Dover Bitch

Monday, August 06, 2007

GOP soothsayers

(Cross-posted at Hullabaloo)

Josh Marshall picks up on a key Ron Paul moment in Sunday's debate:

It's sort of obvious now that he said it. But I had not quite thought of it that way. The same people now continually raising the stakes on the price of redeployment from Iraq with increasingly lurid tales of genocide, ethnic cleansing and regional implosion are pretty much exactly the same people who gamed us into this mess in the first place with another bunch of fairy tales.

It is -- and has been -- obvious. Outside the GOP base, the people who dreamed up this nightmare have no credibility, whatsoever. Even if someone had the ability to accurately predict the future of Iraq, why would anyone think these people could? They've already demonstrated they possess the opposite of ESP.

Paul is right to mention Vietnam, the last example of a prophesied domino effect that was never to be. Somehow, nothing quells the war mongers' imaginations, though, when it comes to impending doom. The Washington Times' Tony Blankley delivered the ultimate domino rant on KCRW's Left, Right & Center back in January:

Nobody can predict. But an awful lot of experts who are not supporters of the president think there's a high likelihood that if civil war breaks out completely and were not there to contain it in any way, that Turkey will get sucked into Kurdistan, that Syria will be lapping over to support the Shias, that the Saudis, Egyptians and other Sunni countries will be giving more and more support to the beleaguered Sunni 20 percent. And in the middle of all this of course is little Israel, which according to the London Times last week, a paper of some repute having been in business for a few centuries, that they have a plan, not that they're necessarily planning to execute, they have a plan to use nuclear weapons to destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities. Now, you can't... you know, plus 19 million barrels of oil flowing through the Hormuz Straights, keeping the world's economy functioning, all in jeopardy, the Saudi oil fields, which are unfortunately for the Saudis or those Sunni country, the Shias happen to live on the Saudi oil, the danger there... so that is the most flammable possible setting.

Amazing how nobody in the White House Iraq Group or any of the president's supporters ever considered that a possibility before the invasion. At least, they never said as much. Some, like Jonah Goldberg, weren't too concerned:

Obviously, Saddam's overthrow could destabilize the region, but since when is stability the highest standard for American foreign policy? Destabilizing a stable system of cruelty and oppression sounds pretty good to me. We're all for destabilizing the mob, right?

Excellent analysis. Of course, Goldberg is now using the potential for post-departure chaos as a rhetorical weapon against the left:

Liberals used to be the ones who argued that sending U.S. troops abroad was a small price to pay to stop genocide; now they argue that genocide is a small price to pay to bring U.S. troops home.

Nobody is making the argument Goldberg assigns to liberals and, beyond that, there's little reason to believe our current strategy in Iraq is sustainable.

But let's face it, nobody who said this can claim to truly care about the Iraqis:

Q: If you're the leader of a peaceful and prosperous nation which serves as the last best hope of humanity and the backbone of international stability and a bunch of fanatics murder thousands of your people on your own soil, what's one of the smartest thing you can do?

A: Knock the crap out of Iraq.

Why Iraq? Well, there are two answers to that question.

The first answer is "Why not?" (If it helps, think of Bluto burping "Why not?" in Animal House.)

The second answer: Iraq deserved it.

Now. Here's the important part: Both of these are good answers.

More compassion from Goldberg:

"In the weeks prior to the war to liberate Afghanistan, a good friend of mine would ask me almost every day, "Why aren't we killing people yet?" And I never had a good answer for him. Because one of the most important and vital things the United States could do after 9/11 was to kill people."

The people who support this war don't care about the Iraqi death tolls. They're not motivated by any kind of real fear for the Iraqis' well-being. Of the millions displaced, only a few hundred have been allowed into the United States. The Iraqis are second-class citizens in their own country. Instead of concern for any Iraqis who might have been abused, the Right attacks anybody who alleges misconduct. They attack the credibility of any serious efforts to quantify the loss of Iraqi lives.

I'll not be lectured on compassion or history by any of them. But my point is that, aside from their cataractous crystal balls and pathological lack of empathy, the proponents of this debacle all have ample motives to push this looming-crisis meme, even if they don't actually believe it (assuming they even bothered to consider its validity as opposed to marketability).

We hear about the risks of leaving, but the risk of staying is clear. Every single day our troops are in Iraq, they are an unfortunate incident away from triggering a war with Iran. Thanks to the Lieberman Amendment passed a few weeks ago, our troops now have a Congressional mandate to increase their potential interaction with Iran. The last thing the PNAC signatories want to see happen is our troops leaving that powder keg. Anything they say to dissuade our egress should be viewed through that lens.

And for whatever GOP dead-enders there are whose thirst for blood is nearly quenched, there has to be a set-up for the "I told you so" that will inevitably come with every death after we walk. The "party of surrender" must be held to account for every problem that ensues after the order to leave is signed. The GOP enablers who allowed Bush to turn Iraq into the mess it is today won't be satisfied until they pin all the responsibility on the liberals.

Could the Iraqis suffer more if we leave? It's a possibility. But they don't want us there and the fools who started this war and the lunatics who want to expand it just can't be taken seriously when the question is debated.

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