18 April 2004

The neocon conundrum

In other words, if we remain in Iraq we will have:


1) Instability and maybe even civil war.

2) Encouragement to terrorists. Actually, we're recruiting them for the other side. President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt has estimated that our post-Saddam 'harvest' will be 'a hundred bin Ladens.'

3) Loss of prestige and influence in the Arab world and beyond. According to last month's Pew Research Center international opinion survey, 'Discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished ... the war in Iraq has undermined America's credibility abroad.' Here's the view from key countries: By a 46-37 margin, Moroccans think that Iraq will be worse off post-Operation Iraqi Freedom; the 'worse off' margin is 45 points in Jordan and 53 points in Pakistan.

4) Loss of the ability to use or threaten force. As retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey told Time magazine, 'There are no more U.S. troops to send to Iraq' -- without a draft, that is. So we don't hear the White House saying much about the rest of the 'axis of evil' anymore, because the North Koreans and Iranians know that the U.S. can't attack when it's mired in Mesopotamian quicksand. Meanwhile, North Korea is reported to be showing off at least three of its nuclear weapons.

5) A nourishing of future violence. Those who don't have a TV to see the gates of hell opening in Iraq might contemplate these additional numbers from the Pew Center: By a 46-36 margin, Pakistanis support suicide bombings against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq. In Morocco, suicide-bomber proponents outpolled opponents 66-to-27. And in Jordan, 70-to-24.



The war party swore that none of these unintended conequences would happen. All of them have happened. Resolving the Israel/Palestine question is now further away than ever.

I am tired of hearing withdrawal described as the cut-and-run option, especially by people who seem to fear thought itself. Bush and Blair do not want to stay in Iraq because they are brave. They want to stay because they fearful of even thinking about withdrawal. How many Iraqis, and how many others have to die to enable Bush and Blair to make grandiloquent speeches about resolve and staying the course?

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