Monday, April 21, 2008

What is stopping us

When otherwise liberal friends of mine discuss how to proceed in Iraq, quite a few are aware that one of the most significant political shifts Bush, and his Cheney gang have worked is the transfer, by default, of decisive political clout in the region into the hands of the Iranian theocracy. And knowing that, these friends are stuck, saying "we can't just pull out. The country will go to pieces and the pieces will fall under Iran's control".

But can't people see? We are already at that point.

If our imaginations have become so blunted that the prospect of peace can only be equated with defeat and the prospect of war, for all the good war has thus far done us, is alluring to liberal and conservative alike with its illusion of predictability, then we are lost in the darkness that swallows dying empires.

Let me offer my own imagination, which you may fault but not for want of the hope we need.

What other scenarios might unfold if we just pulled that tap out of our jugular, quit bleeding lives and trillions? Yes, just stop as fast as we started: leaving only the troops needed to guard that poor concrete mausoleum of an embassy to mark and mock our imperial hopes?
If the money now spent in Iraq were instead spent on the reconstruction and education that it would take to pacify and give hope to the Palestinians, rebuilding what has been bulldozed and creating a viable Palestinian state where physical security of both states was possible and the questions of ownership defused by swaps and purchases of land...
  • We would only be borrowing a page from the Iranians who buy favor and make trouble by funneling their money through Hezbollah [we can surely outspend Iran]
  • There would be no war in Iraq and the excuse that the factions would fall upon each other in a chaotic blood bath [1] describes present conditions well and [2] would quickly become Iran's problem if they actually failed to quell violence...because we all now know they can when they want to.
  • Iran would have its hands full trying to exercise control of Iraq and start getting the political black eye that the US possessed exclusively and it would stop having the spare change and the need to distract its population or seek favor with proxies by threatening Israel.
  • There would be universal condemnation of Iran's threats to Israel once they had no long suffering client/proxy in the person of the Palestinians. We would buy away that client because our money would be spent to give them some justice, hope and respect, not some victory.
  • It could hardly make oil any more expensive than bush has already made it.
  • And what really pisses me: it would cost us less than the war on Iraqis and earn us back the respect of the worlds people
  • This move would unsettle the Saudis. It is time we got rid of US administrations that suck the stopcock on Saudi oil wells. Some of the money we would cease spending on wasted munitions and boondoggle mercenary contractors could go into engineering a crash program in energy independence rather than the gelded efforts oil companies have allowed since Reagan's administration. I strongly suspect that spending that money here instead of sending it to our enemies with oilfields would have a wonderful effect on our employment figures.

The US already spends heavily in loans, foreign aid and material including to Palestinian leaders in order to patch together frail volatile truces that are all a generation of middle easterners have known. The Iranians are not stupid, they need to sell their oil, they can not afford the steel shod massive presence that has backfired so badly for the US. Chaos in Iraq threatens Iranian power though not as much as does the US military presence there. Being a reasonably smart person, Condi should ask herself if she has really given her bosses any more likely or hopeful options.

Pride, stupid and stubborn, is so obvious a fault in individuals...why is it so hard to see when it rules a nation?

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