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August 20, 2006

U.S. Foreign Policy Experts Do 180; Now Believe Sky May Well Be Blue

What's going on in Iraq? Let's check in with Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack:

The debate is over: By any definition, Iraq is in a state of civil war...

Welcome to the new "new Middle East" -- a region where civil wars could follow one after another, like so many Cold War dominoes.

And unlike communism, these dominoes may actually fall.

In other news, we're just weeks away from the 4th anniversary of the publication of Pollack's book The Threatening Storm. I wonder how it's holding up? Let's read page 268:

Imagine how different the Middle East and the world would be if a new Iraqi state were stable, prosperous, and a force for progress in the region, not a source of violence and instability. Imagine if we could rebuild Iraq as a model of what a modern Arab state could be, showing the frustrated and disenfranchised of the Arab world what they should be trying to fashion. Imagine if there were a concrete symbol demonstrating that America seeks to help the Arab world rather than repress. Invading Iraq might not just be our least bad alternative, it potentially could be our best course of action.

Yes...just imagine!

By the way, this was Pollack's explanation of why Saddam was so dangerous:

[Saddam's] own determination to interpret geopolitical calculations to suit what he wants to believe anyway lead him to construct bizarre scenarios that he convinces himself are highly likely.
Posted at August 20, 2006 09:36 AM | TrackBack

So much for the Neo-Con crack pipe dream.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 20, 2006 10:40 AM

Just remember: It's not their fault.

Posted by: spaghetti happens at August 20, 2006 10:42 AM

Pollack: >> Considering how many mistakes the United States has made in Iraq

Mistakes? Which ones, Mr Pollack? You don't mean, like, listening to charlatans like YOU !!!

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at August 20, 2006 11:54 AM

It looks like Neocons (and assorted Military-Industrial allies) on the Talking Points mailing list may have stumbled upon their next meal ticket: "new Middle East" (which bears an uncanny resemblance to "old Southeast Asia") where dominoes are fixing to fall upon the next one in line. These helper dominoes ("unlike communism, these dominoes may actually fall"!) could be just the thing the financial doctor ordered for their investment portfolios.

Posted by: sk at August 20, 2006 12:05 PM

Just wasn't ENOUGH MONEY in going after OSAMA. The trouble with these people is they are scared shitless that there WILL be PEACE in this life. I must point to Human History for my disclaimer.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 20, 2006 12:25 PM

As I read through this piece of propaganda I wondered how long it would take for them to get to the point and eventually I found it.

"Much as Americans may want to believe that the United States can just walk away from Iraq should it slide into all-out civil war, the threat of spillover from such a conflict throughout the Middle East means it can't. Instead, Washington will have to devise strategies to deal with refugees, minimize terrorist attacks emanating from Iraq, dampen the anger in neighboring populations caused by the conflict, prevent secession fever and keep Iraq's neighbors from intervening. The odds of success are poor, but, nonetheless, we have to try."

And this as well.

"what matters today is how to move forward and prepare for the tremendous risks an Iraqi civil war poses for this critical region. The outbreak of a large-scale civil conflict would not relieve us of our responsibilities in Iraq; in fact, it could multiply them."

Ah, the noble Americans who despite a cold wind blowing from the east and against all odds with chins firmly set in determination shall try to overcome the impossible no matter the cost. Like all propaganda it takes an amazing amount of blather to finally arrive at the goal. It is a combination of instilling fear in the reader combined with appealing to the sense of ones own humble yet noble feelings. The odds are poor yet we have to try.

However the most immense moment of hypocrisy sprouts up at the end of the article which states with a straight face that how Iraq got to this state is a matter for historians. Though Pollack appeals to the responsible and sober American mind he sloughs off all of his own responsibility with one easy stroke of the pen. No doubt Pollack and the rest have high hopes of writing the history of how Iraq got to this point just as all criminals enjoy inventing their alibi.

Posted by: rob payne at August 20, 2006 03:05 PM

Bush and Saddam are brothers under the skin, just a pair of misguided teens who never grew up.

Posted by: Jesus B. Ochoa at August 20, 2006 03:11 PM

I'm nostalgic for the good old days of the evil empire. Why did they have to quit in the middle of the game? You know, we could've charged them a little less for the wheat and sent them some old IBM mainframes for free and maybe they would agree to stick around a little longer.

And so now we have these no-good Islamic fascists, and some of them are not Islamic, others are not fascists, it's all fucked up and going nowhere.

Damn you, Mikhail Gorbachev.

Posted by: abb1 at August 20, 2006 04:21 PM

"...You may think that I'm a dreamer/
But I'm not the Only One/
I pray some day you'll join us/
And the Middle East will be an open market for Big Oil."

Posted by: En Ming Hee at August 20, 2006 07:50 PM

Thanks for the link SK. Amazing how hard it is for some people to understand that other people do not care to be occupied. I realize this takes and incredible amount of imagination to comprehend such a complex and convoluted concept but there you go.

