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After a revolt against the King suffers a great setback, Shakespeare’s Lord Bardolph speaks about how one ought plan for a war:

When we mean to build,
We first survey the plot, then draw the model;
And when we see the figure of the house,
Then must we rate the cost of the erection;
Which if we find outweighs ability,
What do we then but draw anew the model
In fewer offices, or at last desist
To build at all? Much more, in this great work,—
Which is almost to pluck a kingdom down
And set another up,—should we survey
The plot of situation and the model,
Consent upon a sure foundation,
Question surveyors, know our own estate,
How able such a work to undergo,
To weigh against his opposite; or else,
We fortify in paper, and in figures,
Using the names of men instead of men:
Like one that draws the model of a house
Beyond his power to build it; who, half through,
Gives o’er and leaves his part-created cost
A naked subject to the weeping clouds,
And waste for churlish winter’s tyranny.
    Henry IV Part 2, I, iii, 44-65

Bush could not build the house he sketched.  My thoughts on what this has to do with how we leave Iraq below.

We did not plan well for this war.  As the war was neither wise nor just, though, no greater amount of planning would have made a difference.  But now, "half through," we do face the question not only of how we will leave – as in depart – Iraq, but how we will leave Iraq – as in what will we have left behind.

The Zeitgeist has decreed, evidently, that we start to talk about finally paying, in coin other than defense appropriations, for the war in Iraq.  Digby and Atrios discuss the question of accepting Iraqi refugees.  Atrios weighs in on Kevin Drum’s thoughts on partition.  Our own Steven D offers us an earlier than expected way out.  And I now try to image how a post-U.S. Iraq will look.  It isn’t pretty.

Let’s say that we do get out.  (I tend to think, like Drum, that we need to get out because anything we do right now makes things worse.  I expect that this will be to an over-the-horizon deployment, however.)  What then?

We can expect ethnic bloodbaths.  We can expect Iran to exert de facto control (or at least heavy influence) over the Iraqi oil supply to the South.  We can expect hostility from the Kurds for abandoning them yet again, and they may expect hostilities from the Turks and other neighbors, depending on the form of any (temporary) political resolution.  Maybe we can expect Iraqi Sunnis to kick out the "foreign fighters" (those that aren’t us, at least) in Al Qaeda, but I think we can expect Al Qaeda to try to move more heavily into Anbar province and other Sunni areas, which may well have terrorist training camps.  Israel may want to respond unilaterally, but it has its own problems.  The Saudi Armed Forces, as battle unready as in 1991, may feel some desire to get involved.  Al-Maliki will hate us for abandoning him and take up the mantle of anti-Americanism as a way of staying alive; the pro-Iranian SCIRI Shi’ites will decide whether he gets to do so.

OK, so far this doesn’t look good.  That’s not our doing as Democrats, but it’s our problem as Americans.  The reason to withdraw and accept what looks like a disaster registering a 9 on a scale of 10 is that staying brings us up all the way to 10 of 10 – all of the above, if perhaps a little slower, plus many more American dead and even more international resentment.  (Note to George W. Bush: if you create a failed state, you get anarchy and warlords.  Please remember that over the next two years.)

So, Iraq ends up looking much like Lord Bardolph’s half-built house:  a naked subject to the weeping clouds -- and we seem to have invited in an especially winter’s tyranny several magnitudes beyond merely "churlish."  What do we do?

Well, it’s going to cost money.  That won't make it right, but that's all we've got.

We are not going to accept Iraqi refugees.  They are likely all presumptively barred from the U.S. for having supporting terrorism under current asylum law.  So we will need to pay international agencies to build refugee camps.  If we have any humanity and sense, those camps will be cities rather than camps, places that will not breed even more resentment at our actions.

Whether or not we should, we will probably maintain an air presence near Iraq so that we can bomb terrorist training camps as they develop.  If we are lucky, we will be able to get the approval of whatever government is operating there.  They likely won’t like Al Qaeda any more than we do.  On the other hand, we will probably miss and kill civilians a fair amount of the time, so this is a problem.

