Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 21, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

KLEIN ON IRAQ....I think Joe Klein is exactly right about this:

This much I can confirm: there is growing pessimism among U.S. officials about the possibility of the long-sought political deal amongst Shi'ites and Sunnis and Kurds. The current feeling is that there's no way to get the Shi'ites to relinquish any significant power. So there may be an American desire to shake things up.

On the other hand — I just love it when I have to start a paragraph so forcefully — there's also the sense that Maliki is the most plausible alternative amongst the various Shi'ite factions. The vain hope, now six months old, that a broader coalition might be built to run Iraq amongst Kurds, acceptable Sunnis, secular Shi'ites and assorted cats and dogs is now officially dead.

That's right. The Shiites will will never give up any substantial power to the Sunnis. Why should they? And as long as that's the case, the Sunni insurgency will never give up either.

In the end, whether we stay or not, the Shiites will come to some kind of understanding with the Kurds, who will retain their quasi-independence in the north. The rest of the country will become a Shia theocracy. That can happen slowly, with us caught in the middle, or it can happen quickly after an American withdrawal. But it will happen either way, and there's nothing we can do to stop the bloodshed. There is no magic bullet.

Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to provide some plausible scenario in which we have at least a small chance of influencing this underlying political dynamic. I haven't heard one yet, and the surge is one of the most pathetic of the lot, little more than a desperate attempt to run out the clock so that George Bush can claim that he wasn't the one who lost Iraq. That might help him sleep better once he's out of office, but it won't change the reality or the history books. It's time to leave.

Kevin Drum 6:50 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (68)

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Comments

Does that make Bush the Pangloss of the 21st century?

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on May 21, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

Does that make Bush the Pangloss of the 21st century?

Cheers,

Alan Tomlinson

Posted by: Alan Tomlinson on May 21, 2007 at 7:01 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't heard one yet, and the surge is one of the most pathetic of the lot, little more than a desperate attempt to run out the clock so that George Bush can claim that he wasn't the one who lost Iraq.

It's rather the same way Hitler never lost WWII -- his successor Admiral Canaris did.

Posted by: Stefan on May 21, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm an idiot -- I mean of course Admiral Doenitz.

Posted by: Stefan on May 21, 2007 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Actually I think it was Admiral Donitz that was in charge when the Germans surrendered.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 21, 2007 at 7:11 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe you meant Admiral Petraeus?

Bush is a self-serving little man who won't do what's right for America. We need to remind the American public of that repeatedly, so they will also get rid of the Republicans in Congress who've been supporting Bush.

Posted by: MarkH on May 21, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin -- Do you think we should actively support the so-called "80% Solution" in which we allow the Shia to take over hoping that they will hold the US in a favorable light or do we back out all together and let what may happen in order to avoid being blamed by the Sunnis for the ensuing massacre?

Before the war even started, a poli-sci professor in our town who has spent a lot of time in Iraq told me that when the US pulled out of Iraq there would be six months of bloodshed between the Sunnis & Shia and then things would work themselves out. I think back on that conversation often and feel like she was right.

Posted by: Teresa on May 21, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's rather the same way Hitler never lost WWII

Self-inflicted gunshot to the head?

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Aiyeee! Librul Surrender Monkeys! Traitorous blogger Fifth Columnists! Anti-Christian terrist sympathizers!

What's next? Hauling down the Stars and Stripes and hoisting the Moon and Crescent over Washington DC? Shredding the Constitution and replacing it with the Koran? Selling all our precious children into Islamic sex terrist slavery?!?

Aiyeee!!

Posted by: bleh on May 21, 2007 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

All of which is why the Repub slime machine is revving up the old "stab in the back" rhetoric.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 21, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bush is God. Anything is possible.

Posted by: "ex-liberal" on May 21, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my scenario: Bush leaves office in 2009. To set an example of continuing service for future ex-presidents, and to show up that Jimmy Carter guy's post-presidential globetrotting for peace activities, he turns down a position on Carlyle's and Halliburton's boards, volunteers for the Special Forces and, Rambo style, singlehandedly crushes the insurgency using nothing more than an M-4 and the courage for which he is justly famous.
Then, with one of those '80s era action movie throwaway lines, (Something like, "Go ahead, make my democracy") he will command the Shi'ia to form a fully functioning democracy that both allows for the participation of the entire spectrum of the Iraqui people, and is pliant to American wishes. On the 7th day, he will rest.

