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October 22, 2007

Mother Jones On Leaving Iraq

The latest issue of Mother Jones has a giant feature on all the different aspects of getting out of Iraq. It's complicated.

Posted at October 22, 2007 07:18 PM | TrackBack

Thanks for the link, Jon.

Thanks for the nausea, too.

I found the premise of the discussion surrealistic.

Wouldn't it be neat to avoid a genocide?
Or a bloodbath among US troops as they withdraw?
Or can we get Maliki to shape up? (It's all about
character, my friends -- you know, those devious Orientals.)
Soft partition? Why? Well, it might lessen
the horrific violence. Yes, remember India?
OK, so we'll keep an over-the-horizon presence
just to save lives. That's the least we can do.
God knows we've screwed up. Time to make amends.

It's nice to know everyone is wrestling with the only
question that matters: What is the best strategy for the US
to position itself as the leading contender
for the Nobel Peace Prize next year!

So let's have a debate between those who want to leave now
because it's the moral thing to do and those who want
to stay now because it's the moral thing to do.

Man, I've never seen so many moral people in my life!

But, since I don't know squat about morality,
I'll take a whack at it.

Will we stay in Iraq, Bernard? Yes, we will!
Why? We will stay in Iraq because it's the evil thing to do.

How so?

1. Iraq sits on 30 trillion dollars worth of oil.
The US has invested 1 trillion bucks and 4,000 lives: do the math.

2. Iran is the new regional power. Iraq used to keep it in check but,
thanks to our own special genius, no more!
Leave Iraq and kiss the Great Game good-bye.

3. Civil war is bad! No. Civil war is great.
Peace would be a nightmare. Then the Iraqis would
pull a Charles de Gaulle on us and say "go home" and then what?
Whereas a nice little civil war (nothing toooo big)
perpetually justifies our presence.
"If we leave, al Qaeda wins!"

4. But the human cost. Americans won't put up with it.
The human cost is nonexistent. For bleeding hearts like me,
the deaths of 4,000 soldiers the age of my son
makes me want to puke. The plight of Iraqis gives me nightmares.
But that's my problem. In the real world, Iraqis don't count and
4,000 dead in 5 years is chicken shit.
The NRA has no problem convincing politicians
than, for the sake of freedom, it's fine if guns kill more of our own
people than cancer does. So you think we'll stop for a second
mourning over the loss of 4,000 kids (at least without Barbara Walters
telling us when to weep and when to eat pop corn.)

5. OK, fine, but we all know that once the Dems are in charge
they'll take us out of Iraq. Let me state it loud and clear:
withdrawal from Iraq is LESS likely with the Dems in power
than the Republicans. Yes, less likely. That's because
the Dems would rather eat their children for breakfast than
admit defeat in this war. Mark my words: Hillary will not lose a war.
Her penis envy won't let her. Nothing sexist in this comment, by the way.
All Dems suffer from penis envy: especially the men.

6. But what about war-weariness, battle fatigue, broken armies....?
Cry me a river. That's propaganda to justify more defense spending.
Or if I am wrong and, indeed, the US army is broken because
it lost 4,000 soldiers and it can't defeat a ragtag band of insurgents
with AK47s, then it is truly the most pathetic, crybabyish
imperial army ever assembled. (I insist on that point because
MJ helpfully includes an "Iraq War Lingo" which tells us that
"Trunk monkeys" (aka Iraqi soldiers) suffer from "Tiny heart syndrome"
(aka, cowardice)... Yeah, that's how the mighty GI talks
when he is not whining about unarmored humvees
and stop losses and other inconveniences that REAL soldiers with BIG HEART know how to laugh off.

But anyway important people don't fight in the trenches any more.
The son of the British
prime minister was killed at the battle of the Somme in 1916.
But that was then. This is now, and
the only danger Jenna and Barbara will ever
face is to befriend Paris Hilton.

The only cost of this war is economic: it'll be a while
before the 30 trillion dollars of black goo turns into hard cash.
In the meantime, the country is going broke.
Oh, not really because of the bill for the war; it's easy to pay for the war
(just cut lunch programs for the poor and health insurance for the kids).
No, the country is going broke because
it's behaving as though it were twice as heavy economically
as it really is. (An attitude acquired in the
exuberance of the post-Hiroshima years).

