I am having the roughest time getting my mind off of what is currently going on in Iraq and thinking of other things that maybe I have more control over. If you read my Slashdot Journal posts from a year or so ago, you can see that I have never really been for this war, even though I did mention once that I thought Saddam should have been removed from power way back in 1991 during Gulf War I.
By provoking a cleric who is perhaps not popular with the average Iraqi on the street, but who seems to be extremely popular with a segment of Iraqi population which is prone to fall in with those actively fighting the US Occupation forces, (Disaffected teen to young adult males with little or no prospects for upward mobility) we have pissed off the one person we shouldn't have pissed off. Let's look a minute at Mullah Sadr. He is still considered a student rather than a teacher by the Shia muslim clerical establishment in Iraq. He's still quite young by their standards...early 30s. He's loud. But if we hadn't gone on the warpath against him, and just let him publish his screeds in his newspaper, he would have still been marginalized by the mainstream of the Iraqi body politic. What did we do? We gave him instant legitimacy by first cracking down on his newspaper, then by putting a price on his head.
The Saddam-ites of Fallujah are a different kettle of fish entirely. These are the most fanatical of the pro-Saddam camp, a bunch of people who knew damn well what side their bread is buttered on back in the days when Saddam ruled with an iron fist. They see the time ticking down for the Occupation and the handoff date drawing near. Once the US has handed over control of the country to their hand-picked provisional government, a second clock begins ticking, marking the months and days before elections and a truly representational government in Iraq. They know they won't have much of a chance in open elections. So they are raising hell now with the goal of making the US reluctant to hand over power and start the clock ticking to a real Iraqi-run Iraq. If we don't hand over the reins on 6/30, these guys will be able to go "See! We told you so!" and really stir up some shit.
What was bad is now getting worse at lightning speed. I still think that "you break it, you bought it" is the philosophical maxim that is going to have to keep us in Iraq on this dreadful fool's errand until we have stablized things or until things destabilize on the home front enough to force us, hat in hand, to negotiate terms of withdrawal like we had to do in Vietnam. We cannot simply walk away from this mess, because it is our creation. Nixon had one up over Bush The Younger in that he cared that people looked on him as a statesman in foreign policy, no matter what he was thought of at home for his electoral dirty tricks. Bush The Younger, like fellow Southern "man of action" Rhett Butler, frankly, my dear, doesn't give a damn
about what posterity thinks of him.
No amount of character assassination of those attempting to get the truth out about George W. Bush will silence every critic. Bush The Younger's only hope is that people's fear of the unknown while in a wartime footing will overcome their anger at being drawn into what is looking like a bloodier and bloodier conflict that we started unilaterally under false pretenses. Even some Reaganites are saying that this was a mistake.
I ask anew the question I asked almost a year ago in my Slashdot journal. Who's the worse liar, someone who lies about extramarital sex, or someone who sends men and women to die in a war started on false pretenses
? The answer was clear when I posed it, the answer is even clearer now as the body bags start to stack up.