Raznor's Rants

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Note to pundits - stop pretending sophistry is seriousness

Posted by Raznor

Glenn Greenwald points to a Peggy Noonan column that is really quite indicative of the level of cowardly posturing that is considered "serious" by today's pundit class. Greenwald notes:

Among the political and punditry establishment, there has emerged a consensus that there is only one way to show that one is a truly respectable, mainstream, Serious Thinker about the war. It is to do this:

(1) acknowledge (reluctantly) that the war is going very poorly and wrinkle one's foreheads to show grave concern over the problem;

(2) oppose escalation (but respectfully, acknowledging what a serious, thoughtful -- even resolute -- option it is);

(3) oppose withdrawal (categorically, dismissively, snidely, as though any person with a grain of responsibility would never think of such a thing, given how patently reckless it is).

It all really is a disgusting exercise. And it's not just Noonan. This is a standard for political pundits, even, and especially, the so-called "liberal" pundits, like Joe Klein and Richard Cohen, who go on about the illiberal left, but don't have the cojones to actually offer a solution.

But really, I wanted to respond to Noonan's concluding paragraph:

What is paramount, it seems to me, is a hard, cold-eyed, even brutal look at America's interests. We have them. I'm not sure they've been given sufficient attention the past few years. In fact, I am sorry to say I believe they have not.

Really? That's nice because I and many other war opponents have been saying this for the past four years while you've been blindly triumphing Dear Leader's resolve. But let's take a "hard, cold-eyed, even brutal look at America's interests."

Iraq is a quagmire. There were so many mistakes made early on (not least of which was invading Iraq in the first place) that there really is no way to repair the damage. As soon as we leave there will be a blood bath. I expect that the government that we installed will partake in a massive ethnic cleansing of Sunnis, then act as a puppet government of Iran, then there will be another bloody war as the Kurds seek secession from the Shia government, which, if we're lucky, will result merely in a bloody conflict that is negotiated to a partitioning of Iraq to allow for a Kurdistan. Of course, it could also suck in Turkey and Iran who wish to prevent a Kurdistan from existing, and spiral into a massive regional war. The only possible winner of this war can be Iran, and lo and behold, Iran will emerge as a new great power, just as Japan emerged as a great power after the Russo-Japanese War.

But this is a worst case scenario. The only thing up there I'm more than 50% certain of occurring is the ethnic cleansing, but I hold out some hope that that can be prevented. The thing I'm 100% certain of, though, is that Iran will emerge as the most powerful nation in the region, whose chief regional rival will be Israel, since Israel has vastly superior military technology. But what Iran lacks in hard power it makes up for in soft power, or do you think the population of of Central Asia and the Arab Penninsula trusts Israelis more than Persians?

What I'm also certain of is that there is very little chance that there's anything America can militarily do to prevent this. We best damn well start normalizing relations with Iran, because we'll have to deal with them one way or another. We do not have the ability to occupy Iran, and I'm not entirely sure we could even overthrow the Iranian government if we were to invade. What is also certain, is the longer we stay in Iraq, and especially if we escalate to invade Syria and Iran, the weaker we'll be, and the more leverage we give to Iran.

And all this is not based on an unserious frivolity, it's based on a "hard, cold-eyed, and even brutal look at America's interests." There is nothing to salvage in Iraq. The only thing to do is to ignore our damn national pride and get the fuck out of there as soon as possible. In fact, I would even remember Bismark's advice to stay out of the Balkans and apply that to the Middle East. Get as far away from the Middle East as possible. Find alternative fuels to oil so that we can stay out and let it work itself out.

But for now, get out of Iraq. Of course, to Bush, his ego is more important than America, so we'll have to wait at least 2 years until that happens. I hope we still have a military after that.


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