Did you see that the first baby-boomer cashed
her social security check? Funny no one in the Mother Jones piece
mentioned that. That is what
will make Iraq the graveyard of the American empire.
But be patient, it'll take a while to play itself out. (Or maybe not so long when the Chinese get tired of being played for fools with their depreciating greenbacks.)

In the meantime, please spare me the sob stories about
the Iraqis and the Kurds and the GIs and how
that mountain of misery, real as it is,
will have anything to do with what we'll do in Iraq.

Bush's Korea analogy may well be remembered as
the most astute thing he ever said. We'll be in Iraq until we're kicked out.

No need for a Mother Jones special issue to reach that conclusion.

Posted by: Bernard Chazelle at October 22, 2007 10:22 PM

Bernard Chazelle: True, true, every bit of it true, but are you still paying YOUR TAXES? (I spend mine callin' Nancy)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 22, 2007 11:07 PM
we're all warmongers now, i guess. i'm gonna go shove my head in the sand.


Bernard: Need more emphasis on Iran. I'm penciling in the spring of 2008. Hoping for the HD TiVo to come down to reasonable price over the holidays this year to capture the event. Nice rant tho, and agree right down the line. And I particularly agree with the notion that the military should not be looked on as some untouchable institution; we're being dragged by the shorthairs based on THAT premise.

Posted by: Ted at October 23, 2007 09:30 AM

Why the f--k is Mother Jones letting the Vice President of Dyncorp frame this debate?

But as General Anthony Zinni, former head of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told us, "Your conscience is not clean just because you're a peace demonstrator."

Call me a communist, but I generally don't take moral advice from mercenaries.

Posted by: Carl at October 23, 2007 10:58 AM

Carl: I must agree with the General, MY FELLOW TAXPAYER, that which WE PAY FOR, WE OWN. Where were the mighty legions of protesters, and 70% national opinions opposing BEFORE the killing began? Everyone bought into Rummy's quickie war which turned into a sticky war. Everyone, 90% of the nation, was all for BLOOD AND CONQUEST(let's face facts, WE ALL wanted that CHEAP GASOLINE PRICE AT THE PUMP)(still do)(how will the workers pay to go to work, or Mom buy groceries and take the kids to practice?)at the begining.
THIS IS OUR WAR, and nobody's leaving it.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 23, 2007 12:34 PM

M. Meyer:
That you didn't hear me protesting doesn't mean I wasn't protesting.

If you want me to take ownership of this fucked up war (and which war isn't fucked up) then I will: Shut the thing down.

We have no moral obligation beyond getting the fuck out. It was illegal and immoral. To say we now must do the moral thing is to ignore how we got there. The only moral thing left is to get the fuck out now, say "I'm sorry" and ship all the guys who started this (GWB, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Rummy) off to The Hague.

To do anything other than leave is to continue this immoral abomination.

Posted by: Willy at October 23, 2007 01:05 PM

Willy: Nice idea, now, where is the PLAN, the direction, for doing it? My guess is YOU ARE NOT going to stop paying YOUR TAXES this year(and play AMERICA's favorite game, Face The Beast). How about, wait patiently and quietly until the Cavalry(pick your favorite) arrives to save the day and OUR asses. Maybe it will all burn out on it's own SOON, the blood letting and murder reach it natural conclusion and WE "get the oil".
WE already know of YOUR contribution toward the war with YOUR TAXES, as WE ALL are just as responsible in that respect, but to RUN AWAY and leave behind ALL YOUR wealth and possessions to the cause, YOUR family and friends to face the consequences(and the cannons)is a GOOD plan for YOU, but what of the rest of us, who have lived by YOU, worked with YOU, been YOUR friends, YOUR neighbors, YOUR family, all YOUR life. What about US? Where can you go to avoid THAT question? STAY AND FIGHT---work toward IMPEACHMENT. (It's our ONLY LEGAL OPTION at this time)

Posted by: Mike Meyer at October 23, 2007 02:23 PM

Only had time yesterday after picking up the mail to flip through the 'out how' articles in MJ, but was saddened and surprised that the entire thing appears to be given over to Very Serious People, none of whom appear to think that ending the occupation itself is an overridingly important goal. It was like a special issue of the Atlantic or something.

I was literally just flipping through the pages, not really reading, so will be interested tonight to see if my impression was wrong.

Posted by: Nell at October 23, 2007 06:53 PM