Wednesday, January 14, 2004

You Thought Our Invasion of Iraq Was Politically Motivated? Wait Till We Bug Out

Rick Perlstein writes in The Village Voice that the grip the neo-cons have on George Bush's head seems to be weakening, as Karl Rove wrestles the president away from the Iraq misadventure toward winning the election in November, and Rove has determined that we've got to declare victory and just leave ... that is to say, Bush is bound and determined to abandon the Iraqis to their fate by July. He's announced it, though nobody seems to be either listening or believing that he will actually just pull out and leave the country to an inevitable civil war between the Sunnis, Shiites, and the Kurds. But Perlstein says we better get a grip.

After an instructive reminder of how all of this is playing out very much the way Vietnam did ("peace is at hand"), Perlstein makes these points:

"Things move quicker in Iraq -- 'Vietnam on crack,' as one columnist has described it. With breathtaking speed, the liberators have been tarred as home-invading thugs.

"In one mid-December briefing, the Coalition Provisional Authority boasted that 24 hours of raids on 1,620 suspected rebel hideouts yielded 107 arrests -- a success rate, 7 percent, of the sort that once turned South Vietnamese peasants into Vietcong insurgents.

"The insurgent war of attrition against American soldiers has gotten very desperate, very fast, the latest sign being a number of downed helicopters; eyewitnesses say Thursday's crash south of Fallujah, killing nine, was the result of a missile strike -- as was the crash in November that killed 16. A mortar strike on a base Wednesday killed one and wounded 30. The American death toll in Iraq approaches 500; the number of medical evacuations, as of mid December, is 10,854, most not reflected on the Pentagon's website...."

Quieted, it seems, are the neo-con voices like Rummy Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, "and no one in power," Perlstein writes, "wants to talk about all the Middle Eastern nations that would start democratizing just as soon as Iraq's newly liberated people showed them the way."

Not all the neo-cons have fallen silent, though, and it's beginning to seem that Richard Perle & David Frum's recent book, An End of Evil, might have been written as an almost desperate attempt to keep Bush from following Rove off the reservation ... "the reservation" in this case being the Iraq invasion and what was supposed to come next ... the Syrian invasion, followed by the Iranian invasion, followed by the Saudi Arabian invasion.

Perstein's case is very persuasive. And if you thought the case for war in Iraq was trumped up and politically motivated, you ain't seen nothing yet! Wait until you see the lies that are going to get us out.

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