Comments: New Tomdispatch

To fix this, you have to break the frame. Tinkering is not going to get you anywhere useful. Here are my suggestions :

- Go after the billions of stolen money. This seems like a "nice but not essential" piece, but it should be done first as it will discredit the architects of this mess more thoroughly than anything else. Once you send the architects to jail for theft, it will also be much easier to start the necessary war crimes investigations.

- Apologize to the Iraqi people, and offer our assistance to the extent possible. Publicly announce that we will leave as soon as they want, and follow through with it when they take us up on it and say, immediately.

- Encourage our Afghan government to negotiate with the Taliban. Begin a real program of Afghan assistance, preferably under international control.

- Publicly announce that there are no fundamental American conflicts with Iran, and ask for their help in stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan. Base American policy thereafter on their reaction to this. This could be timed to appeal to the winner of the next Iranian Presidential election (12 June, 2009) but I am not sure I would wait that long.

- Shift our relationship with Pakistan from military to civilian assistance. There is no fundamental reason why Pakistan should not be booming as much as India, and we should do what we can to make that happen.

We as a nation have got to get out of the mode where no policy, once started, can ever be stopped or, really, even discussed on a a national basis. (See the war on drugs, which drags on even though it is unpopular and widely seen as a failure.) This is a fatal attribute in a great power, and I fear that this will require change from the top down.

Posted by Marshall at November 1, 2008 10:12 AM

To fix this, you have to break the frame. Tinkering is not going to get you anywhere useful. Here are my suggestions :

- Go after the billions of stolen money. This seems like a "nice but not essential" piece, but it should be done first as it will discredit the architects of this mess more thoroughly than anything else. Once you send the architects to jail for theft, it will also be much easier to start the necessary war crimes investigations.

- Apologize to the Iraqi people, and offer our assistance to the extent possible. Publicly announce that we will leave as soon as they want, and follow through with it when they take us up on it and say, immediately.

- Encourage our Afghan government to negotiate with the Taliban. Begin a real program of Afghan assistance, preferably under international control.

- Publicly announce that there are no fundamental American conflicts with Iran, and ask for their help in stabilizing Iraq and Afghanistan. Base American policy thereafter on their reaction to this. This could be timed to appeal to the winner of the next Iranian Presidential election (12 June, 2009) but I am not sure I would wait that long.

- Shift our relationship with Pakistan from military to civilian assistance. There is no fundamental reason why Pakistan should not be booming as much as India, and we should do what we can to make that happen.

We as a nation have got to get out of the mode where no policy, once started, can ever be stopped or, really, even discussed on a a national basis. (See the war on drugs, which drags on even though it is unpopular and widely seen as a failure.) This is a fatal attribute in a great power, and I fear that this will require change from the top down.

Posted by Marshall at November 1, 2008 10:12 AM

P.S. I would swear I only pushed "post" once. Sorry for the duplicate.

Posted by Marshall at November 1, 2008 10:14 AM

A "change from the top down?"
But why would those on top change anything? They're on top. Nice life, up there.

We need a change from the bottom up. Get the rabble into the streets. Build the barricades. Bring plenty of water and granola bars.

Of course, ain't gonna happen. Sheep don't turn into tigers. Hell, not even into goats.

Posted by donescobar at November 1, 2008 10:33 AM

donescobar: True, but they can get rabies.

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 1, 2008 12:51 PM

Rabies we already have. So, you must mean rabbits.
Not bad-- let five-hundred thousand rabbits run loose in DC and cover our institutions with those little rabbit turds. After that, a second invasion. When the National Guard starts shooting the cute little bunnies, Americans will laugh, cry, throw up. We'll have our first modern national catharsis.
Then, of course, back to business as usual. Ordnung muss sein.

Posted by donescobar at November 1, 2008 01:10 PM

"The War on Terror" is an outrcopping of an out of control bureaucracy intent on giving itself a duty. Once the element of profit is added, few can become part of it while still being opposed.

Posted by tim at November 1, 2008 05:00 PM

...out of control bureaucracy intent on giving itself a duty

Yeah, sure. Or, alternatively, it's an absolutely vital component providing the raison d'etre; something to define yourself against; The Big Other, like The Evil Empire in The Cold War. The most important thing in the world; without it everything falls apart.

Posted by abb1 at November 1, 2008 06:11 PM

This administration and others like may not need GOD but they gotta have that devil. Its the ols
d saw about the clash of good and evil, they're good, of course, and ???(pick a name) is evil. But in reality they're just helping U with that ole nasty money.

Posted by Mike Meyer at November 1, 2008 06:43 PM

abb1: war as a fashion statement. How sophisticated they must feel!

Posted by tim at November 2, 2008 08:32 PM