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Friday, October 31, 2003

The Crystal Ball

On NPR this morning the host asked the always overly unctuous deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz if he would care to predict what will happen in Iraq. I forget Wolfowitz’s exact response but it went something like this, “Yogi Berra, the great Yankee catcher, said that it’s dangerous to make predictions, especially about the future.” What a down-to-earth kind a guy that Wolfowitz, a baseball fan, funny, and a populist. Just the kind of guy you want in your Defense Department when your objective is to bomb the shit out of countries to take people’s minds off how shitty their own country is being run.

I’ll make a prediction for you Mister Wolfowitz: Iraq will be a lawless shithole six months from now no matter how many billions of dollars we will pour out of our social programs to prop up Bush’s not-thought-out-at-all plan to take over a major oil producing state to hand over to his frat brothers in the energy business. I predict that Iraq will be our West Bank but more of a public relations nightmare (if that is possible and I’m sure that it is). Think of Iraq as a Viet Nam with a bigger cultural gap between host and occupier.

I think that if we are going to occupy Iraq indefinitely then we should do away with this “all volunteer army” myth that we have had since the end of conflict in Viet Nam. Let’s see how much support Bush has for his war plans when all of us are forced to send our family members over there to play catch with fanatics tossing RPG’s. This time around let’s do the draft the right way: No more deferments for college, men and women both go, we’re all in this together. If this were the case Bush’s approval rating would be made up of his childless cabinet members.

If you think I’m happy about the fact that GI’s are dying over there because it makes Bush look bad you are full of it. I was a member of the military fraternity back in my adventuresome youth. I was against the war back when it was just a nasty rumor and I’m against it now for the same reasons: I don’t see any good coming from invading a Muslim nation. Not only do I not think such action will make us safer but I feel that the exact opposite is true. Under Bush’s leadership the U.S. has usurped Israel on the Muslim’s shit list. Does that make you feel safe?

I realize that this essay, written in a manner of minutes, isn’t serious but then again I don’t see too many of the principals in the Bush administration being too serious about this either. When asked about the recent bombings in Bagdad Bush says that they are a sign that we are making great headway, that the bombings show the frustration of the counterinsurgents. This sort of reasoning is so flawed that you don’t even know how to approach it. To carry this reasoning to the logical (illogical?) end it would mean that when everything is perfect in Iraq everything will be blown up.

I don’t see Iraq as a military problem; I always saw it as a diplomacy issue that would have succeeded on a diplomacy level had we not abandoned that avenue in favor of military action. Lord knows we’ve had our share of diplomacy failures but none have been as disastrous as our military failures.

If you really want a prediction look back to the fall of Saigon, think of Iraqi loyalists hanging on to the skids of our helicopters as they leave that country for good. I hope that I’m wrong.

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