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Sunday, December 11

When in our history

has there ever been such a disjunction between the majority of our 'leadership class' - journos, pundits and pols, including national Dems (Al Gore is a brave exception) - and the majority of the American people?

The former flatter themselves with the conceit that they are fighting another WWII (with other peoples' kids). The latter know that we are stuck and getting stucker in another Vietnam.

As Barbara Tuchman pointed out so eloquently in her many books, men in possession of both great stupidity and great power can lead the rest of us into messes so intractable that there is no 'right', much less good, way out of them.

None of the options now available to us will allow us to feel good about ourselves in the end, because even when we try to do good our very presence will only fuck things up the more. We need to get out of a place where we never should have been. Bringing the criminals to justice who caused this war is now the only honor we can give the dead.


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Comments on "When in our history"

 

Blogger NeuvoLiberal (@ 12/12/2005 12:26 AM) said:  

Hi Chuck,

good to see you.

My personal views on this may be slightly different from yours, but overall here is what I tend to think:

- set a fixed time line (say middle of 2007, or even end of 2006)
- make a plan with specific courses of action
- do our best during that period to help Iraqis lead themselves as a democratic nation.

I posted some thoughts along these lines at dKos some in November.

----------

Elements of an 'Exit Plan' (none / 0)

As assortment of ideas towards an exit plan:

1. Train 10-20K per month: get with allies (NATO and others) and chalk-up a plan to train 10,000 to 20,000 Iraqi troops per month, a mixture of military and police forces. Doable; cut deals with our allies with large armies and pay for their services. Assuming it takes 6 months to train each person, after the first six months, batches of Iraqi troops will start rolling out.

2. Train one, bring one home: For every new fully-trained member of the Iraqi Military and Security Forces, a member of the United States military should come home, as suggested by Chris Carney (PA-10).

3. Diffuse and Contain Insurgency: carrots and sticks. Details needed. Heavy Iraqi involvement required.

4. Complete a Basic Democratic Framework: assemble constitutional and legal scholars from Iraq and elsewhere, of islamic background and others, and slap up a draft judicial framework. With help from Iraqi scholars and thinkers and enterpreneurs, establish other democratic institutions, such as government infrastructure, press etc.

5. Iraq's Natural Resources: put together a working committee to protect Iraq's natural resouces including it's oil reserves for the benefit of Iraqi citizens.

6. Social Infrastructure: help Iraqis chart and build their own social building blocks (schools etc). Religious issues are important here.

7. Build a UN peacekeeping force: cut deals as necessary again, and put up a 250K peacekeeping force under the UN auspices.

8. Withdraw military presence by the middle of 2007: replacing it with trained Iraqis and UN peacekeeping forces. Continue to help with further reconstruction for another 3 years (say $10-20 Billion per annum; Oh, BTW, that's a lot of money for building schools and bridges. to give you an idea, Iraq' oil reserves are worth $15 Billion per annum, when pumped at normal levels).

Sure, many holes and our own regime ain't gonna buy any of it, but so what? We need to put out a comprehensive "Demaocratic Exit Plan" regardless, and that plan ought to be implementable from day one.

Links:
http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2005/11/14/162828/21/97#97
http://www.dailykos.com/comments/2005/11/21/182151/87/5#5

------

Please let me know what you think. Thanks.

 

Blogger DC4AlGore (@ 12/12/2005 6:14 PM) said:  

Good posting! This is interesting and ought to make people think.

My sense is Gore is a unique political personality. He was against the war from the start. This makes him special, and I think it shows Gore with tremendously good judgement.

 

Blogger chuckvw (@ 12/12/2005 11:07 PM) said:  

Nuevo,

We aren't entirely in disagreement. I think points 5, 7 and 8 are right on. But I think the hope that we can 'train' Sunnis and Shiites in such a way that they won't continue to struggle for supremacy is a vain one. The Sunnis are bound to lose, but unless they are slaughtered or driven out of the country, they will be a continual source of violent resistance. Now that there is no feared tyrant to enforce secular institutions, potential recruits will mostly revert to clan and sectarian loyalties when push comes to shove.

The people set to win the upcoming elections want to govern under Koranic law. For them, democracy only has to work the one time. The Kurds will retreat to their precarious homeland. They don't really want or need 'Iraq' to work.

Failure is painful to contemplate, but failure was preordained the moment the busheviks got their war - on their terms. By all means let them declare victory and let us get the hell out.

Nobody would be happier than I if I were proven wrong...

 

Blogger TeresaInPa (@ 12/13/2005 12:42 AM) said:  

I think we are doomed in Iraq. We can't fix it and they don't want us to try. They want us out. There is a civil war going on and we are in the middle of it. We took out Saddam to replace him with a government of fundamentalist Clerics.

 

Blogger NeuvoLiberal (@ 12/13/2005 2:26 AM) said:  

dc4ag: there is an interesting huffpost article Gore's Crystal Ball by Trudi Loh that talks about how prescient Gore's Iraq war speech was.

Chuck & Teresa: good points, but as I thought about them, it feels like sunnis will get persecuted if we leave right away. Think about this for a sec, if we leave Iraq before some defense mechanism is put in place: Iran will almost certainly attack from the east and probably team up with the Iraqi Shias, Turkey may start pushing from the North facing off the Kurds first and then head south, and Saudis and Kuwaitis might want a piece of the action from down under. Then Jordan may drawn into the brawl from the west. Clearly Israel will want to have a say in the matter. It really looks pretty scary from my vantage point, and with our regime in place, nothing honest and forthright can be expected to be undertaken.

The situation is horrendous, whichever way one looks at it, unless other nations join us to help, and that is unlikely to happen given Bush regime's arrogance and recalcitrance and greed.

How badly we needed to win in 2004? I really wanted to see a Gore/Dean ticket materialize in late 2003 (before Gore made his endorsement of Dean) because that would've nicely coupled Gore's experience with Dean's movement, but I didn't know too much about blogs to push that idea back then.

 

Blogger TeresaInPa (@ 12/13/2005 2:57 PM) said:  

Can't help myself guys, please excuse me but Great idiots of History.

 

Blogger TeresaInPa (@ 12/13/2005 2:58 PM) said:  

What I meant to say was that Michele Malkin is Great idiots of History .

 

Blogger TeresaInPa (@ 12/13/2005 2:59 PM) said:  

NL, you are right. No matter what, we broke Iraq and there are no really good solutions left to us.

 

Blogger NeuvoLiberal (@ 12/13/2005 3:03 PM) said:  

Talking about Iran, there is an interesting account on Iran by GleenGreenWald at dKos:
Iran is the only winner in the Iraq War.

 

Blogger chuckvw (@ 12/13/2005 9:14 PM) said:  

Patrick Cockburn has written a great piece on the current state of affairs... It ain't pretty.

 

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