Nov 10, 2006

On Cosmetic Changes and Public Gullibility

The congressional victories by the Democratic Party Tuesday were greeted with joy by many people that I encountered in the last few days. Even more cause for rejoicing was the news that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld tendered his resignation.

The fact remains, however, that some 133,000 US troops are still hunkered down in Iraq, and that a new lineup of legislators and a new Defense chief will have little - if any - short-term effect on the violence in that turbulent region.

My enthusiastic acquaintances must be seeing me as a bit of a sourpuss as I point out these facts.

I have also been skeptical of what I perceive to be the motives behind the sacking of Rumsfeld (I do not buy for a moment the idea that Rummy unilaterally handed in his resignation). I see this move as an attempt to defuse the anger of the American electorate by handing over the head of the detested Secretary.

I hope that I am wrong, and that the President is sincere about a new direction in Iraq, but my suspicion is that this act is little more than window dressing.

I will be more inclined to believe that change is in the offing when our troops begin to come home.

And not in body bags, that is.


Do said...

I'm not seeing any immediate changes in the situation in Iraq due to our change in political power, but I do see a change coming. Like anything, it will take a little time.

In an ideal world there is no war, no hatred, no prejudice, and no sadness. But we do not live in that world. We live in a world full of hope held in chattel, generations of functional illiteracy, deterioration of the family unit, poverty and hunger in the Land of Plenty, and dissention amongst our own.

Hopefully the men and women serving in our military will return home soon - to a nation that is proud and appreciative. And very much alive.

wjohnson said...

A picture can speak a thousand words and this one speaks volumes. It sums up the Iraqi populations view of the U.S. in Iraq. The “NEW SPEAK” that came out of this Republican Administration for the last few years on how the Iraqi people are so glade we are there to take their oil,,, or I mean deliver them freedom and to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction that Rumsfeld sold them in the Ronald Reagan administration,,,, or I mean that Saddam Hussein was developing.

historymike said...

Do: Well said, and I hope that your scenario plays out that way.

historymike said...

I agree, Wayne, that this picture is jarring.

I also agree with your comments about WMD - the US bears a lion's share of any responsibility for any WMD Saddam might have possessed, since his regime was largely a US creation.

It would also be interesting to see the money trails of US firms that profited from arms sales and WMD-related sales to the Hussein government.

Calico Jack said...

I don't think that the US will change its position in Iraq until the next Presidential election. Meantime, there is very little anyone can do about the military situation in Iraq, seeing that the President is commander of the US armed forces.

What I find irritating is that MSM is carefully not mentioning Sadam Hussien’s popularity with certain US elected officials. Sadam had quite a few politicians who believed that his régime would be beneficial to the population of Iraq, and to the US (not necessarily in that priority). While it is certainly true that the US sold weapons to Sadam, US companies sold those weapons during a period when it was perfectly legal to do so. Ergo, they are held harmless.

I find that people who object to the war in Iraq are typically silent about Sadam’s crimes against humanity. Sadam’s monarchy practiced genocide, starved the population of Iraq and tortured people for their own amusement. Sadam and his immediate family did these things personally, and believe that they have done nothing wrong.

Now that the US has invaded Iraq and toppled Sadam and his government, the US is faced with a problem. The Shiites are waiting for the US to withdraw so that the Shiites can claim victory over the US. The Shiites can then begin systematically executing everyone that their clerics believe supported the US during the war. Since these people are outnumbered and have been (largely) disarmed, this should provide another victory against the devil in the West, as well as providing the new dictatorship with a series of illustrative spectacles on the consequences of supporting the US. For an example, see the Bay of Pigs and a twisted little despot named Castro.

So I guess that I’m not in favor of the US just packing up and leaving. At least not until a stable government is in office.

liberal_dem said...

Many Iraqis would be delighted to watch a double hanging at the Saddam execution.

Hooda Thunkit said...

"I will be more inclined to believe that change is in the offing when our troops begin to come home."

I don't see that sort of change happening soon, but it should send a message to the Iraqis that the job of security in Iraq will be theirs solely, sooner than later and that it is up to them to get up to speed, as time is running out.

If they do not, then all of our sacrifices will have been in vain, but they will be over none the less...

Dariush said...

Calico Jack: "The Shiites can then begin systematically executing everyone that their clerics believe supported the US during the war. Since these people are outnumbered and have been (largely) disarmed, this should provide another victory against the devil in the West"

Yeah man, I don't think that's how it's gonna play out. For one, the Sunnis are very far from "disarmed". Nobody's "disarmed" anybody in Iraq, and nobody's going to either.

While there's no Second Amendment in Iraq, there's a gun culture there that rivals anything in Afghanistan, Switzerland or the southern heartland of Peckerwood-istan. There's literally at the very least a rifle in every home.

The whole "civil war" thing knaws at the very pit of my stomach every time I think about it. Despite what certain parties continue to say, Iraqi Shiites and Sunnis have never traditonally been at each other's throats.

Far from blood enemies, they were neighbors, friends, and yes, even relatives of each other.

Now I'm reading about (and hearing from friends) that all Sunni families are moving to one side of Baghdad and all Shiite families to the other. Pretty soon there'll be a "Green Line" ala Beirut, and the whole area around it will be a no-man's land filled with dead bodies, burned out cars and wrecked, bullet-scarred buildings.

This is how nations die -- sectarianism and tribalism made paramount, made into a matter of life and death -- whereas before the only "sectarianism" consisted of light-hearted jokes at each other's expense.

The parallels with the Balkans are amazing. They too did not live in isolated communities, or wallow in hatred and distrust for "the others". No one believed it would happen. Then one day, it did.

Now, Yugoslavia is no more. And, as with Iraq, outside powers played a large part in bringing about that rosy scenario.

Those of you experiencing shadenfreude at what is happening to Iraq, should realize that no nation is immune from the laws of history.