We should let the international community know that we can no longer "solve the problems of Iraq" (the irony of our statement will be understood) with our troops, so we will need to do so with our wallets.  That means that other countries in the region, and major players in Iraq, will need to come together under the auspices of the United Nations and essentially calculate the butcher’s bill that will be presented to us.  Who needs to be paid to do what, to establish what security?  If it can’t be done without a civil war, who pays for relocation of the refugees, for hospitals, for prosthetics?  We do.  Perhaps the best way to assure unity among the warring factions is to get them together to decide how to stick it to us.

And then we’re going to have to pay.  We ought to figure out who profited from the war and figure out how to make them unprofit from it.  We avoided putting our society on a wartime footing before the war; we’ll need to do it now.  We can call everything that happens now the "W tax."

I raise all this here because I get the sense, sometimes, that people on this site see withdrawal from Iraq as a costless scenario.  Let's be perfectly clear about this: It’s the opposite.  It will be – it must be, if we're to do it right and again holds up our heads in the family of nations – costly as hell.  Let's explain that to the American people, shall we?  I don't hear the cost of a post-U.S. Iraq discussed much.  Let's make it real in all its ugliness.  We broke it, we own it, we pay for it.  So arguments about the continued cost of the war should be compared against the awful scenario I present above.  The good only thing I have to say about the course of action I suggest is that every other course -- including and especially staying the course -- is worse.

But, I haven’t thought about this as much as some of you have, and I’d love to hear your views.

Originally posted to Major Danby on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 03:43 PM PST.

Poll

I think that the estimate of post-U.S. Iraq offered here

6%2 votes
9%3 votes
35%11 votes
32%10 votes
16%5 votes

| 31 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Hmm, my pre-loaded comment apparently didn't post (13+ / 0-)

    So: To paraphrase Carnacki, got a happier story?

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 03:44:26 PM PST

    •  Yeah. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      It worked, now it doesn't.  My 'Post Comment' button was greyed, now for you it apparently works but doesn't actually?

      Hmm.

      Nice Diary.

    •  Happier story ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Major Danby

      ... know'st thou not
      That when the searching eye of heaven is hid,
      Behind the globe, that lights the lower world,
      Then thieves and robbers range abroad unseen
      In murders and in outrage, boldly here;
      But when from under this terrestrial ball
      He fires the proud tops of the eastern pines
      And darts his light through every guilty hole,
      Then murders, treasons and detested sins,
      The cloak of night being pluck'd from off their backs,
      Stand bare and naked, trembling at themselves?
      So when this thief, this traitor, Bolingbroke Dubya Bush,
      Who all this while hath revell'd in the night
      Whilst we were wandering with the antipodes,
      Shall see us rising in our throne, the east,
      His treasons will sit blushing in his face,
      Not able to endure the sight of day,
      But self-affrighted tremble at his sin.
                    Richard II, Act 3, Scene II

      You live and learn. Well, at least you live. -Douglas Adams

      by wandabee on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 08:50:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Nice! Of course that led right into (0+ / 0-)

        Henry IV, Parts 1 and 2....  ;7)

        My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

        by Major Danby on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 01:19:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  What!? You want both happier AND chronological? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Major Danby

          Sheesh...

          Maybe I'll make another cup of coffee and amuse myself with Richard III, with GWB typecast in the title role:

            "Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
            Have no delight to pass away the time,
            Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
            And descant on mine own deformity:
            And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
            To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
            I am determined to prove a villain
            And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
            Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
            By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams..."

          and a chorus of dead soldier's mothers cast as Queen Margaret hissing at him:

            "Thou bottl'd spider, thou foul bunch-back'd toad..."

          Not exactly HAPPIER, but at least we know he gets what's coming to him in the end.

          You live and learn. Well, at least you live. -Douglas Adams

          by wandabee on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 12:13:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  First problem (9+ / 0-)

    You are assuming that Bush actually wanted to build a house, rather than just stir the wreckage for loot.  All indications seem to point to the idea that planning for the aftermath of the invasion was greatly discouraged.  Perpetual war for perpetual profit is its own reward, according to the NeoCons.