Posted by: Martin Gale on May 21, 2007 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

I still maintain that the only way to have avoided the outcome of Iraq becoming Sri Lanka was for partition, but that window closed long ago. The neocons would never entertain it, and most utopic liberals poo-poo-ed it as tantemont to genocide, so that the only supporters of it were we few hard-nosed pragmatic lefties.

In any case, a Swiss-style multi-ethnic democracy was never a possibility -- not at the barrel of a gun.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my scenario:

Only if Bush is played by Keifer Sutherland.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 7:24 PM | PERMALINK

>"US pulled out of Iraq there would be six months of bloodshed between the Sunnis & Shia and then things would work themselves out"

What happened the last time the British invaded Iraq and then pulled out? ('51?). Does it compare to the currrent occupaton or has there been more religous polarization since that era? (suspect so)

Posted by: buford on May 21, 2007 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

The US could bring peace to Iraq by allying with al Sadr and Iran. That means accepting the majority Shiites as the legitimate political force in both Iraq and Iran and backing their political will. It is also why the Bush regime and every other US political faction has not brought peace to the Middle East - they are sworn enemies of the Shi'a because of the corruption brought about by their alliance with the House of Saud. This corruption has cost the lives of a lot of people and bloodied the hands of all Americans.

Posted by: Brojo on May 21, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Slow-motion genocide...is still genocide.

Posted by: David Helms on May 21, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

The only plausible option in terms of working something out is to go into partnership with Moqtada. Of course the first step in the arrangement would be a timetable to pull out the troops. Of course there is no telling whether Moki is playing a trojan horse game or not. But it would seem to be the best option.

Unfortunately, one only needs to take a look at the mega 500+ million dollar embassy and the huge permanent military bases and know that there is a USA agenda that plans for permanent presence.

Ultimately, both the Iraqi and US political systems are broken on this issue. The military will likely reach a breaking point which will resolve the US presence.

Posted by: RickG on May 21, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

Martin Gale-

You're a genius! I love your scenario!

Will you consider a friendly amendment? We impeach the POS now, so he can get to Iraq this summer. Merely to save lives and forward democracy, you understand.

Posted by: Jeff S. on May 21, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

What happened the last time the British invaded Iraq and then pulled out? ('51?). Does it compare to the currrent occupaton or has there been more religous polarization since that era? (suspect so)

The last time Britain invaded Iraq was in 1941, after a pro-German coup which overthrew the Hashemite monarchy. Britain intervened to restore the Hashemites and deny Iraq's oil fields to the Nazis. It doesn't really compare to the present-day situation -- as you say, there is much more religious polarization than there was then, and for another, Britain's action was to support, not overthrow, the ruling regime.

Posted by: Stefan on May 21, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to provide some plausible scenario in which we have at least a small chance of influencing this underlying political dynamic."

Give them $500 billion UDS to start. (roughly the amount the US has spent on the war so far). That's $12,000/Iraqi citizen, almost $100k per family. Have it destributed in a centralized fashion by the UN (with US hands off).

Use it to get families to relocate if necessary. But the groups there are fighting over scraps - there's uncertainty over who gets what under the New Order. Use it in a way to change the incentives, and buy into the new system - give everybody a BIGGER game to play. Solve the oil question by giving the Shiias and Kurds all that they control, and the Sunnis get compensated by $10 billion/year more from the US. (it's not much - we give Israel that yearly).

Since this war, and this part of the globe, was SO important to the patriotic conservatives and punk-ass neo-con liberals, surely they'll agree to spend this much. Unless it wasn't as important to the War On Terra! as they claimed.

Posted by: luci on May 21, 2007 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK
In the end, whether we stay or not, the Shiites will come to some kind of understanding with the Kurds, who will retain their quasi-independence in the north. The rest of the country will become a Shia theocracy. That can happen slowly, with us caught in the middle, or it can happen quickly after an American withdrawal. But it will happen either way, and there's nothing we can do to stop the bloodshed. There is no magic bullet.

Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to provide some plausible scenario in which we have at least a small chance of influencing this underlying political dynamic.

