|08-01-2007, 04:47 PM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
War, Chaos and Bush's Faith
"The neocons fell prey to the same delusion that has always hypnotized warmongers: They thought they could control war".
Ain't that the truth!
War, chaos and Bush's faith
The first lesson of Iraq: Beware of those who play dice with God.
By Gary Kamiya
Pages 1 2
July 31, 2007 | In the last few weeks, as the dreadful consequences of George W. Bush's "war on terror" continue to unfold in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine, a disturbing thought is rising to the surface: There may be no way to clean up the mess he has made.
Ironically, this is the very argument that Bush and his supporters are now using to justify keeping U.S. troops in Iraq indefinitely -- or at least onto the next president's watch. They insist that disaster looms, and that only the blood of American troops, infused into a slow-drip I.V., can keep Iraq and the entire region from dying. Bush understands that there are only two things that can save his legacy: either victory, or a worst-case scenario in which all of his threats about the all-powerful Islamo-fascist menace come true. The frightening thing is that for Bush, there's no difference between the two outcomes. For this president is at once a true believer who sees himself leading a great war against evil, and a shrewd politician who wants to escape the blame for his Iraq disaster. Hence his refusal to cut America's losses -- and the very real possibility that he might roll the war dice yet again, this time in Iran. If the world blows up as a result, that will just prove that he was right about the evil jihadists.
Most Americans now believe that Bush's decision to invade Iraq was a terrible mistake. They see that it has turned out badly, and think that it has made us less safe. But there is another, less discussed reason why the war was an act of madness: War always has unforeseen consequences. Making war is like playing dice with God -- using His dice. This is why war should always be a last resort. What's stunning about the Iraq war is that its architects not only ignored this obvious truth, but also ignored the consequences that could have been, and were, foreseeable. To start an unprovoked war on false pretenses and pie-in-the-sky promises of a vast regional transformation, besides being unethical, is an act of almost cosmic folly. To put it in Christian terms, it is the cardinal sin -- the sin of pride.
The Bush administration treated war as if it were a surgical instrument, which it could wield with precision and whose results could be charted in advance. Bush and his neocon brain trust were sure that they knew exactly what would happen after the invasion. They drew it up like a blueprint: Grateful Iraqis would place flowers in the barrels of U.S. guns. A strong central government would take power, and democracy would flourish. The people of Iraq's neighboring states, Iran and Syria, would observe the vibrant new state and force their sclerotic regimes to reform, or they would rise up against them. The "culture of terrorism" would be ended, cut off at the source. The entire Arab-Muslim world, including Pakistan, would be transformed. The Palestinians would be beaten into submission. And there would be cheap oil for America.
Clean, clear, concise -- and mad. There was no historical precedent for any of these happy predictions -- they were simply put forward as if they were self-evident. Like the emperor parading down the street in his wonderful new clothes, the neocons happily presented their sunny hallucinations to the American people, Congress and the media. And unlike the crowd in the fairy tale, the country actually believed them.
Even if the war had gone exactly according to plan, the neocons' grand vision of regional transformation had about as much chance of success as throwing a hand grenade into a printing press and it spitting out a copy of "Hamlet." But they compounded their folly by convincing themselves that they could control the war. Push a few buttons here, insert a few battalions there, and the enemy would vanish like a pixelated villain in a video game.
The neocons fell prey to the same delusion that has always hypnotized warmongers: They thought they could control war. But wars are like experiments with unknown, volatile substances: Their outcomes cannot be predicted. War means killing people on a mass scale. It is a human earthquake, a tidal wave, a forest fire, unleashing chthonic forces far too large for us to comprehend, let along control.
In Mark Twain's "The Mysterious Stranger," Twain describes how the most minute alterations in a person's destiny -- alterations made by a handsome young man who happens to be the devil -- completely change the subsequent course of history. War is comparable to such a supernatural intervention. It is as close to being a rip in the fabric of space and time as you can get in the Newtonian universe. It puts too many variables in play, and we cannot control enough of them. And even those we do control end up creating new problems that may be worse than the original ones.
A classic example of the law of unforeseen consequences was America's support for the mujahedin's guerrilla war against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. We won our proxy war against our Cold War foe, but in the process created another enemy, al-Qaida, this one far more intractable. Something similar is taking place in Iraq. The neoconservative architects of the war convinced themselves that the Shiites would be good allies to use against Saddam and the Sunni establishment. But it turned out that the Shiites had their own agenda, which was not the same as the neocons', and in fact was closer to that of their coreligionists in Iran and Hezbollah. (Actually, this shouldn't have come as a surprise to anyone.) So then the U.S. changed gears and tried to play divide-and-conquer by appealing to the Sunni establishment to smash the Shiites -- but that enraged the Shiites and helped create the poisonous sectarianism that has destroyed Iraq, is tearing Lebanon apart, and threatening the stability of the entire region.
Invading Iraq also reawakened the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, one of the most potentially destructive in the region. If the reports are correct that Bush is prepared to loose Turkish troops on Kurdish guerrillas, yet another regional conflagration could be ignited.
As for Iran, that's the biggest farce of all. Iran was the neocons' real target. But the war that was supposed to topple the mullahs solidified their grasp on power. The real winner of the Iraq war is Iran.
Next page: Where did Bush's fatal hubris come from?
Last edited by Bronco_Beerslug; 08-01-2007 at 04:51 PM..
|08-02-2007, 12:42 PM||#2|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Atlanta, GA
How could anyone believe this war would be a success when the main figures responsible did all they could to get out of a similar war when they were younger?
|08-02-2007, 02:02 PM||#3|
In The Bag
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Meth Alley
You're right slug, thinking you can "control" a war is ludicrous. I'm of the firm and unwavering conviction that if you decide a fight is inevitable and must be undertaken control goes out the window and victory, at all costs, becomes the singular goal. We've decided to parse words and micromanage a vast enterprise with far too many variables. My belief is that Gen. Patreus will have a positive impact for American interests and I'll await his full report before making further decisions on the matter.
|08-02-2007, 02:06 PM||#4|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Mile High
Looking at his impressive "resume' ", he should be the man for the job, but he is managing this surge against his own recommendations which include tropp numbers 4 times higher than those at his disposal!