Trust no one

After having done all it could to pour combustible fuel on the national bonfire and amplification to the pre-Iraq drumbeat for war… the Grey Lady insists that it now has religion, and hence, gives us this long jeremiad on why the United States should immediately get out of Iraq. Well well. The esteemed “news” institution that employed Saddam-WMD-confabulator Judith Miller and still employs court stenographer Michael Gordon, and who deliberately understated the extent of opposition to the Iraq War in order to hype that war with the twin goals of (1) getting a seat at the tough guys’ table and, presumably, (2) increasing its own advertising revenues… now tells us that the war IT HELPED US GET INTO is too far gone… and… we should go home.
I’ve said before that just as irrationality (and irrationality among the informed/educated class who reads the Grey Lady) helped irrationally get us into Iraq in the first place, it now calls for an immediate withdrawal… again, all without a rational argument! Unbelievable, when you think about it. Just unbelievable.
First and foremost, we MUST stop permitting talk of the nonsense that Iraq is, was, or ever will be about “terrorism”. Saddam more or less had terrorism in Iraq under control, albeit by sheer brutality. The joke is that Saddam hated al Qaeda and might have been more than willing to help us thwart OBL and the gang… because it served his own interests not to have Sunni extremists running around who might inflame his own population. And Saddam hated our current bete noire, Iran, and kept Iran largely checked in the region. The fact is, our own missteps have allowed al-Anbar province to become a proto-state for “Al Qaeda in Iraq”, a more or less homegrown group with at best peripheral ties to OBL… our withdrawal will certainly not remove that group, nor will our staying necessarily remove it… If anything, our staying gives this particular group of terrorists a nice recruiting and rallying point. So, terrorism? No, no, no, no…
Look, folks: Junior wanted to call this “Operation Iraqi Liberation…” Karl, who, unlike Junior, could spell, insisted that even Americans could get something as unsubtle as calling this war about oil “O.I.L.”… and “Operation Iraqi Freedom” was born. But that’s it: Iraq has the second-largest proven oil reserves in the world… and always will. The idea is that Saddam was a wild-card– he might release that oil in an… uncontrolled way, with who knows what effect on Saudi (and Exxon Mobil) revenues. Hence, he had to be stopped… hanged by the Mahdi Army if necessary, damn the consequences.
Using the ideologically irrational (if not bat-shit insane) fears of neo-cons like Feith and Wolfowitz who sold themselves that Saddam was Hitler and meant to wipe out Israel (the same script now in play re: Iran) and the general irrational appeals to fear and jingoism (lessons of September 11th… the smoking gun had better not – 9-11– be a mushroom cloud– 9-11- 9-11) coupled with outright lies and Congressional laziness (or worse), as its cover, we got ourselves into Iraq in the first place with virtually no real national debate (lots of national shouting… but no grown-up debate)… and it looks like we may be having the “get-out” debate the same way.
Don’t blame me: I came out against this war in August, 2002, when it became obvious to me that its purpose had nothing to do with Saddam WMDs– we couldn’t afford to have waited as long as August, 2002 if it really did. It’s purpose (besides, you know, oil) was, in my view at the time, about winning the November 2002 mid-terms… and it sure worked out for that… not to mention the 2004 general election.
So, once again, I will make it easy. The proposal the Grey Lady offers of getting American forces out of Iraq as fast as logistics allows will result in a probable doubling, and possibly tripling, of world oil prices… our troops are not merely stabilizing conditions in Iraq right now… they are saving us from $7/gallon gasoline. They are preventing Iraq’s chaos from blowing over into Saudi, Iran and the Gulf States. Take the Middle Eastern oil-patch out of circulation… or even threaten that– and you run the risk of devastating the world economy. Worse still, countries with more coal than oil (the USA, Australia… China…) will rush to do the expedient thing and exploit that coal, accelerating our already potentially devastating global warming troubles, not to mention ordinary pollution effects like acid rain and lung disease.
It’s a fair point that the answer may be “no” of whether it still pays or makes sense for us to hemmorage money and our countrymen and women in the cause… whatever that cause is. Frankly, if it encourages us to conserve and build solar and wind generators as if we really needed them to win a war… then I would say “get out yesterday”. But given the real likely effects of economic and geo-political disruption which, as usual, will probably let the Bush Cheney class profit anyway while causing still more suffering to everyone else… do we really want to do this?
The Grey Lady (and the rest of the commercial media) might at least have the decency to ask these actual relevant questions… Naturally, they don’t. As with telling you the real story of what we are doing in the so-called Global War on Terror… it probably comes down to us– the ultimate independent media… without any particular agenda, save hopefully reason and the truth… people with no ads to sell, no Beltway party invitations to compete for…
Well. We’d damned well better ask these questions ourselves. Again: we who knew enough not to go in IN THE FIRST PLACE are the ones who can best be trusted to talk about this now. Seriously. Which really does knock out the likes of the Grey Lady and its feckless (and gutless) editorial page. As bad as the United States staying in Iraq is, we must face up to the fact that leaving will cause a shit-storm. Are we prepared for it? Are you driving a Prius? Do you have your solar-collector and wind-generators up and running? Can you walk to work if it came to that? Can you grow your own food?
These are deadly serious questions– that have to be asked before we can blithely just pick up and leave Iraq. Just as the benefits of a cost-free removal of Saddam were sold to us… we only see the “benefits” (or at least reduced cost in terms of American casualties– we only care about American casualties)… without the cost of what will happen if we leave– both to the Iraqi people (God help them) and the rest of the Middle East, not to mention geo-political and petro-political stability.
Will somebody please God-damned ask these questions… and do the cost-benefit analysis of leaving Iraq that was never undertaken before we got stuck there? Or are we no longer capable of objective thinking?