Let justice be done, though the heavens fall
October 31, 2004 10:44 AM   Subscribe

The United States has lost Iraq. "Even Secretary of State Colin Powell, a former general who stays in touch with the Joint Chiefs, has acknowledged [the insurgents winning] privately to friends in recent weeks. The insurgents have effectively created a reign of terror throughout the country, killing thousands, driving Iraqi elites and technocrats into exile and scaring foreigners out."
posted by four panels (28 comments total)
It seems Hollywood didn't make enough Nam movies to get through to some people.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 10:49 AM on October 31, 2004

I hadn't known it was missing. The big mistake in going into Iraq, with all that has been thus far said against that move, is that we lost a counter-veling force...pr3vious to invading, Iraq offset Iran. Now Iran is super power in that region. It will develop nukes. It has told the world that it plans to go ahead with"peaceful{" development, and the US can do nothing about it: we will not attack (we are mired in Iraq), the UN will do nothing, and this is the big one that has not been told to the world press:

China has signed a 70 billion dollar oil agreement with Iran. Does that mean anaything? Yup. Bring up anthing against Iran to the Security Council and China, a fulltime member will veto it to keep its oil flowing.
posted by Postroad at 10:52 AM on October 31, 2004


President Kerry is gonna have his hands full cleaning up Dubya's messes.
posted by nofundy at 10:59 AM on October 31, 2004

Only recently I've started to make the connection to a lot of pro-war people saying that a "benefit" of the Iraq war was the complacency of sub-tier rogue states... for example, that the Iraq war allegedly "motivated" Libya into rescinding its nuclear program.

I'm starting to feel as a major purpose of the PNAC invade-Iraq concept was getting this reaction out of Iran. Unfortunately, it has failed miserably. Jesus, this morning Iran voted on a nuclear directive and concluded the meeting with massive "death to America" chants. The irony of Iraq is that it has ended the era of threatening our opponents, not enforced it.

Postroad is correct about many things, the most major being that Iran is going to acquire nuclear weapons, and that there is honestly nothing we can do about it short of World War III. Without an intelligence guarantee that Iran does not already have active nuclear armaments, and already possessing missiles capable of reaching the Western seaboard, any attempt from Israel to launch a Kirkuk-style pre-emptive strike on an Iranian nuclear facility is a near-impossible risk.

There is a grave error in the U.S.' constant belief that the entire Middle East can be controlled the way Israel monitors the West Bank- that is, the idea that evolution can simply be staved off through superior firepower. Much as Israel's refusal to negotiate peace will horrifically be met with the eventually overwhelming population disadvantge of their own populace, America's belief that Iran will simply never become a global superpower is a plan for future nightmares.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:12 AM on October 31, 2004

This is like playing Jenga. Any move you make risks tipping everything over. You can't just leave, even if that's good for us in the short run. As tempting as the idea is, if the U.S. leaves Iraq now that we've thoroughly fucked it up, that would just add lighter fluid to the radical elements in their country and others (Egypt, Afghanistan, Saudi, etc.)

When the Soviet Union left Afghanistan, the radical Islamic element saw that as proof of their destiny. If we were to leave Iraq, they would say that the true believers have vanquished not one, but two evil empires. If you think Algeria was bad, just wait till this spreads to Iraq.

I'm willing to give the Iraqi people the benefit of the doubt right now and assume most of them just want things to go back to normal, with us gone. But if we do that, the only force of civil control will be gone, and in such situations, the guy left with the most guns gets to keep the country.

But the longer we stay, the more they hate us. Basically, we have to leave, but someone has to stay to maintain the peace. That someone has to have some authority to back it up, so the people don't think you're trying to conquer their nation. Iran is out. Saudi Arabia would just look like the U.S. Obviously Israel won't work. The Russians aren't going to be appreciated. Basically, that leaves us with S. America and Europe. Oh, but those are the guys who hate our guts now for not taking their advice in the first place.

I foresee a lot of ass-kissing in the future.

And in the far-far distant future, the democratic movement in Iran will take hold, there will be a public backlash against the radical Islamists among Islamic countries. Egypt might get some liberal reformers in power, and Saudi would, in a fit of kindness not seen since the democratic revolutions of 1848, decide it is more prudent to release some control to the people. I guarantee you, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran will see democracy sooner than Iraq. It will probably be last on the list, as it's taken the spotlight from Israel as everyone's current favorite stage to play the "I'm right! No I am!" game.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:33 AM on October 31, 2004

Money (hundreds of billions) and contracts talk, CD. If we cancel all the no-bid contracts, the Europeans will come in, if they get a piece of the pie. They can also bring in moderate Arab allies of theirs. When that happens, the UN can come back and take over.
posted by amberglow at 11:43 AM on October 31, 2004

And if the oil price in Euros thing really was a reason we went there, putting it back to Euros will also help with Europe.
posted by amberglow at 11:45 AM on October 31, 2004

I agree the insurgents are winning. Terrorizing people is easier than establishing a new government. One has to wonder how long this can last for. The locals are bound to tire of this. I see a 2-5 year window of Iraq being chaos and then things slowly getting better, probably with a government that is slightly better than Saddam's.

