With commendable stupidity usually only reserved for the most powerful and isolated from reality, President George W Bush has managed to go some way towards repeating the catastrophic mistakes of Lyndon Johnson and ensnare the United States in an increasingly unpopular and probably unwinnable foreign military involvement. Just two months after the sudden collapse of organized Iraqi resistance to the US-led invasion, US troops are back in a Vietnam-scenario with the ambushing of military convoys, the regular use of grenades and rocket launchers against isolated American targets and indeed suicide bombers.
It has always been a truism that if you cannot avoid wars, then at least learn the lessons of previous conflicts. This, however, the US has signally failed to do. Not content with the ultimate failures of the campaigns in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, of Somalia, and indeed even Afghanistan, to achieve the stated aims and the supposed improvement in the state of the inhabitants of those nations, the US has blindly embarked on a dangerous and unsound course of action. US forces are already launching operations suspiciously similar to the "search-and-destroy" tactics of 40 years ago and with a similar response from an increasingly hostile civilian population.
Using a marked degree of devious propaganda about the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction and largely in the dark about the true allegiance and likely response of the majority of Iraqis, the US has now succeeded in alienating much of both the developed and Third World, and indeed signaled to both Russia and China that Washington's new-found military belligerence and diplomatic toughness are a profound threat to their influence and future powerbase. Not content with expending much of America's wealth and the lives of its young service personnel in largely fruitless campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington is now clearly preparing the ground for an attack on Iran.
What offends me most about the neo-realpolitik school of diplomacy is that it is so damn unrealistic. Their prewar claims of WMDs, a clear and serious threat, a brief occupation, a light occupation force are all now discredited. The carnage they said would never happen continues and their only response is Rumsfeld trying to spin the number of US and British dead by conflating dissimilar statistics. These people have been spinning so long they've forgotten there's a real world which cannot be spun. If Iraq was a distraction from the failures against al-Qa'ida I guess logic dictates a new distraction to disguise the failure in Iraq.
Tehran here we come. The same drivel about light mobile forces and no need for a large garrison can be expected as well. After all, it worked in Afghanistan didn't it? And in iraq?