We can pull out. That will change the underlying political dynamic, because then the best way for the Shi'a to be the dominant power in a stable, independent regime will be to treat the nonviolent portions of the Sunni community well and thereby demobilize support for a Sunni insurgency, while building strong relations with other Arab countries, including the ones that are Sunni dominated (i.e., most).

Our involvement ties the hands of the regime while in some ways insulating it from the short-term consequences of failure, while at the same time mobilizing people (both Sunni and some Shi'a) against the regime.

Getting us out may be the best thing to facilitate a productive resolution. It may not, at this point, be enough, but there doesn't seem to be any reason to think that it will make things worse.

Posted by: cmdicely on May 21, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Slow-motion genocide...is still genocide.

Slow motion genocide is what we have now.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Disputo:
A lot of folks poo-poohed partition on behalf of the Turks. (for whom I have zero sympathy - and of whom I hold little value as a regional ally; they could have been much more helpful in the run up to the invasion).

Personally, I think a two-way partition would work, while we send the Sunnis; who lose-out in a two-way partition, to Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 21, 2007 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

Off topic but does anyone find this comment by Bush - completely screwballed: (I know, I know, everything Bush says is screwballed but sometimes more so than other times)

Bush defends Gonzales, rips into critics

By Thomas Ferraro
Reuters
Monday, May 21, 2007; 4:20 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush on Monday accused Democrats in Congress who are seeking no-confidence votes on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales of engaging in "pure political theater."

Brushing aside concerns from Republicans as well as Democrats about the effectiveness of the chief U.S. law enforcement officer, Bush said: "He has got my confidence. He has done nothing wrong."

Bush IS accusing Democrats of "pure political theater" but Arlen Spector is a Republican and HE's the one who said he expected Ashcroft to resign in news and with headlines today and yesterday.

Anyways - if the national press ran the way it did back in the Clinton days, the press would now be asking what Bush is so desperately hiding. I mean, the Bushies have fired everyone in the DOJ but Gonzales, and if Gonzales did nothing wrong why fire ANYBODY?

Those that were fired made Gonzales look bad instead of the fact that Gonzales making himself look bad.

AND I THINK, if we knew exactly what Bush was hiding about his wiretapping - then the American people would be asking Bush to resign or go straight off to jail.

Posted by: Me_again on May 21, 2007 at 8:04 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I think a two-way partition would work, while we send the Sunnis; who lose-out in a two-way partition, to Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

That's pretty much the /de facto/ situation at the moment, with Sunnis of means "voting" with their feet.

An orderly partition would have led to a similar level of dislocation, but with much less violence.

In general I am in favor of separating people who refuse to get along (whether six year olds on the playground or warring ethnic groups), and allowing them to cool off and reconcile at their own pace (with appropriate incentives from external third parties of interest). No good ever comes from forcing people who hate each other to get along.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Iran likes the deluxe embassy we are building for them in Bagdad.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on May 21, 2007 at 8:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah - but that works until they fight over who gets to go back to the playground.

In this case; the numerical advantage of the Shia being so strong, I'd say dividing the Sunnis among several neighbor-states, all of whom should be required to take them in as citizens, not refugees (we don't want another Lebannon/Palestinian situation) - would make it unlikely that significant numbers of former Iraqi Sunnis would want to return. Those who voluntarily returned would be taking their lives into their own hands. It would be "on" the Iraqi Shia.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on May 21, 2007 at 8:26 PM | PERMALINK

Remember how we were told that invading Iraq was part of the global war on islamic terrorism?

Could someone explain to me how the ongoing conversion of Iraq into a Shiite theocracy is a victory in this war? Aren't those guys on the other side?

Posted by: bobo the chimp on May 21, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

the Shiites will come to some kind of understanding with the Kurds, who will retain their quasi-independence in the north. The rest of the country will become a Shia theocracy.

Are you really so sure that the Sunnis will lose and be converted?

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 21, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

michaeletc: "I hope Iran likes the deluxe embassy we are building for them in Bagdad."

Funniest, most astute comment in days. LMAO!

You'd think that at least this would give us a valuable lesson about opening other people's Pandora's Boxes. But that's not going to happen as long as there are trilobites like Al, eggy, and Norman "he-man" Rogers still around. These guys are about as educable as soap. On the other hand, the Republic Party will likely never again field as dumb and docile a front-man as Georgie "NOW Can I Have a Drink?" Bush. The remaining Cheneys, however, we need need to find and kill in their coffins.

