BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi leaders warned on Monday that an early U.S. troop withdrawal could tip Iraq into all-out civil war after the New York Times said debate was growing in the White House over a gradual scaling-down of forces... "This could produce a civil war, partition of the country and a regional war. We might see the country collapse," Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, a Kurd, told a news conference when asked about the New York Times report. (Full)
After swallowing my first mouthful of coffee, I heard myself declare out loud, "So what!"
I quickly scanned the room to see if anyone might have heard me. I mean, it was such a heartless way to feel, right? Isn't Iraq and deadly conditions oppressing ordinary Iraqis one of the things we Americans are supposed to care about? Like Darfur?
It took a moment for that first gulp of caffeine to jar awake enough neurons. When it did I blurted again; "No f—king way!" Then I reissued my initial judgment on idea that, if US troops leave, Iraq will descend into all out civil war; "So what! Let-er rip."
The threat that Iraq would devolve in civil war if we reduce our military presence is just the latest in a long string of bogus excuses and justifications for Bush's oil and blood-stained mess in Mesopotamia. Each lie served its purposed until choked to death by the truth. Then the administration replaced it with a fresh piece of complete nonsense. The threat of an Iraq civil war is their latest offering.
So here we go again – and again the administration's little helpers are Iraqi leaders – or would-be leaders. These guys have become accustomed to living fat off US taxpayer money while being protected by US GIs. So, is it any surprise they sing backup for the Bushie band?
That's what's going on here. Both the Bushies and their pretend democratic government in Iraq are now just singing for time. Bush needs time to get out of Dodge before the whole thing blows. And Iraq's "leaders" realize that the day their US protectors depart, Maliki and friends will be swinging from Baghdad lampposts like so many auto air fresheners.
Or as the Daily Show's, Jon Stewart, put it:
All of which is reason for you to get ready for a blizzard of new and old "reasons" we can't just pull our troops out of Iraq. It's gonna get intense, so here's my "So what's" for when I run into right-wing family members or friends armed with their own FOX Noise talking points:
The Real Deal: Ah, too late. The US-engineered deposing of Saddam's Sunni dictatorship, was the best thing to happen to the Iranians since the invention of rugs.
They claim: The Kurds in northern Iraq will attempt to set up their own independent nation and lay claim to the oil-rich areas around Kirkuk.
The Real Deal: Ah, too late, again. The Kurds have already renamed their part of Iraq, "Kurdistan," and they treat it accordingly. As for Kirkuk, while everyone has been focused on Bush's Baghdad surge, the Kurds have been doing a bit of house cleaning of their own in Kirkuk by evicting Sunnis' transplanted there by Saddam's regime.
They claim: Al-Qaida will turn Iraq into a new base of operations, like their former one in Afghanistan.
The Real Deal: Fat chance. If US troops announced they would immediately begin withdrawing, buses heading for Syria would be packed with al-Qaida fighters trying to flee. Those unable to get a seat would turn themselves into departing American forces begging for a room at Gitmo. Because once Americans leave the "enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend," dynamic that allowed al-Qaida to operate in Sunni areas, would vanish in a puff. The Sunnis never much cared for al-Qaida to begin with, and they like them even less now that they've gotten to know them better. The first order of business after US troops leave Iraq would be to get rid of these unpredictable, violent, and foreign controlled al-Qaida fighters. The Sunnis would begin killing them like rattlers during a Texas snake roundup. The Shiites would wait for surviving al-Qaida fighters to run to them for help and open their arms to them -- like a Venus fly trap.
They claim: Without US troops Iraq will become unstable.
The Real Deal: Too late.
They claim: We need to remain in Iraq in order to give the Iraq government time to pass an oil-sharing law and solidify a government of reconciliation.
The Real Deal: Yeah, and theoretically put enough monkeys pounding away at enough typewriters and they'll eventually produce an entire encyclopedia too. The Iraqi government is not a government. It's some kind of 12-step program for the democratically challenged. And they haven't even completed Step 1 yet. Nor are they inclined to do so. The only reason they show up for meetings at all is because their sponsor says they must if they want to keep getting paid and protected.
They claim: Iraq will break up as nation if we leave.
The Real Deal: So what? When Bush invaded he handed Iraq to the Shiite majority, and they're in no mood to give any of i it back, if they can avoid it. The whole national unity business is just another bit of bogus Bush business. Same goes for the "democracy" thing, all just one big Kabuki dance performed when members of Congress or the US media show up to check on progress. Nothing has changed except which who's in charge. Forget "one-man-one-vote." Iraq has always been, and remains, a one-bullet-one-vote sorta joint. The fact of the matter is that Iraq is not a real nation, because it has never been one. It's three tribal areas. Oh, and they hate each other. Always have. Always will.
They claim: If we leave now before democracy takes root in Iraq the entire region will remain a democracy-free zone.
The Real Deal: Another "so what." Go ahead and accuse me of engaging in what Bush likes to call the "bigotry of low expectations." But it should be clear by now that the Arab Muslim world – intellectually crippled by un-reconstructed Islam – isn't ready for democracy. When it's forced on them they simply misuse it to make matters worse – worse for themselves and worse for anyone foolish enough to believe otherwise. Go head, show me one – just one -- example of a democratic vote in the Arab world leading to anything but a fresh sh*t storm. The Muslim Middle East is a mess. But they need to be forced to own their own messes. Because only then will they be forced to recalibrate their thinking, and behavior.
They claim: If civil war in Iraqi spreads it could throw the entire region into chaos threatening the West's supply of oil.
The Real Deal: Duh! And just how long do you want to continue being held hostage to that particular reality?
Yes, the old Bush excuses have indeed worn thin. Which is why the administration is desperately searching for a replacement excuse. They need one and need one fast, to buy time. They need just one more to get them to end of their term in office. Which is precisely what the White House is up to right now ... cooking up another reason why US troops need to continue having a "presence" in Iraq.
Officials fear that political support for president's strategy is collapsing.
WASHINGTON | Defense Secretary Robert Gates has scrapped plans to go on a four-nation tour of Latin America this week and instead will stay home to attend meetings on Iraq, the Pentagon announced Sunday. The meetings are related to a progress report on Iraq that is due to be delivered to Congress by July 15. (Full)
Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall during those meetings! Somehow the administration has to figure out an excuse that buys them enough time. Time for what? For democracy to bloom in Iraq? Forgetaboutit. Global warming will turn Iraq into world's biggest pizza oven before that happens.
No, what the Bushies need more than anything right now is time to get out of Dodge on January 21, 2009. After that they could care less what happened in Iraq. Because either way they get to wash their hands of the mess. One way or another the next administration will have to withdraw US troops, after which Iraq will descend into civil war. Then the Bushies will stand around looking smugger than usual clucking, "told you so."
I suspect the next excuse they cook up to stay will simply be a retreaded version of their old "al-Qaida in Iraq" excuse. What else do they have left? At least this time -- unlike four years ago -- it will be true. Now there really are al-Qaida fighters in Iraq. They came there to kill US citizens because it saved them the danger and trouble of trying to sneak into the US do it.
Which means that, at least for al-Qaida, if not folks in News Orleans – Bush delivers.