Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fortunately we keep its feathers numbered

Saturday morning quick blog roundup:

Should the United States Send more Troops to Iraq or Start the Withdrawal? - Atlantic Review - Analysis of Transatlantic Relations and U.S. Foreign Policy:
Should the United States Send more Troops to Iraq or Start the Withdrawal?

Posted by Joerg W in US Foreign Policy on Friday, November 24. 2006
David V. emailed:

Here's a thought that you may want to write about: why not try democracy in Iraq? 70% of all Iraqis want American troops to leave immediately, and at least the same percentage of Americans feel the same way. Why not follow the will of the people? Yet it appears likely that Bush will follow McCain's proposal and put 20-40 thousand more troops in.

Systems of representative democracy are usually considered better than direct democracy. Besides, Tony Blankley warns in RealClearPolitics (via DMK) against bending to popular pressure:

Expedient Washington politicians, take note: Your public is fickle. They may cheer your decision today to get out of Iraq but vote you out of office tomorrow when they don't like the results. Much of the world (and a fair portion of the American public) may hate us today for our alleged arrogance. But they will spit out our name with contempt through time if we permit to be released the whirlwind that will follow our exit.

I have heard it said (by conservatives and Republicans, as well as others) that "if the Iraqis just want to murder each other, we should let them. We offered them freedom, and they didn't want it." If our decision on Iraq was only about Iraq, that argument might be persuasive.

But if, as it is hard to imagine otherwise, our departure from Iraq yields civil war, chaos, warlordism and terrorist safe havens -- it is very likely that Iran will lurch in to harvest their advantages, Turkey will send in its army to stop an independent Kurdistan, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states will be sucked in to fend off Shi'a Iran's hegemony. In that nightmare maelstrom the 20 million barrels a day of oil shipped from the Persian Gulf -- and the world economy with it -- will be in daily risk of being cut off. Nor is that all. Al Qaeda and other terrorists are already gloating that they have whipped the "cowardly Americans" in Iraq.

In Should We Stay or Should We Go Now?, David Swanson summarizes Anthony Arnove's book "Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal." One of the more convincing points is "4. The United States is not preventing civil war in Iraq. This is the same myth the British spread in 1920, when they didn't want to stop occupying Iraq."
David V. elaborated his call for immediate withdrawal in his blog post "The Haditha Massacre".

Do you agree with the Clash song: "Should I stay or should I go now? / If I go there will be trouble / An' if I stay it will be double"? Or is it the other way around, i.e. more trouble if the U.S. troops leave Iraq fairly soon? And what should Germany do regarding Iraq?

(Atlantic review is very much a pro-establishment place. They describe themselves thus: A Press Digest on Transatlantic Affairs edited by three German Fulbright Alumni.) It's a further example of the decay of American influence especially amongst its key allies that they're publishing this

Shakespeare's Sister:
Okay, first of all, they need to stop talking about “the Iraqi people” as if the Shiite and Sunni militia members aren’t Iraqis. Some of them may not be, but most of them are. Such a misstatement of reality helps facilitate the administration’s oft-cited flypaper theory to define “the Iraqi people” in contradistinction to militias, thereby subtly reinforcing the claim that terrorists are pouring into Iraq from the outside, as opposed to being created within Iraq’s borders by a variety of pressures, not least of which being our occupying presence. It’s an obscenely mendacious habit of Team Bush to frame nationals who do their will as “the X people”—when Bush gives a speech on the Federal Marriage Amendment, he says “the American people” want marriage to be between a man and woman, as if the LGBT community and its allies aren’t actually “American people.” The same thing’s going on here. Some Iraqi people certainly do have hopes for a peaceful and stable nation. Some clearly have hopes to exploit the chaotic morass we recreated to fight a centuries-old sectarian war. And some just want us the hell out of there and think that using bombs is the best way to accomplish that goal. They’re all Iraqi people—not just the ones who aren’t making our little nation-building endeavor not quite as easy as was foolishly predicted.

Secondly, this constant reference to “senseless violence” is illustrative of a deeply immature reluctance to speak about this war in a grown-up way. The violence is not senseless; it does indeed have a rationale and a purpose—which, of course, Team Bush plainly knows, since they inevitably follow up their accusations of senselessness by substituting the only explanation for the violence acceptable to them. The violence is “aimed at undermining the Iraqi people’s hopes for a peaceful and stable Iraq.” Any other explanation is intolerable to them (as it might begin to suggest a catastrophic policy failure), and is therefore not to be seriously examined.

I saved the best 'til last if you read nothing else today make sure you read all of this and not just the "teaser" I've posted here:

missing links:
Superficiality of the US debate suggests a worse catastrophe could be coming
Al-Hayat printed yesterday (Thursday November 23) an opinion piece whose argument goes like this:

Everyone recognizes that the Iraq policy was based on lies (AlQaeda, WMD and so on), but what is now under discussion is merely how to extricate the troops, and not the formation of a policy freed from those lies.

In fact there is another swindle going on, namely that lying and lawbreaking of the type that the Bush administration indulged in is nothing more than what you can see in the Dirty Harry pictures where the heroic detective breaks the law in order to catch the criminal. (In this case, in order to replace dictatorship with democracy).

Not only that. As befits a great nation with an intellectual infrastructure, the lies are anchored to a quasi-scientific set of arguments. (Terrorists are bred and thrive mainly because they live under dictatorial regimes, etcetera) . Naturally there isn't any point in refuting these assumptions and arguments, because their proponents don't let reality bother them. We know that AlQaeda came to Iraq with the occupation and achieved unprecedented expansion thereafter, but that doesn't matter.


Site News:

Finally before I head out for Saturday morning shopping some good news and a sample of Iraqi wit. Laith who posts here suffered a domestic accident of the Baghdadi type during the week. -  Part of a mortar shell hit his generator. When I got up this morning there was an email from him in my inbox  saying that it was now fixed and that he'll be posting late next week as scheduled. (God, blogger, and his internet connection permitting.)

 His explanation of how he and his eldest son repaired it deserves to go down in history as as classic of Iraqi wit and I've copied and pasted it below for posterity:

"Fortunately we keep its feathers numbered for just such an emergency. :-)


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