Posted by: Kenji on May 21, 2007 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

You're totally off base here, Kevin. We'll never leave Iraq.

Kevin, you have to start thinking like Pelosi and Reid: give off the appearance of opposing Bush, then swing deals with him.

Immigration? Let's swing a deal with Bush!

War funding? Let's swing a deal with Bush!

Lobby reform? Fuck the base, let's swing a deal with Bush!

No, Iraq is small potatoes when there is real money to be made! Pelosi and Reid know who butters their bread: the same folk that put Bush in power. This is all about who gets the big bucks.

So, stop with the "out of Iraq" nonsense. How freakin' naive. No one in Washington really wants to get the troops out of Iraq. Certainly not the Democrats -- if they did they might have actually voted to do it.

No, the Sunnis will just have to continue killing Americans. You know, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet. Do you honestly think Reid cares about those suckers that volunteered to defend their country? Yeah right. And Bush wants democracy, too huh?

No, there's money to be made, and you know the Dems are raking it in now! No stopping the Dems now --there's money to be made! (Sing along with me: "there's money to be made!")

Posted by: Dicksknee on May 21, 2007 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

Beautiful, Kevin:

"...the surge is one of the most pathetic of the lot, little more than a desperate attempt to run out the clock so that George Bush can claim that he wasn't the one who lost Iraq. That might help him sleep better once he's out of office, but it won't change the reality or the history books. It's time to leave."

That is very well said.

Posted by: consider wisely on May 21, 2007 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2007/05/hbc-90000092

Posted by: billy on May 21, 2007 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

"Learn How To Pretend"

Something I am good at! Friends, any discussion must be leavened with the concept of 'leverage'. In other words, how much ability do we actually have to influence the course of events? Everything else is just daydreaming (which is not always a bad thing).

Let's go down the list:

1. What can we do convince the Shia to share power with the Sunnis (who oppressed them) when the Shia represent 60+ of the population, control the government, and have a growing regional power, Iran, as their ally?

2. How can we convince the Sunnis to accept that the Shia, who they view as unwashed heretics, will control Iraq and the lion's share of its oil wealth?

3. How can we convince the Kurds to give up what they have always wanted and finally gotten; autonomy?

As you can see, we are playing with pretty weak cards. In light of the above factors, talk of withdrawl dates, regional cooperation, war czars, or even the Iraq Study Group seems pretty academic. BOTH the Democrats and Republicans are avoiding the realities of the situation. It's like the break-up of a failed relationship. No one wants to admit how bad things have gotten, or how much pain is in store.


Posted by: James M on May 21, 2007 at 9:08 PM | PERMALINK

I like Kevin's scenario. A Shia Iraq plus a semi-indepndent Kurdish region would be a huge improvement over the rule of Saddam for the Iraqis and for the rest of the world, except, of course, for the Iraqi Sunnis.

Kevin's scenario is better than the doomsday scenario of a long period of chaos in which millions die. Or, the scenario of al Qaeda managing to take control (or partial control) of the country, including its oil.

I hope Kevin is right.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 21, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

The scenario I believe in is already playing out.

The people in Iraq are tired of the violence. That's why you seen Sunni tribeman in Anbar defeating al Qeada. Violence in Bagdad is down 80%. You guys make fun of Mccains jaunt through a Bagdad neighborhood, but look at the big picture: would any of you have taken a stroll through the middle of Anteitam or Bull Run or the Battle of the Bulge, even with all the body armor in the world.

The Shiites and Sunnis and Kurds will eventually tire of the violence, just like little children on the playground tuckering themselves out after a long day of play, and then self interest and concern for their own families will pull them to the negotiating table and then were going to see some democracy at work. Wont be pretty, could be messy, but thats democracy.

Posted by: egbert on May 21, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

...a desperate attempt to run out the clock so that George Bush can claim that he wasn't the one who lost Iraq.

Bush is already trying to prepare the groundwork for a defense that the "political theater" of the Democrats war funding bill is causing the surge to fizzle.

Posted by: asdfg on May 21, 2007 at 9:39 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin put himself quite beyond the pale on this issue last year when he said "If reconciliation with the Sunni minority is impossible — and it probably is — then we should withdraw and let the Shiite majority take over. The result would be bloody, but at least we wouldn't be involved."