One thing to be prepared for: if Bush loses, how can bin Laden, Zarqawi and co NOT spin it as a major victory? For a guy who gunned for them for 4 years to be out of power before they are, how is that not a victory?

Don't be surprised to see this spun to recruit a whole new generation of terrorists. It will prove to the arab youth that America can be defeated. They don't see domestic issues like jobs or health care - just the War on Terror (muslims) by us Americans (crusaders of the cross).

I want to make it clear that i'm not saying a vote for Kerry is a vote for the terrorists, but this is how it will be spun and people will believe it. I guess what I'm saying is we're basially screwed either way.
posted by b_thinky at 12:23 PM on October 31, 2004

"Postroad is correct about many things, the most major being that Iran is going to acquire nuclear weapons, and that there is honestly nothing we can do about it short of World War III." - XQUZYPHYR - They're calling it WW4 (if the Cold War was WW3), and I assume that's the background motivation for cranking up the ridiculous "Committee on The Present Danger" and why Jim Woolsey has been running around shouting that we're already in WW4, and that it will last 100 years (oh boy).
posted by troutfishing at 12:27 PM on October 31, 2004

Oh - and that would explain this :

SSS plans for a widespread draft registration, and emergency callup of huge numbers of medical personnel. The contingency plans call for drafting those 36,000 doctors and nurses - up to age 44 and with no deferments for reasons of health - as early as 2005.

Don't forget - also - that many of the folks who have George W. Bush's ear are steeped in an apocalyptic Christian mindset which expects or even demands world war as a precursor to the 2nd Coming or else as a way of establishing "Dominion", while the NeoCons have plans that dovetail quite neatly.
posted by troutfishing at 12:32 PM on October 31, 2004

in a fit of kindness not seen since the democratic revolutions of 1848

What the...? The democratic revolutions of 1848 were brutally suppressed by all the powers of Europe, which is what led to the terrorist movements of the later part of the century. Which is not irrelevant to the modern Middle East.
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on October 31, 2004

"One has to wonder how long this can last for."

This kind of hell can last for decades. How long did it take the Irish and British to come to the tables? The Israelis and Palestinians have been at each other since before WW2. I think your 3-5 year limit of toleration seriously underestimates the situation.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:31 PM on October 31, 2004

Dear Civil--things going back to normal? things were only "normal" when Saddam, a total dictator, managed to quell and keep contained the warring factions of the Kurds, Sunnis, and Shia...now, Saddam gone, there is the possibility of a continuing warring among those 3 major factions...I hope not. But normal means inthis instacne that which dictators are able to do swe efficiently because they count on bullets and not ballots.
posted by Postroad at 1:46 PM on October 31, 2004

language -- Yes, but those revolutions also led to sweeping changes in policy. They were violently suppressed (and they would be today) but the those in charge also knew that they would keep happenning until at least some gesture was made to promote liberalism. The grievances people in Arabic countries have over both U.S. and their own domestic policy has no method of legal dispute currently, and that will lead even normal, middle-of-the-road pragmatists to support violent movements in order to achieve their goals.

This is what happened in Egypt and Algeria in the 80's and 90's. What saved those countries (well, "saved" is a relative term) was the great center mass of people reacting against the revolutionaries because they were targetting their own people. You don't have that kind of indiscriminate killing in Iraq, because we Americans make much better targets. The Iraqis that are killed generally fall into the "collaborating with the enemy" category.

If I were the president, I would start making covert gestures to the leaders of the various democratic student rebellions that arose in Iran's last election. Pitting the U.S. against Iran in a nuclear stand-off will just encourage the more radical elements in the country. With Iraq, you need to get some legitimacy in there, quick. Throw a few billion dollars at their local entrepreneurs. Another couple billion at new building projects. Reduce the visible presence of force by internationalizing the peacekeeping efforts and spending money on infiltration and small operations.

on preview:
"normal means in this instance that which dictators are able to do so efficiently"

Unfortunately, yes. I've always thought (along with Powell, G. HW Bush and others) that Saddam was a necessary evil because, well, it could be shitloads worse -- as we are now slowly starting to understand.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:54 PM on October 31, 2004

When that happens, the UN can come back and take over.

