Sunday, July 13, 2008
Time to declare victory and leave.
Is there anyone in the world happier that Saddam was overthrown than the American conservatives are, the people who crow about how brave Bush was to get 4,000 Americans he isn't related to killed in five years so that he could remake the Middle East?
Yes, there is. The Iranians are happier than American conservatives. Their enemy has been completely neutered, democracy means that the religious majority in Iraq will be able to regain power, and they share the Shia faith of the religious majority of Iran. Instead of an unpredictable and belligerent neighbor being armed by a superpower, they have a neighbor crippled by a war that cost the Iranians nothing. This is not to say that centuries of enmity between Persians and Arabs are suddenly over, anymore than relations between the English and Irish are now perfectly peachy keen.
But the Iranians are the big winners.
The Iraqis are in no rush to sign a long-term security pact with the Bush administration. Can you say "lame duck"? Who knows, they may have an administration in Washington next January with a very different outlook on our future relations with Iraq, a relationship not based on opening our treasury doors to thieves.
Speaking of thieves, did you know that electricity and water service in Baghdad is still a problem? But not to worry, because Ahmed Chalabi is on the job! Earlier this year, the generals in charge were praising him highly for his energy and determination. The next month, another American news story was written, and those who worked with him most closely were not quite as charmed.
Chalabi leads a charmed life. Despite the fact that he can't win an election and he can't return to Jordan, (when you close the doors to your bank and flee the country and leave all your depositors high and dry, some less enlightened lands take a dim view of this and try you in absentia), as long as the Bush administration is around, he also can't seem to stay out of work for very long. You might remember that he was accused of being a spy for the Iranians a few years back. What could have happened there? His accusers were in the American government, then suddenly, they weren't anymore! It seems George W. Bush and his friends took Charming Chalabi's word over that of gloomy old Colin Powell and his pals, and quicker than you can say missing hard drive, Colin was a former government employee. As we know, former government employees can't be trusted, what with them being so bitter and all.
Can there be anyone in this wide world who isn't happy that Saddam is no longer in power? Some grumpy American taxpayers might not be happy with the three trillion dollar bill that is coming due, to be paid off in low, low installments for the rest of our natural lives, but really that's just American whining, as Phil Gramm might say. Anybody else?
The Turks might be a little miffed. Under Saddam, the Kurds were treated very poorly, but the Turks didn't have to worry about Kurdish terrorist attacks from across the border that much, and certainly never had to invade Iraq to put down the Kurdish terrorist groups. We might have been able to stop Iraq from being a haven for state sponsored terrorism, but that would have been the deluxe four trillion dollar war package, and we all know that Bush holds to a hard line against such budget busting extravagances.