This is a guy who explicitly does not care *at all* about how many Iraqis will die as a result of his counsel. He is overtly amoral.

Posted by: am on May 21, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: I hope Kevin is right.

Of course you do, dipshit, because that's the only way we don't reap the worst consequences of Bush's and the neocons' fuck-uppery in Iraq.

Posted by: Gregory on May 21, 2007 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

eg-smell: "Wont be pretty, could be messy, but thats democracy."

And if it all works out, like magic, we can try it in the U.S.A. Oh, I mean if it all work's out...

Posted by: Kenji on May 21, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Shiites will will never give up any substantial power to the Sunnis. Why should they?

Sunnis are reported to have higher average levels of education. It might occur to some of the Shi'ites in power to have such experts as allies in development instead of enemies in war. Aside from that, Sunnis might have rich friends in Saudi Arabia willing to invest if Iraq is peaceful and the Sunnis receive at least a share of the oil wealth. Without development money, the oil isn't worth anything.

Iran is having trouble with its own oil industry, and probably can't provide any substantial help.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 21, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

This is a guy who explicitly does not care *at all* about how many Iraqis will die as a result of his counsel. He is overtly amoral.

Please tell us how many USAmerican lives you are willing to spend each day in order to delay the presumed post-withdrawal bloodbath.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 9:59 PM | PERMALINK

more on Iran backing al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,2085195,00.html

How would The Guardian know?

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 21, 2007 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

more on Iran backing al Qaeda and Sunni insurgents... How would The Guardian know?

Are you daft? It's there right in the first paragraph:

Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, [anonymous] US officials say.

It's just more WH propaganda meant to paint the Dem Congress as dupes of Iran.

Posted by: Disputo on May 21, 2007 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

dsiputo: It's just more WH propaganda meant to paint the Dem Congress as dupes of Iran.

Of course I knew that when I asked the question. I might have asked instead: since when has the Guardian believed anything that anonymous US officials say?

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 21, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

There is a "magic bullet". It was discovered by Dr. Paul Ehrlich in 1910, and it cured syphilis.

What that has to do with George Bush and Iraq, however, I'll leave up to you.

Posted by: Cap'n Phealy on May 21, 2007 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Scrambled Egbert the feckless fuckwit:

You are more full of shit than a Christmas goose.

From todays Washington Post:

Military deaths have been rising since last fall, and the first half of this year has already been deadlier than any six-month period since the war began more than four years ago. According to iCasualties.org, 531 U.S. service members have been killed since Dec. 1, an average of more than three deaths a day, while 3,422 have died since the war began in March 2003.
The troops killed Saturday in Baghdad were part of an operation searching for weapons caches and bomb-making materials in the western part of the city over the past week "to aid in providing a more secure and safe environment for the Iraqi people," the military said in a statement.

You sicken me, yellow-feathers.

Wont be pretty, could be messy, but thats democracy.

You need to suit up or shut up - or are you such a fuckwit that you can't even score high-enough on the ASVAB to gain entry in todays environment of lax standards?

You are the poster child for compulsory schooling.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 21, 2007 at 10:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, eggfart-for-brains.

You draw yourself a pretty picture of 3 young children, in their denim and gingham, or however you see them, all plum-tuckered and, ending their bickering, becoming best of buddies ever after.

Then you "believe" it, in the face of all record of sectarian and tribal strife, or that some Shias and Sunnis are also killing their own, as an analogy for Iraq.

Man! You are such an idiot.

Violence down 80% in Baghdad. That would be about 500 deaths a month. Evidence?

Actually Iraq is on track for 1300 deaths this May from multiple death bombings alone, mostly in Baghdad and environs. Plus continuing murders/executions.

Try this: Iraq Index. It's only been posted here umpteen times before.

Just try to get fact based rather than believing what your fellow trolls regurgitate or what you dream up.

Posted by: notthere on May 21, 2007 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

am wrote:

[Kevin put himself quite beyond the pale on this issue last year when he said "If reconciliation with the Sunni minority is impossible — and it probably is — then we should withdraw and let the Shiite majority take over. The result would be bloody, but at least we wouldn't be involved."

This is a guy who explicitly does not care *at all* about how many Iraqis will die as a result of his counsel. He is overtly amoral.]