Because the UN has done such a good job elsewhere? Ha. Thanks for the laugh ;)
posted by Dennis Murphy at 2:07 PM on October 31, 2004

Because the UN has done such a good job elsewhere? Ha. Thanks for the laugh ;)

Well they certainly can't do any worse...
posted by Space Coyote at 3:11 PM on October 31, 2004

They would do better than us--that's a fact. (It's always been a fact, but then again, we haven't been dealing with a fact-based adminstration making fact-based decisions, have we?)
posted by amberglow at 3:14 PM on October 31, 2004

skallas: I disagree that the insurgents have the means to take "power" as in establishing a government that controls Iraq. There is not a single united insurgency. Rather, you have several factions. The Shias, the Sunnis, the foreign al Qaeda, the secular Baathists and probably just some plain old thugs for hire. Each group hates each other just as much - if not more - than they hate us. That alone will make it difficult for them to create their own gov't.

I really don't think we're "losing" this war as much as we are paying a much higher price than expected. We'll win in the end, but it probably won't be worth it.
posted by b_thinky at 4:10 PM on October 31, 2004

On Iran:

Bush removed two of the major factions that kept the Iranian ayatollahs For Bush in check, the Taliban and Saddam. Great thinking there Georgie! Also, thanks to the current Administration and their best buddy Chalabi, our once very good intelligence on Iran is now blinded. Way to pick your friends there Georgie! I still remember the Iranian double agent sitting with Laura during the SOTU speech. Then there's Bush's good friends, the Pakistanis, giving them the Holy Islamic Bomb intelligence, and boy did Georgie ever punish Pakistan for that!

On bin-Laden:

Osama got exactly what he wanted from Bush with the total withdrawal of troops from the "holy land" of Saudi Arabia. What an appeaser! And that "dead or alive" crap, hey, just a joke between codependent friends. Not only that, but just look at how Georgie's tactics have swollen the ranks of new terrorist recruits! Our military should be so lucky as to have such numbers of willing volunteers. Thanks again Georgie boy!

What a loser. It will take many years to clean up the messes this fuckup has made. If only the rePublicans had taken a realistic (as in reality-based) look at Dubya's record in the business world, they would have NEVER considered the spoiled cheerleader frat rat for even the position of dog catcher.
posted by nofundy at 4:13 PM on October 31, 2004

"I really don't think we're "losing" this war as much as we are paying a much higher price than expected. We'll win in the end, but it probably won't be worth it."

You can't win against wolves if you're too busy fighting hyenas.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:58 PM on October 31, 2004

You can't win against wolves if you're too busy fighting hyenas guides.
posted by homunculus at 5:08 PM on October 31, 2004

MSNBC also forgot Poland
posted by srboisvert at 6:36 PM on October 31, 2004

they would have NEVER considered the spoiled cheerleader frat rat for even the position of dog catcher.

Not true. He is EXACTLY the guy they want. He's a whore both for the amoral, imperialist neo cons as he is for the fundamentalist bigoted religious right, while still keeping up the Texas twangin' reg'lar guy image for the hoi polloi. They couldn't have picked a better front man.

I think you need to look at it from the standpoint that mostly everyone that supports Bush at the highest levels of power in this country (business, military, religious) have something to gain from a perpetual war. And with Darrell Waltrip, Curt Schilling and other know-nothing jackasses stumping for him, we'll all go down that road with smiles on our faces, cuz, you know, he's a real man.
posted by psmealey at 8:32 PM on October 31, 2004

Insurgents loot Qaqaa arms depot

Here's what a real looting looks like: Palast: New documents detail the corporate takeover of Iraq. The Economy Plan goes boldly where no invasion plan has gone before: the complete rewrite, it says, of a conquered state’s “policies, laws and regulations.” Here’s what you’ll find in the Plan: A highly detailed program, begun years before the tanks rolled, for imposing a new regime of low taxes on big business, and quick sales of Iraq’s banks and bridges?in fact, “ALL state enterprises”?to foreign operators. There’s more in the Plan, part of which became public when the State Department hired consulting firm to track the progress of the Iraq makeover. Example: This is likely history’s first military assault plan appended to a program for toughening the target nation’s copyright laws.

via histologion, a blog by MeFite Talos
posted by acrobat at 6:43 AM on November 1, 2004

b_thinky: It [Bush losing] will prove to the arab youth that America can be defeated.

I'm sure you're right that some will try to spin it that way, but it's utter nonsense. A defeat for Bush doesn't mean a defeat for America, and certainly doesn't mean an end to the war on terror. Kerry: "They are barbarians. And I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes."

On the other side: a Bush victory would prove to the arab youth that America condones -- just for starters -- Abu Ghraib-style torture. In his wildest wet dreams, bin Laden couldn't hope for a better recruitment tool than that. And that's just one item on a very long list.

A vote for which candidate is a vote for terror? Seems awfully damn clear to me.
posted by ook at 12:46 PM on November 1, 2004

Excuse the piling on, but if Kerry wins, it's not like the pullout will begin the day after inauguration.
posted by alumshubby at 1:52 PM on November 1, 2004

I was the first on MeFi to say it and I want to make sure everyone hears it at least once:


It will indeed take a while to unknot the Iraq mess but at least we won't have the village idiot making it worse.
posted by nofundy at 6:14 PM on November 1, 2004

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