Is Lamont the new shooting star of the democrats who is eclipsing Obama now a falling star?

If there have been any doubts about the conservative nature of America this article from SFgate should help clear the air.

"When political newcomer Ned Lamont announced six months ago that he was challenging Sen. Joe Lieberman in the Democratic primary, his support came mostly from grass-roots activists, a few state politicians and some liberal Internet bloggers.

But since Aug. 8, when he defeated the 18-year incumbent by about 10,000 votes, Lamont has discovered a lot of new friends especially those within the Democratic establishment who originally backed Lieberman.

As Lamont tries to win over a broader range of voters, he is enjoying support from some big-name members of the Democratic establishment including Sens. John Kerry and Hillary Clinton.

While Lamont is the Democrats' chosen new standard bearer, a new Quinnipiac University poll shows he is trailing Lieberman by 12 percentage points among likely voters. Much of Lieberman's advantage comes from his popularity among Republicans and unaffiliated voters, the largest voting block in Connecticut."

So as Lamont courts the DLC after running as a liberal and is trailing Lieberman by 12 percent, a healthy number. It would seem that after the fanfare has died away our morphing Lamont may not be such a liberal outsider after all and as the poll shows Lieberman is clearly not out of the picture yet. I note that the article says the largest voting block in Connecticut is republicans and that other fearsome slayer of democrat hope the great undecided.

United we stand undecided we fall.

So what is Lamont, liberal, outsider, insider or DLC? Apparently only time will tell.

Posted by: rob payne at August 20, 2006 08:11 PM

Lieberman? Lamont? The only thing that will change is the name on the door, or not.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 20, 2006 11:58 PM

And the door will remain closed and Pollack wins.

Posted by: rob payne at August 21, 2006 01:37 AM

Enjoy your fascist takeover in the name of God and country, you gullible Americans! I'm legally changing my name to Johnny La Rue and taking off to the Great White North!

"Oh, Canada! My home and native land..."

C'mon now, everybody! Help me out here with these words. I only have 6 more months to learn them so I don't get my ass kicked at hockey games, eh!

"Oh, Canada! Your land is frozen tundra..."

Nah, that can't be right. I need another bottle of Molsen Ale. At least you can get a buzz from Canadien beer, not like the American piss-water being passed off as brewskis here, eh!

"Oh, Canada, we'll stand on guard for thee!"

Posted by: americanintifada at August 21, 2006 03:42 AM

The ability of the "experts" to disown what they advocated for in past is astonishing. Thanks for the post I am sending it off to friends for viewing.

Posted by: Scott at August 21, 2006 09:24 AM

It's ALWAYS somebody elses fault, ain't it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 21, 2006 10:31 AM

The 'war' delivered two elections.

It'll probabaly deliver two more, as the 2008 campaign becomes a referendum on 'Who lost Iraq?" (The answer -- to save time I'll give it to you now -- is "Michael Moore, Cindy Sheehan, and whichever poor bastard gets the Democratic nomination against McCain'.)

It did its job.

It's easier if you don't think of it as a 'war', but as 'the world's most expensive campaign commerical'.

Posted by: Davis X. Machina at August 21, 2006 11:12 AM

The upside of this Iraq situation is that in 10 years every town in the US with more than 10,000 people will have at least one Iraqi restaurant. By then whether we 'won' or not won't seem to matter.

Posted by: Lloyd at August 21, 2006 07:57 PM

Jonathan, I was very disappointed by this post. You remember Professor Kissinger's great class, Memory is for the Vindicative? How moving forward together -- moving the dialogue forward - getting to peace, which we all want - requires closing our eyes to past, unimportant mistakes? Or I guess you don't remember. Pollack, I believe, took that class in the 80s, and boy, did he learn a lot from it! There is really a world of caring, decent people out there. They run the op ed pages of major newspapers. Unless you are some total loser like Noam Chomsky (n which case forget it, didn't you say something in 1979 that could imply that in one way you weren't as horrified by Pol Pot as George Will) they aren't going to get all nerdish about what some trivial thing you said yesterday - it is what you say today that is important. Today is the first day of the rest of your life -- a fresh new start! You can use it to bemoan some past, itsy bitsy war you pushed. Or you can use it for advising a muscular foreign policy - a new bombing campaign - a new proxy war - a new invasion, or just, you know, shoring up support for an old invasion once it seems totally pointless. I think this is the wisdom we all got from dear old Stutts U. - past mistakes cost your think tank nada! Who is going to complain -- the yokels in some volunteer army who couldn't even leverage their into some much higher paid mercenary force that is so wonderfully privatizing big government programs? That's to laugh! Hang in their, Polly!

Posted by: roger at August 21, 2006 09:51 PM

You gotta watch old HENRY there, roger, he'll fuck ya, fuck ya good.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at August 21, 2006 11:42 PM