This is the kind of fuzzy logic that has gotten us into so much trouble in Iraq. There are times to be amoral. If you the tsunami alarm goes off you don't stand around wringing your hands about all the damage that the coming wave will cause (I can tell you what happens to people who do!). No one can stop a tsunami. If you are in a position of authority you do what you can to minimize the damage before it hits. Of course, I realize that no process can never be absolutely value free: where you allot resources and which areas you place emphasis on saving will certainly reflect your values to some degree.

Getting a little convoluted here, but what I am trying to say is that once you have determined a disaster in imminent you go into damage control/minimization mode. Has nothing to do with your 'morality'. After 4 years of progressive failure the burden of proof is on AM and his like-minded thinkers to tell us HOW the tsunami can be stopped, if they still believe it can.

Posted by: James M on May 21, 2007 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is so naively simple on Iraq. Time to leave. Shia Theocracy. Quickly if we leave. There is nothing we do to stop the bloodshed (except that we are now actually greatly curtailing the bloodshed).

What does Kevin really know about Iraq?

Posted by: brian on May 21, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

brian (on leave from the Family Guy): "...we are now actually greatly curtailing the bloodshed".

Yay us! Good thing we just happened to be on hand, innit?

fafner: "...it was Admiral Donitz that was in charge when the Germans surrendered."

That is, in fact, how they came to call him Dunkin' Donitz.

Posted by: Kenji on May 21, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

It's time to leave.

Are you sure it isn't just time to announce the schedule of our withdrawal? Didn't you previously support the schedule in the Baker-Hamilton report (beginning early 2008, if the security situation permits)?

And speaking of political motives, do you not perceive among Democrats a countervailing desire that all the killing be accomplished before the next Democrat is inaugurated president, so that they can sleep better?

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 21, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

I simply won't read anything written by Joe "Primary Colors by Anonymous" Klein. I don't really care if he's spot-on this time around. Because Klein has no core personal values beyond his own self-aggrandizement, his journalistic output simply shifts with the prevailing political winds.

When I want a weathervane, I'll go to Home Depot.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on May 21, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Aside from that, Sunnis might have rich friends in Saudi Arabia willing to invest if Iraq is peaceful

also 'willing' (not the right word but for the sake of parallel construction...) to invest arms and money if Sunnis are engaged in civil war...

...and that's always been the biggest worry (from way before the invasion), that the aftermath could lead to a regional conflagration. Remember too that the portion of Saudi Arabia with almost all of the oil is the Shiite portion near the Iraqi border. The Saudis certainly don't want a Shiite-majority country next door with their self-rule serving as an aspiration for their own oppressed minority... and then don't expect Iran to sit idly by if the Shiites start to lose badly. They may not get directly involved but their support will be substantial. Then of course there's the north and the Kurds and Turkey.

The whole situation is a mess that was utterly predictable and that was predicted...

...and for which we were viciously derided by the know-nothings.

Posted by: snicker-snack on May 21, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

I simply won't read anything written by Joe "Primary Colors by Anonymous" Klein.

You and me both. Why is this fuckit still among us? Oh - that's right - some people don't have the common sense to stop linking to him or acting like he is relevant!

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 22, 2007 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

Iraqi Shiites and Sunni’s did get along to a large degree before we invaded. With Saddam out of the way and the Rumsfeld et. al. leaving a power vacuum, it didn’t take long for old animosities to reemerge. Egged on by opportunistic leaders on both sides, the escalating tit for tat violence quickly radicalized both factions. A tragically common scenario, see the partition of India, the “troubles” in North Ireland, the breakup of Yugoslavia, etc. The real problem is once you break a multicultural country like Iran, it will take many years if ever to put it back together again.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 22, 2007 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK

Ya have to blame the PC libs as much as Bush. Bush like many weak-minded Americans bought into the notion that everybody is "just like us." You merely had to remove the restraint, Saddam Hussein, and the people would flock to democracy, feminism, and multiculturalism, i.e., American culture because they're "just like us". Remember in the early stages of the war people who had reservations were dismissed as "racists?"

Same kind of bull we're hearing about chamberpot immigration from the turd world.

Posted by: Luther on May 22, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Huh?

Posted by: Kenji on May 22, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

The problem as I see it is that there are no corporate mofos in Iraq to cut a deal with. Both the
Dems and Repukes know how to do business with the corporate mofos, indeed, it is all they know.