  •  The "house" in Shakespeare's metaphor (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, trashablanca, Grannus, wandabee

    is the war itself.  Bush did not follow Lord Bardolph's advice.  To keep in the Shakespearean vein, here's Polonius from Hamlet (II, ii, 97-98)

    "That he's mad, 'tis true, 'tis true 'tis pity,
    And pity 'tis 'tis true."

    My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

    by Major Danby on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 03:53:22 PM PST

  •  I'm not so sure about this: (7+ / 0-)

    These warring factions, imho  more closely resemble the Thirty Years War than anything else.

    For all this breast-beating about how Bush screwed the pooch, that's all true, and it's about 2% of the story.   There are far more machinations in play than just the US role vis-a-vis Iraq.  Syria and Iran will be on opposite sides of a proxy war in Iraq:  while both saw an advantage in destabilizing the pro-USA regime in Lebanon, all was well.  That has changed:  Syria is Sunni and Allawite, with a fair smattering of other faiths, the Syrians do not want a Shiite theocracy in Iraq.  KSA is erecting a 560 mile long fence on its border.  Every player in the Middle East turned up at the Arab League's conference on Iraq, upon which the Western press was completely silent.  Lebanon's foreign minister didn't turn up, coz he's a Shiite, and a Hizb'allah sympathizer.  This bodes ill for the entire Middle East.

    From my position, this does not resemble a Clash of Civilizations.  Huntington was wrong.  This is shaping up to be a religious war, and the USA is almost irrelevant.  Here's a quote from Arab Times.

    Saddam Hussein faces the gallows for the murder of 148 townspeople from Dujail in 1982. In two days, 260 Iraqis were slaughtered in an orgy of violence in and around Baghdad. Will anyone ever stand trial for this latest obscene crime, or will it merely be the trigger for new, equally loathsome crimes perpetrated in vengeance? Too many people in Iraq are now busy condemning the violence of the other side. Fewer and fewer are the voices that are genuinely condemning the violence itself. The country's leaders have bargained and bickered for way too long, while outside the relative safety of Baghdad's Green Zone, the initiative has been seized by the extremists. The law of the gun now rules much of Iraq and by and large it is Iraqis who are slaughtering Iraqis.

    The Americans can be blamed for creating this disaster, of course, but they are not perpetrating the ever-increasing daily savagery. Blaming Washington, as Mahdi Army leader Moqtada Sadr did yesterday is devious nonsense. The U.S.-led occupation forces have certainly failed spectacularly to create a stable Iraq. However the way things stand at the moment, their withdrawal - probably sooner rather than later - will remove a primary restraint (perhaps the only one at this moment) against the possibility of an all-out civil war. That is why ordinary Iraqis, though always unhappy with the foreign occupation, now dread the moment it will end. Sadr also called yesterday on Sunni religious leaders to issue a fatwa against the terrorists in their communities. This is highly desirable and should have been done months ago. However, it is equally right that Shiite religious leaders should back it with their own fatwa against the murderous violence being done by Shiite militants. But Sadr didn't say this. His statement was immediately devalued because it was clearly mere political posturing. And therein lies the root of Iraq's tragedy: tit-for-tat politics has fostered tit-for-tat violence.

    Whatever the rhetoric about a united Iraq, the country's leaders have too often refracted their view of the future through the interests of their particular communities. The widely touted vision of a peaceful, multi-sectarian Iraq has been put out of reach by the disagreements and disgruntlements of purely partisan politics. Nothing could have been better calculated to encourage the gunmen and the bombers than this failure of politicians to work together for the national interest rather than sectarian good.

    With the country falling apart, police and army deeply compromised, and ethnic cleansing now commonplace, Iraqis are being forced to turn increasingly to their own communities for safety, including the murderous young thugs and bullies who pretend to be protecting their interests. It may still not be too late for the tiny voice of peace to finally roar above the sound of bomb blasts and gunfire. But the grandstanding bombast, the mean-minded maneuvering and the blinkered political vision among the majority of Iraq's politicians must cease and desist. It is Iraqis who are killing Iraqis, and only Iraqis can stop the slaughter.

