There has been an argument by some liberal hawks that once we entered Iraq, it was our obligation to fix it (the whole “Pottery Barn” metaphor). This always honked me off because I knew from the get-go that this whole thing would go sideways. Nonetheless, there was a brief window after the fall of Saddam Hussein to get things to a stable enough point where we could declare Democracy and leave.
we Bush had prevented the looting of Baghdad, restored some basic services, and held elections when Gen. Garner (ret.) had wanted (over a year before they were actually held), mabye this whole mess would have not happened. Of course, the Cheney Administration didn’t give a shit about Baghdad, thought the Iraqis would meekly surrender, saw the invasion as a way to reward their political cronies, and saw Iraqi elections only as a way to provide more homefront propaganda. So it didn’t work out.
Nonetheless, every so often, war supporters, whether conservatives or the liberal hawks, would argue that Democrats and/or the Left had an obligation to clean up their idiocy. Nevermind that those who opposed the war were smeared as un-American, once things went haywire, the opposition suddenly became part of the “we” that had so roundly despised us. Here’s the problem: as brilliant as I am, I know of no way to unfuck the utterly fucked. There are times where you can’t walk it back, and you’re just screwed. With that I’ll let Kevin Drum say far more politely, what I’ve been thinking for a long time:
It’s also nice to see Zakaria acknowledge the fact that it’s understandable that Democrats don’t have much of a positive agenda for Iraq. It’s arguable whether the Iraq experiment could have worked under any circumstances, but it’s undeniable that after three years of miscues there simply aren’t any credible options left. You can’t criticize Democrats for being unable to solve a problem that’s no longer solvable.
Let the historical revisionism commence.
I thought the pottery-barn argument was a morally correct one. The only problem was our window of opportunity to fix and leave was wasted (it’s only academic whether there ever was such a window). I think a better description (not mine) is cut-and-walk. I.e. work with whatever Iraqis and their neighbors as will help to at least partially stabilize the situation as we leave. Its still a defeat, but we still have a responsibilty to minimize the cost of that defeat to the people we so wronged.
There is another option which is to recognize that Iraq is really three countries, not one. We could withdraw American troops to Kurdistan and support the Kurds in proclaiming an independent state; the American troops would then be in a position to protect the new State of Kurdistan from incursions by the Turks or Iraqi militias. Our 140,000 troops is not sufficient to restore order in Iraq, but should be sufficient to support the Kurds.
After we leave and the Taliban types take over, then what?
Let them use oil revenuses to REALLY get WMDS this time.
And of course, for enough money, their will always be a scientist somewhere to sell out.
“Fundies only IMAGINE the end of the world; scientists make it REAL” Emanuel Goldstein
In response to SLC – dividing Iraq into 3 states along ethnic lines would be one of the worst possible outcomes. The whole idea of an ethnic state is morally bankrupt because it institutionalizes discrimination against minority populations. In the modern world, people need to work together, not withdraw into ethnically cleansed enclaves.
Lets send Jimmy Carter to negotiate a deal.
Like he did with the North Koreans.
Oh, I know they built the bomb, but its not his fault.
They PROMISED they wouldn’t use the materials the Clinton administration sent for nuclear “research”.
THEY PROMISED!!! THEU PROMISED!!!
“And atheists are moral people, who always keep their word.” Dan Barker