Posted by: Alan Coltharp on May 22, 2007 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

do you actually think chickengeorge bush is losing sleep now?

Posted by: merlallen on May 22, 2007 at 5:24 AM | PERMALINK

I seriously doubt Saudi Arabia is just going to relinquish all of it's influence in Iraq as Kevin Drum seems to think. Well, to be honest, I seriously doubt Kevin Drum even understands this issue at all. He simply assumes the Saudis will allow Iran to consolidate their position.

The most likely end to this is either a very long civil war in Iraq. The next most likely is a regional, religious war. You'd have to get down the list to get to "The Shiites kill all the Sunni's and everyone is happy:.

Posted by: soullite on May 22, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

This is a guy who explicitly does not care *at all* about how many Iraqis will die as a result of his counsel.

am, every death so far and every death to come can be laid on Bush's doorstep. And you still cheer him on. You are the amoral one.

Posted by: ckelly on May 22, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

The Saudis will not let us just leave; that's why they paged their butt-boy, Shotgun Cheney, when we dropped hints that we were going to "side" with the Shia.

Of course, the only thing the Saudis have to offer us is oil...but when you have oilmen running the country, that's plenty.

I hope everyone who mocked Carter for wearing that cardigan sweater is deeply ashamed at this point, whether you like the guy or not. Instead of a stupid sweater (a metaphor for conservation), we now wear blood-stained polo shirts. I blame my parent's generation!!

Posted by: scott on May 22, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

MRM: And speaking of political motives, do you not perceive among Democrats a countervailing desire that all the killing be accomplished before the next Democrat is inaugurated president, so that they can sleep better?

So, basically, what is important to you is that the killing continue so the next Democratic president can sleep horribly.

Bush seems to be able to sleep fine with all the killing still ongoing, so why wouldn't a Democrat sleep just as well?

Maybe because they actually deplore senseless killing and are offended by it and thus want to stop it.

Gosh darn, what a horrible morality to embrace: let's stop senseless killing because the guilt of allowing Bush to continue to abuse our American soldiers for his own partisan ends weighs on our minds.

Or, in other words, we should never put a murderer to death or put him in prison for life because someone like MRM will just claim that we are doing it only so we can rest easy at night.

Posted by: anonymous on May 22, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

am: This is a guy who explicitly does not care *at all* about how many Iraqis will die as a result of his counsel. He is overtly amoral.

am is a guy who explicitly does not care at all about how many American soldiers will die as the result of his counsel and for nothing accomplished except to save face for Bush.

His is overtly immoral, amoral, and a nincompoop to boot.

Posted by: anonymous on May 22, 2007 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

anonymous: So, basically, what is important to you is that the killing continue so the next Democratic president can sleep horribly.

The phrase "rest easy at night" was from KDs post. What was "important" to me was to point out that the attribution of such a motive applied as well to the Democrats in Congress (even the Republicans in Congress) as to the President.

KD: Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to provide some plausible scenario in which we have at least a small chance of influencing this underlying political dynamic.

I always support what I'll here call the "60%" solution. The U.S. agrees to protect the Kurds against the united Shi'ites and Sunnis, the Sunnis against the united Shi'ites and Kurds, and the Shi'ites against the united Sunnis and Kurds. Not that I imply any such pairwise coalitions will exist, but many Iraqis now harbor fears of being conquered and oppressed by the other ethnic groups. Some of the Baathist/Sunni conquest of Kurdish lands was recently reversed, but the Kurds are not threatening conquest in a southerly or westerly dirction anymore, and it's possible that Sunnis and Shi'ites know that they have nothing to fear from the Kurds.

There is some "small chance" of influencing the political dynamic once all the Sunnis understand they will not be brutally conquered by Shi'ites, and the Shi'ites understand that they will not be brutally conquered by the Sunnis.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 22, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

MRM: The phrase "rest easy at night" was from KDs post. What was "important" to me was to point out that the attribution of such a motive applied as well to the Democrats in Congress (even the Republicans in Congress) as to the President.

Uh, no, the president is an immoral ass who doesn't care how many US soldiers die as long as he can craft an excuse to rationalize his failures and blame them on someone else.

The Democrats are largely concerned with our soldiers dying solely so Bush and the war supporters can save face or blame others.

Posted by: anonymous on May 23, 2007 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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