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 03:54:47 PM PST

    •  We're not to blame for *perpetuating* it (6+ / 0-)

      we're to blame for starting it.  We're to blame for beginning a project we can't finish and leaving others to reap the whirlwind.  We had Saddam bottled up, and within that bottle was also the djinn of anarchy.  In removing Saddam, we let that djinn escape from the bottle.  I can agree with everything else you said without, I think, changing my thesis.  And I think that those whose blood has been shed will agree.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 04:02:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ecch, yeah, sorta. (0+ / 0-)

        It's like sorting out domestic abuse, I've been "privileged" to be the confidant of both sides in a bad marriage, and have no respect for either party.

        Nobody, not even God Almighty, (specially not Him, coz everyone in that fight claims He's on their side) could sort this out, Iraq was in trouble before we got there.  It's the creation of the colonialists, purposely designed to cause trouble from the time of Sykes and Picot.

        As the article in Arab Times points out, Bush knocked over the apple cart.  Sharon upset the apple cart in Lebanon, too, and there's been hell to pay since.  Both Lebanon and Iraq are trying to be confessional democracies, it's a model doomed to failure.  The only way Iraq or Lebanon will ever work is on a tribal basis, where mechanisms for some rough justice and reparations are in place.

        So let's not carry this cross around, as if we started it.  Saddam was constantly smashing down his opposition.  If anything, the USA's foolish enterprise in Iraq has taken the lid off Saddam's old Tupperware and exposed the reality of the nasty science project that is Iraq.  If you seriously believe just putting the lid back on that Tupperware is possible or even wise, think again.  This is just like the Balkans, just like Lebanon, just like Rwanda.  Are we to blame for taking off that lid?  Sure, we went in there, stupidly and without a plan, but no plan would have sufficed, this is Iraq, the most complex of all Arab societies.

        People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

        by BlaiseP on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 08:34:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The best 'plan' was to stay the old course (0+ / 0-)

          under Clinton, keep him bottled up.  If we wanted to promote change, possibly roll back control of some territory in the south, which might (though a longshot) precipitate a coup.  Then, with Saddam (and maybe his sons) gone, work with countries in the region for a way to improve the government there.

          I know that by "no plan would have sufficed" you mean  "nothing would have been enough," but, literally, "no plan" would "have sufficed" had we not removed the lid.

          My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

          by Major Danby on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 10:49:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's still dodging the thrust of my argument (0+ / 0-)

            Saddam was not in a bottle.  The countries in the region are no better than Iraq, I don't think of Syria or Iran as agents of improvement.  One's a horrid dictatorship, the other is a religious madhouse, both have worked hard to undermine Lebanon's legitimate government.  In any event, this is all wishful thinking, Saddam would not have left peacefully, and his maniac progeny would still be around.

            The lid was coming off anyway, and the sanctions did not keep Saddam from waging war on the Shii and the Marsh Arabs.  Keeping the lid on was a non-starter from the beginning, wishful thinking would never have cleaned up the foul science project within the Tupperware.  Let's not indulge in wishing the lid was back on, the science project needs to be cleaned up.  We're going to have to let the Iraqis clamp down on the extremists, using their own techniques.  A new coalition of Sunni, Shii and Kurds is now forming, ready to isolate Moktada Sadr and his troublemakers.  Maliki is toast, if he doesn't get rid of his Sadr links.  Sadr's provoked most of this trouble, he's worn out his welcome inside the political tent.  He's now got to be thrown out.

            People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

            by BlaiseP on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 11:33:30 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Saddam was able to wreak pain on his own people (0+ / 0-)

              especially the Marsh Arabs, but there was not much we could do about that, and to the extent there was it could have been accomplished with more limited actions of the sort that we were doing with the Kurds in the north.  Done right, I think that this could have eventually provoked an officers' coup (probably starting with Saddam's assassination), despite Saddam's extraordinay precautions.  Meanwhile, Saddam was contained.  He was not threatening his neighbors.  He thought he was developing weapons, but his people were lying to him.

              I read the article at your link.  That's not much of a Sunni participation there.  That SCIRI wants to get rid of Sadr -- over Dawa's objections -- is old news.  That's going to be a hell of a Shi'ite civil war right there, and while al-Hakim of SCIRI is still the smart bet to become the country's dictator all that means is more fronts in the coming large-scale civil war.  The Sunnis will capitalize on this too, of course.

