Thursday, September 11, 2008

Iraq Strategy 204.1

Letter from Foster City, CA:

It's 12:40 and my mood is philosophical. Reviewing the situation objectively, and from the current standpoint, disregarding past (charitably phrased) mistakes.....

[NB: I find it helps your objectivity if you consider the situation in terms of "the US," rather "us."]

It is very compelling to want to withdraw from Iraq and staunch the wasteful flow of lives and money. Nevertheless, the US created this mess, and you can argue that therefore it is their responsibility to clean it up. As someone once said about Iraq, "You break it, you buy it." I therefore submit that one course of action is to stay in Iraq and continue policing for several years, until some kind of semi-stable arrangement is attained, if possible.

The drawbacks to this policy, with responses, are:

-More lost lives -- well, the US killed 10's if not 100's of thousands of people already; losses are part of the cost and the US can't expect not to lose soldiers. Remedy: don't join the army.

-More trillions of dollars spent, with commensurate burden on the deficit, taxes, the domestic economy, etc. -- well, it's the penalty countries pay for waging war; many countries have warred themselves into insolvency; US went through this with Viet Nam not 40 years ago. One would think people would exercise common sense or learn lessons, but they haven't throughout history so why should people be any wiser today? One could argue that ignorance has earned a more severe lesson in the consequences of adventurism. Remedy: try to discern the money flow and minimize your exposure, or even profit.

-US insistence on unrealistic solutions may draw out the adventure for decades. US is only likely to approve solutions with an obvious pro-US benefit; thus many otherwise promising independent or nationalist solutions will probably be stymied. Remedy: none. Prepare that this may go one for decades.

One sub-strategy is, under guise of US police presence, to make Iraq a de facto colony, and take over the hydrocarbons -- at least that could defray the cost or maybe turn a profit. Downside: criticisms of US imperialism, but so what? Governments can be remarkably free of shame.

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