, but make the I think badly mistaken assumption that the Democratic Leadership is not complicit with Bush's goals, with:
The Democrats don't have, or can't summon, the political strength to make sure Congress does what it is supposed to do: debate profound issues like these and take a stand. The Republicans are simply not interested in a serious discussion and certainly not a vote on anything beyond Mr. Bush's increasingly narrow agenda.

And they do it again in my opinion, with:

Democrats and Republicans who oppose the war have a duty to outline alternatives. Those who call for staying in Iraq have a duty to explain what victory means and how they plan to achieve it. Both sides are shirking an obligation to deal with issues that must be resolved right now, like the crisis involving asylum for Iraqis who helped the American occupation.
They're right that both parties need to be articulating clear alternatives, but they're still stuck in the quicksand of assuming that Iraqis are incompetent children incapable of finding their own path and managing their own affairs to their own satisfaction in their own ways, regardless of what the rest of the world, or the "Washington Consensus", wants Iraqis to do.

If Iraqis want help they'll ask for it. It cannot be forced on them, and any attempt to force "help" on them has, is, and will continue to backfire.

If Iraqis have sectarian differences and kill each other in a civil war, it is their civil war, and neither The US nor any other country has any more right to intervene for U.S. benefit than any other more powerful country had the right to intervene in the American Civil War for their benefit

All that Washingtons "help" has ever done for Iraq is make the situation worse. Continually. Never better. Only worse.

Since Bush started a fire that is burning the Iraqi house down the first thing to do is stop throwing fuel into the fire. And since Bush's invasion destroyed the infrastructure of the house before he started the fire and he made no effort to rebuild it, once we stop throwing fuel in and get out of the way before we are thrown out of the way, someone else will rebuild it.

It probably won't look anything like what the "Washington Consensus" would like it to look like when they're done, but too bad.

The vast majority of Iraqis DO NOT want U.S. troops occupying their country.

It is time to recognize that reality, and face up to it.

The Washington Consensus Of Iraq Reality Is Delusion, and the NYT even in their criticism of both parties, is still buying the delusion. And still selling the delusion.

What will help to begin fixing Iraq is not "doing" something.

What will help to begin fixing Iraq is "not doing" something.

Not funding the occupation any longer and complete and total withdrawal of all U.S. military from the country is what will begin fixing Iraq.

Iraq will be fixed. Eventually. But it will not be republicans or democrats, or even the U.S. that fixes it. It will be, and can only be, Iraqis that fix Iraq.

The U.S. presence in Iraq, and the refusal to leave, is the problem.

It is time to leave Iraq. Long past time.

[Cross-posted at Out Of Iraq Bloggers Caucus]

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    Whose Country Is It Anyway? (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by john horse on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 05:29:36 PM EST
    For the most part I agree with you.  As you point out, Iraq belongs to the Iraqis.  Remember the arguement that since we broke it we had to fix it.  The problem with this arguement was that it was up to the Iraqis whether we would be allowed to fix it because they were the ones that owned it, not us. Sometimes if you break stuff at a store, the owner doesn't want you to fix it but instead just wants you to leave and not come back.

    Where I disagree with you is that if the Iraqis were left to deal with the problem without our "assistance" they would be able to resolve their problems.  I don't make that assumption.  Things could get worse if we were to leave or they could get worse if we stay.  

    What I do believe is that we should leave because that is what is in our own best self interest even though it may or may not be in Iraq's best interest.  While it is good to think about an ending where everyone wins, where everyone is happy, sometimes it just doesn't turn out that way.  Sometimes you just got to put your interests first.  

    You make good points, John. (none / 0) (#2)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 06:06:15 PM EST
    It's a tough problem.

    One of the "problems" now though is that the problem has been created by the invasion and occupation, and created I think purposefully, by the very people who want to continue occupying Iraq.

    Created for the very purpose of getting us into a situation where, as you say "Things could get worse if we were to leave or they could get worse if we stay", and they, the rethugs are now trying to use that to get people to buy into their last remaining justification for continuing the occupation.

    If the United States leaves Iraq things will really get bad:

    This appears to be the last remaining, barely-breathing argument of that vanishing species who still support the god-awful war. The argument implies a deeply-felt concern about the welfare and safety of the Iraqi people. What else could it mean? That the US military can't leave because it's needed to protect the oil bonanza awaiting American oil companies as soon as the Iraqi parliament approves the new written-in-Washington oil law? No, the Bush administration loves the people of Iraq. How much more destruction, killing and torturing do you need to be convinced of that? We can't leave because of the violence. We can't leave until we have assured that peace returns to our dear comrades in Iraq.

    To better understand this argument, it helps to keep in mind the following about the daily horror that is life in Iraq:

    • It did not exist before the US occupation.
    Has there ever been an empire that didn't tell itself and the world that it was unlike all other empires, that its mission was not to plunder and control but to educate and liberate? And that it had God on its side?
    Another argument thay are now starting to try to use is the claim that an awful humanitarian crisis will develop if we withdraw form Iraq. This is really the same argument.

    A humanitarian crisis has been happening to Iraq since the '90 - '91 Gulf War. also created by U.S. attack. And worsened incredibly throughout the sanctions war of the next 12 years. Also caused by Washington.

    All that Washingtons "help" has ever done for Iraq is make the situation worse. Continually. Never better. Only worse.

    This film by John Pilger was made before George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, but after George H.W. Bush attacked Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War in response to the Iraqi invasion Of Kuwait.

    "After Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990, the United Nations (backed strongly by the US and UK) imposed harsh sanctions on Iraq that lasted for 10 years (1991-2001); the harsh restrictions on imports of everything, including access to key medicines, resulted in over a million deaths, more than half a million of which were women and children. That's more deaths than the two atomic bombs dropped on Japan and 9/11 combined."

    Wrong link above..... sorry (none / 0) (#6)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 07:03:41 PM EST
    This film by John Pilger was made before George W. Bush invaded Iraq in 2003, but after George H.W. Bush attacked Iraq in the 1991 Gulf War in response to the Iraqi invasion Of Kuwait.

    Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by john horse on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 06:46:20 PM EST
    There is a lot of validity to your arguement that our occupation just keeps making things worst by among other things keeping the various Iraqi groups from having to negotiate with each other.  Negotiation and compromise makes sense because each of the groups has enough power to disrupt the country but not enough to dominate the other groups.  However people don't always do the rational thing.  

    By the way, on one of my diaries I posted a link to one of my cartoons How To Dig A Hole In Iraq.  Tell me what you think.  

    I think it's great! (none / 0) (#4)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 06:49:59 PM EST
    Funny, but too true at the same time...

    I recommended your diary earlier today.


    John, (none / 0) (#5)
    by Edger on Tue Sep 25, 2007 at 06:53:08 PM EST
    would you send me an email? I have an idea I'd like to discuss with you.