              My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

              by Major Danby on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 12:41:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, we've gone the coup route (0+ / 0-)

                too many times to believe that method will ever work, i.e. Kissinger and Eisenhower's coups took us from the frying pan into the fire.  Saddam survived many coup attempts, the odds of a coup succeeding were asymptotically low.

                Saddam was threatening his neighbours.  Let us put aside all this talk of Containment, as you point out, the embargo and No-Fly Zones did not stop Saddam from reimposing control over his enemies.  Saddam Hussein played the UN Embargo like a fiddle, and he was paying the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.  He got plenty of arms through back channels, not the WMDs he was seeking, but he did manage to fill Iraq with ordinary munitions.  Tragically, these munitions were looted after Bush's idiotic war, and are now being used against our troops as IEDs.

                The Sunni sheikhs, from the Arabic I'm reading on Azzaman, (I really should do another translation), are desperately seeking some solution.  Their areas are filling up with beleaguered refugees from Baghdad, it's becoming a humanitarian crisis.  Up on the Syrian border, the Sunnis militias are fighting the foreign jihadis.  Even the Kurds are deeply sympathetic to the plight of the Sunni tribes, and the Shii under Hakim are all-too-aware of the problems created by a disaffected and powerless segment of Iraq:  they used to be in that situation themselves.  Iraq cannot afford to alienate all the Sunni, lest they become another Israel, bedevilled with Hamas-style attacks.  Iraq's Shii leadership under Hakim wants both good relations with Iran and with the USA.

                You are correct, there aren't all that many Sunni players, but Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari is both a Sunni and a Kurd.  Zebari has been a voice of reason and moderation, imho.

                People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

                by BlaiseP on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 01:38:23 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  Indeed. And, sadly, if Jacques Callot were alive (0+ / 0-)

      today, he would no doubt be "embedded" somewhere. For those who are unfamiliar with Callot's magnificent prints documenting his first hand experience of the horrors of the Thirty Years' War, links to all the etchings in his "Small Miseries of War" and "Large Miseries of War" series can be found here under Sections F and G.

      You live and learn. Well, at least you live. -Douglas Adams

      by wandabee on Tue Dec 12, 2006 at 12:31:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  good post, Major D (6+ / 0-)

    this is not entirely on topic, but I thought it was interesting to watch Tony Snow try to avoid the question of whether the administration's refusal to face up to the disastrousness of their policies was, as Gordon Smith said, criminal:

    Q Republican Senator Smith is challenging the strategy. What he basically said yesterday, as well, was, when you do the same thing over and over again without a clear strategy for victory, that is dereliction, that is deeply immoral. Such is the dispute. He's saying what the President is doing is immoral.

    MR. SNOW: Well, then we disagree.

    Q You're just going to blow it off? A Republican senator is saying the President's policy may be criminal and it's immoral, and you're just saying, we just disagree?

    MR. SNOW: And what would you like me to say? Should I do duels at 10 paces?

    Q Don't you think you should answer for that? You're saying -- you've said from this podium over and over that the strategy is a victory, right? And you have a Republican senator is saying there is no clear strategy, that you don't have a strategy.

    MR. SNOW: Well, let's let Senator Smith hear what the President has to say. We understand that this is a time where politics are emotional in the wake of an election. And you know what? Senator Smith is entitled to his opinion. But I'm not sure exactly what you would like ....

    What would you like? An admission of the truth?

    •  Wow. That's not even GOOD bullshit from Snow (5+ / 0-)

      He must have been having an off-day.  What happened to "I disagree with Sen. Smith's premise; we do have a clear plan for victory -- right here in my pants!"?

      Don't worry about going o/t; this is not burning up the airwaves.  I've become more placid since I started treating my diaries as diaries -- writing notes to my future self.

