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US Plans to Cut and Run in Iraq

I am not a fan of the Iraq war, but I am also not a fan of the Pentagon’s plans to pull out. The problem is that we don’t have enough troops in Iraq now, not that we have too many. Bush and Cheney were draft dodgers and are now chicken hawks. The Iraq invasion has turned into a mess, and they have no idea how to clean it up. We need US troops on every street corner to establish order, not a few hundred troops driving into a city, shooting some people and then leaving again. The insurgents just come right back.

And we need to re-establish the Iraqi infrastructure. Maybe Saddam Hussein is responsible for the damage to the electrical grid, the water and sewer system, the oil wells, etc. Or, maybe we did more damage than expected when we bombed the hell out of Iraq during the invasion. In any case, the Pottery Barn rule enunciated by Colin Powell applies. You break it, you own it, and you’ve got to fix it. A significant percentage of ordinary Iraqis think life was better under Hussein than it is now, because there is no security, and public services don’t work. Halliburton is incompetent to get the public services working despite the billions it is getting paid.

Iraq is likely to degenerate into civil war. The Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds will end up fighting each other, each with additional support or opposition from foreign neighbors. The Iranians will help the Shiites. The bulk of the Arab world (which is mainly Sunni) will help the Sunnis, and the Turks will work against the Kurds, because they fear the creation of a Kurdistan nation that will include part of Turkey. We opened Pandora’s box when we invaded, and Bush and company don’t have a clue how to close it.

I think Sam Donaldson was right on ABC news on Sunday morning. The administration wants the Iraq constitutional assembly to stay on schedule and wants all the other elections, etc., on schedule, so that we can declare victory and get the hell out. It worked in Vietnam. (Everybody knows how well that war ended.) Bush and company think it will work in Iraq, too. It will probably work about as well. Remember the genocide in the Cambodian killing fields. Basically the world looked the other way, and we will probably look the other way when the killing fields in Iraq run red with blood again. It probably won’t be Saddam Hussein who does the blood letting, but it will probably be somebody about as bad.

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