Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Iraq Clouds Forming

Not being a partisan of any political party allows one to think independently of any party line, zero base thinking if you will. My opinion is that George W. Bush presidency is the 21st century equivalent of the fictional Babylon Five colony: the last, best hope for mankind, at least the world in which I live. The only viable alternative would cut and run in the Middle East, abandon Israel, raise taxes and spending, and generally make even more of a cock-up of things. But that being said, I am still far from a fan of any politician or party, and it is becoming clear that our government is creating, in Iraq, a situation that threatens much of the improvement and promise that seemed possible after we toppled the madman and his sons last year.

As we all know, government can fuck up a wet dream. Competing interests within the various departments and bureaucracies within the federal government make the achievment of a goal, even a goal as clear as that laid out by the president, almost impossible. Bush has been little more successful at making the State Department bow to his authority than any of his predecessors. The military is also semi-autonomous as well as recently gutted, especially after eight years of diminishment at the hands of the Clintonian 'peace dividend" quest left Bush with a million men missing and half the Navy in mothballs, compared with the position his father found himself in, in 1991. Intelligence was in a shambles when Bush came to Washington, as we all know too well. Still, the buck stops in the oval office, and telling myself that Gore would have done orders of magnitude worse does not make a bad situatiuon better.

Simply put, Iraq stands on the verge of a civil war. Not the insurgency you read about in the press. I'm talking about the one that Iyad Allawi will bring upon himself when he refuses to bow to the will of the people. And it's our fault. Rather than trusting the very democratic principles that our own nation is founded upon, our government put up a puppet regime; one over which we are in the process of losing control. Any doubt about this was erased by the indictment of Ahmad Chalabi and his son by a kangaroo court that was established by our own homegrown ex-puppet, Paul Bremer.

In fact, I've got to agree with Chalabi that our biggest error was in occupying Iraq instead of turning it over to Iraqi caretakers. The American government has a problem with control, just as all governments do. Rather than trusting the people of Iraq to do the right thing, or even allowing them to do the wrong thing, the U.S. and British government decided to control everything. The result was that they controlled nothing but chaos, and reaped no glory, only blame. And, under our politicized media-driven system, much of that blame goes to Bush.

But I don't see it that way. Under a Gore or Kerry presidency, the Saddam Hussein crime family would still be putting dissidents in shredders, raping women at whim, and gassing the Kurds. Twenty five thousand dollars would still be given to the family of any suicide bomber in Israel. Has anyone noticed that there are no more of those lately? Peace movements are rising in Syria and Egypt and the rest of the Arab world, and no Senator or ex-senator can take credit for that.

We are at war. War is chaotic and hazardous. When Eisenhower, in the greatest blunder of the second world war, forgot to guard the route the Germans had taken twice before, with tremendous loss of life to our forces, nobody thought to remove him. The New York Times did not run articles second guessing him, or reminding him that the Ardennes Forest was the traditional route to attack France. No, we exhorted Ike to continue killing Germans until the threat to our way of life was extinguished. Just the same, today, we must continue to take the fight to the enemy. The very idea of putting a bunch of pacifists in charge in the middle of a war is ludicrous. Kerry will not even say what he plans to do. He asks us to trust him. He asks us to blame Bush for the very messiness of war, as if he could run a clean one. Indeed, his strategy, as far as can be gleaned from his public statements on the matter, would be to pretend that this war is not even there, and to hope to avoid taking any action that might point some blame his way.

What we need is courageous leadership, but we have no chance of getting that. What we have is a choice between a highly moral man who will continue to do what he sees as the right thing, and a craven coward who ran from battle thirty five years ago, and will do the same today. We have, in one corner, the very best friend that Israel has ever had in the White House, versus a man who can not, or will not, even utter the name of that country or its people. To me, that is no choice at all. Bush's government may have made some serious mistakes after their brilliant victory in Iraq. A Kerry government would not have, they would never have been there in the first place. Electing Kerry would be a huge mistake. The middle of a war is no time to elect a peace president. There may be a fog in war, but the fog that surrounds Mr. Kerry and his plans, if he even has any, is completely impenetrable. We must, we must, reelect Bush. No election in my lifetime has ever been this important. Mondale never had a chance. We need to take heed, and do the same thing this time, too.