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 04:25:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush's reliance... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coolbreeze, trashablanca

    ..on Neo-Con "filtered" advice, along with his own unbelievable ignorance of the reality of the Middle East continues to astound me, day after day.
     The President of the United States has access to some of the best analysts, the most knowledgeable experts ...and for Bush to rely solely on the advice of these venal (and ultimately cruel) men speaks to me of his undeniable stupidity.
     Ignorance is one thing - it can be helped with learning more.  Stupidity in the face of overwhelming reality turns my stomach.
     We will be paying for the collapse of this house of cards, as well as mopping up the blood for a long time.  
     In the Catholic Church, we were taught that if we truly confessed our sins and acknowldged them, we would be forgiven if we performed an Act of Contrition and fulfilled our penance.
     Our country will be doing penance for a long time; maybe this time we'll learn.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. - George Orwell

    by drchelo on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 04:25:33 PM PST

  •  yeah. I agree. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    coolbreeze

    We broke it. We should pay for it.

    This is where Bush's rhetoric should shift and his policy should follow. Should. Should. Should.

    It won't.

    But it should.

  •  It IS a war of religious civilizations: (0+ / 0-)

    It started as a crusade by Osama, and is now a holy war of bland Christian capitalist civilization warmed to battle by foolish politicians fanning embers of fear and resentment and vengeance is the astonished population, and downtrodden, angry, nationalistic and theocratic Muslims.

    You can play around and pretend in whatever way makes you feel better, but the facts are the facts.

    These are Muslim theocracies we will be fighting, and I think we are close to forcing them to form an Umma that dissolves their differences.

    They will have oil, alliances with our economic (not to say civilizational) enemies, and the advantages of manpower in a world where the use of nuclear weapons can't happen from us first.

    Did I just read of a six nation Muslim nuclear pact? Just what we need: Pakistan freely building up capabilities everywhere.

    What are we gonna do, nuke all of them?

    INVESTIGATE! SPINE UP!

    by ormondotvos on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 04:50:30 PM PST

  •  I really like this- (6+ / 0-)

    We are not going to accept Iraqi refugees.  They are likely all presumptively barred from the U.S. for having supporting terrorism under current asylum law.  So we will need to pay international agencies to build refugee camps.  If we have any humanity and sense, those camps will be cities rather than camps, places that will not breed even more resentment at our actions.

    We owe the Iraqi people a great deal.  Our prejudices are sad but true, it doesn't help that Iraqi polls show 60% think taking pot shots at our troops is A OK if it encourages us to leave (for the record were I Iraqi you bet I'd be part of that majority).

    I don't think the neocon visions of apocalyptic battle between Sunni and Shia need come to pass, not when results for each side can be maximized by low intensity violence.  I expect Kuwait, for example, to be heavily militarized as a fortress against Iran but I don't really expect Iranian attack or an attack on Iran (from the Sunnis that is, we're crazy and could do anything).

    Population displacement and ethnic cleansing along the new boundaries?  I think it's a given, it's already happening.  So pretty ugly for a while.  I think the Sunni's will want Baghdad for historic reasons and get it because they want it more.  I also think that if the Sunni's want Oil they take it from the Kurds, it's a long drive to Basra.

    I'm an optimist really.  I think optimistically this is a good as it gets.  Ever.  Stay / Go, no difference except more dead on all sides.

    My positive idea?  Put the camps on those Haliburton bases.

  •  "But, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marina, coolbreeze, Major Danby

    by your leave, it never yet did hurt
    To lay down likelihoods and forms of hope."

    •  Yes -- if this present quality of war (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coolbreeze, trashablanca

      (indeed the instant action):  A cause on foot lives so in hope -- as, in an early spring, we see the appearing buds.  (Which, to prove fruit, hope gives not so much warrant as despair that frosts will bite them!)

      Heh, good show, rgdurst!  (To other Gentle Readers: the above looks better in verse, and precedes the verses of the diary text.  Get thee to a Googlery!)

      I almost used "Hope gives not so much warrant as despair/ That frosts will bite them." -- language that I really love -- but it didn't seem quite a propos, as we're not seeing many "appearing buds" in Iraq!

      My apologies to students who took my U.S. Government class in the 90s: evidently the Constitution doesn't limit Presidential power after all. Who knew?

      by Major Danby on Mon Dec 11, 2006 at 06:28:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like this part (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KiaRioGrl79, coolbreeze, trashablanca

    We ought to figure out who profited from the war and figure out how to make them unprofit from it.

    So true. Seize their assets.

    Now if only we could give back the lives that have been lost.

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