Bush seems to really believe that the Korea model will work well in Iraq:
"'Many times in recent months, he has told visitors to the White House that he needs to get to the Korea model -- a politically sustainable American deployment to keep the lid on the Middle East."
Yea, that's what we need, another 50+ year open-ended commitment that we can't afford. But answer me this. Where's the border, the line between the warring parties where we are supposed to spend the next 50 years? It's one thing to keep peace along a well-defined border, but when you are talking about a country as mixed up as Iraq, it's impossible.
How desperate is Bush that he would even consider a Korean-style stalemate victory?
Probably the biggest mistake made in the occupation of Iraq was disbanding the Iraqi army, which put 250,000 armed, angry men on the streets with no jobs.
There has been a recent debate about just who was responsible for this decision, and if President Bush knew about it. Bush claims he don't remember, and that the official policy was to keep paying the army. His ambassador to Iraq Paul Bremer disputed this account, and released letters showing Bush knew about the order to disband the army.
Fred Kaplan at Slate has a great rundown on the whole thing. His conclusion is that Dick Cheney did it, with help from Ahmed Chalibi.
The much-awaited report to Congress on the "surge" will say that violence has dropped in Iraq. Of course, with this crew and their history of self-serving lies, you have to check out those numbers to see if they are right. And guess what? They aren't.
In their count of sectarian violence, if a person gets shot in the front of the head, that's counted as criminal, not sectarian. If they are shot in the back of the head, that's sectarian violence. Make sense?
Also, these numbers don't include Shia-on-Shia attacks, or Sunni-on-Sunni violence.
If you wondered what happened to all those accountants who worked for Enron, it seems they are cooking the books to help Bush claim some sliver of victory.
In this Washington Post story, Gen. David Petraeus told a visiting member of Congress that it would take nine or 10 years to stabilize Iraq.
Now understand, this is the optimistic view. Nine or 10 years. And that doesn't mean you will have a flourishing democracy at that point, just stability.
Let's take Petraeus at his word, and assume that basically, the war will last for double the amount of time it has gone on so far. The bill for direct spending on the war stands at $455 billion right now. According to a CBO report earlier this month, that figure misses more than half of the costs, because it doesn't count things like replacing damaged equipments and caring for wounded troops. That report puts the cost at about $1 trillion. Other estimates that take into account the economic costs to this country put the price tag as high as $2 trillion.
So, at the very least, in Gen. Petraeus' world, we are looking at a price tag between $3 trillion to $6 trillion, all of it borrowed money. The entire national debt was only $6 trillion when Bush became president.
And this is low end. Think about what the military will have to do to keep this war going for that long. They are already having problems recruiting new soldiers. Either they will have to greatly increase what they pay recruits, or go back to the draft.
Another problem not considered is what another 10 years of war might do to the region and the world. Think about what the escalation in Vietnam did to Cambodia. We could very well win the war in Iraq, but leave the rest of the Middle East in flames, requiring even more blood and money to fix.
So, is victory worth it? Just in economic terms alone, the U.S. cannot handle this kind of expenditure. This kind of massive, open-ended borrowing would cause chaos in world financial markets. Interest rates would go through the roof, shutting down economic growth. You can forget Social Security, health care and education. We would be facing a new Great Depression, with our population being relegated to Third World status.
Remember, the Soviet Union lost the Cold War because of economics, brought on by the competition with the U.S. and their disastrous occupation of Afghanistan. If we continue this Iraq fiasco, then we are heading down the same road.
This has been a neocon fantasy for a long time, that we could have won in Vietnam if we had stayed long enough. It shows a complete lack of understanding about how military and political power work together in wartime.
I've seen some of their so-called evidence to support this theory, showing how U.S. and South Vietnamese forces were making headway against the enemy before they were forced to pull the plug. The mistake here is to think that small military progress would affect the root causes of the war, that the people had no confidence in the corrupt puppet government set up by the U.S., and that they wanted the Americans to get lost.
I guess Bush might have a point here. If we hadn't left Vietnam, we would not have the mess in Iraq, since we would still be there, fighting the war he refused to serve in.
Heck, if Bush wants historical references, try this one. If you want a good view of what a long-term occupation looks like, check out Israel. Think about how much more firepower the Israelis have in relation to the Palestinians. Think about how much easier it is to occupy territory that is just across the border and not half way around the world. The Israelis have a much better justification for their occupation than the U.S. does in Iraq. Yet they have been there for 40 years, and still they cannot control it, and in fact are forced to give the territory back.
That's what America has to look forward to if they buy this historical fantasy being peddled by Yale's most famous slacker student. Someone get that man a history book, fast.
This one is really rich. The Iraqi vice president releases video of prisoners being held in wire cages for years at a time with no trial, but remarks that at least they are safer there than on the streets.
Yea, now that's progress.
Check out this very good essay by some of the soldiers who actually know what it's like to be on the ground in Iraq, as opposed to all those politicians and writers who parachute in for a few hours and profess to see what is really going on.
Some words of wisdom from none other than Dick Cheney on why invading Iraq is a really bad idea. Too bad it's from 1994.
Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.
Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.
It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.
NBC reporter Richard Engel writes about how the war in Iraq is not as simple as the Bush Administration would have you believe:
The war in Iraq is not what it seems. In fact, there is no "war" in Iraq—there are many wars, some centuries old, playing out on this ancient land. But this is not what Americans are often led to believe. The perception portrayed by the White House and Iraqi government in Baghdad—and commonly reflected in the news media—is that the violence in Iraq is a fundamental struggle between two opposing teams: Freedom Lovers and Freedom Haters.
This may be the best collection of video clips on the Bush administration's assertions about Iraq.