Friday, April 27, 2007

...and then what?

ok. so, i guess here's my problem with withdrawing the troops: it
doesn't actually solve the problem that's at hand. i mean, okay, it
does solve the problem of US occupational forces getting blown up in
Iraq and innocent Iraqis getting blown up by US occupational forces.
it allows us to put more troops back in Afghanistan, which may or may
not happen and may or may not be good. it also hopefully will slow the
spread of antagonistic feelings that we provoke in Iraqis with our
oppressive, militaristic presence (i mean, if we pull out, US troops
won't be around scaring Iraqi civilians, either through purposeful
action or incidentally, by doing things like walking around city
streets with with large assault rifles). not that the US's power over
Iraqis will disappear entirely either, but rather the mechanisms will
migrate behind the semi-closed doors of politics and business.

the problem that this will not solve is the problem of creating a
peaceful Iraq. remember when colin powell said something about the
pottery barn rule, "you break it, you bought it," when talking about
accountability in regards to invading Iraq? that, i think, still
applies. we went in and fucked that place up beyond recognition.
pulling the troops out is great. i'm all for less militarism. but we
have to do something after pulling out to help get the Iraqi people
back on their feet. until a reasonable post-retreat plan is proposed,
i'm going to feel ambivalent about any pullout. Iraqis deserve
significantly better than what we've given them. I'd like to see some
effort put forth by the people who are supposedly our nation's leaders
into figuring that problem out.


Emiko said...

not to make light of your comment, or the situation, but Robin Williams said in his 2000 and something Broadway show that, america should bombard the middle east with.... POPTARTS.. cuz they are a hashish smoking culture, and there's nothing that makes one go mmmm like poptarts when high...

but on a more serious note, I think it is hard to right a wrong. UN? they've got horrible success rate... a coalition? why would anyone see it any different than just plain old america and gang? commercialism? starbucks? nike?

i mean half of asia still is still very bitter about japanese occupation, and there seems to be nothing we can do, it certainly isn't solved by money.

but then, Japan feels very little animosty towards america for its occupation of Japan. better america then china or russia right? and we do absolutely love chocolate. so if there's anyone who could do it, america might be the one... but then again that was 60 years ago... maybe chocolate lacks the influence.

i mean if there was a good solution to a bad situation, there would be global world peace already. but some countries/cultures are still fighting after centuries of conflict, and it would be super optimistic to assume that there can be a clear cut solution. but at the same time to give up and say oh well, is terribly irrisponsible...

my solution is microwavable popcorn. if every family in iraq had a microwave, and microwavable popcorn, would they be as angry? i think not. i wouldn't be

Emiko said...

besides, would not one simple microwave (and box of popcorn) be significantly cheeper than sending thousands of american troops, who don't come cheep, relatively speaking) of course, there is the problem of ever household must have adaquate electricity to run the microwaves, but hey, if you can place thousands of american troops, brits, japanese, others, i'm sure some form of infrastructure can be managed right? then protecting the electricity to make is stable and constant...

Flushy McBucketpants said...

i like this popcorn idea. we already produce more corn than we know what to do with. and if everyone there is spending all their time popping popcorn, they won't have time for civil war.

Sanity Clause said...

Hi! I started to respond to this several days ago, but got distracted. Anyway, it's apparently never going to be too late to speculate about what might happen in Iraq if we actually leave, so here's my response to your thoughtful quandary.

Your concern about what a sudden withdrawal of American troops might yield assumes that our presence there is actually doing some good NOW (certainly something the Bush administration wants you to think). But consider for a moment that, to the contrary, our presence there makes things worse. We are an ineffective, foreign, military occupation force. We are not peacekeepers. We are salt in the wound; we are fuel on the fire. People are dying because we are there; so we must leave. People will die when we leave, too, and that hurts, so we must find a way to save as many lives as possible.

I tried to start a discussion about the future of Iraq with the war analysis types and the bloodbath prophets over at My Left Wing back in January. Now that potential withdrawal dates are being discussed in the virtual mainstream, people of influence may start discussing the next "Why didn't we think of that before?" step - the establishment of diplomatic relations both within and surrounding Iraq - during that timeframe. Perhaps one aspect of this fiasco could be planned. Peace through withdrawal or perpetual civil war, chaos, and anarchy?

As I've said before, no war remains for us to win. There is no battleground for which it is worth fighting and dying. There remains only chaos and anarchy. The "insurgents" and "terrorists" have brought thousand-year-old feuds to life in the streets of Baghdad and Basra. Theirs is not a global war for world domination (unlike ours), but a turf war at the most basic level - street by street; neighborhood by neighborhood; the Hatfields and McCoys; the Capulets and Montagues; the Jets and the Sharks. To paraphrase Booker T. Jones and William Bell "If it wasn't for bad blood, these guys wouldn't have no blood at all."

But those same feuding Iraqis all seem to agree that they don't want US to be occupying THEIR country! If we get out, maybe, just maybe, the gang warfare might lose some of its impetus, and Iraqis might start talking to Iraqis and throw out the rest of the foreign agitators.

Flushy McBucketpants said...

Point taken, Mr. Clause. So assuming the occupation isn't doing anything good or that the evils outweigh any of the good coming out of it, which I guess I would have a hard time arguing against--though surely the military is doing something, however small, to help build up Iraq's infrastructure--then yeah, I would have to agree that pulling out is the best thing.

I guess my only real point of contention is that maybe anarchy wouldn't be that bad. It seems like part of the sunni-shiite conflict was spurred by years of a power-imbalance, favoritism, and oppression. If they live in anarchy, then the question of who's in power becomes irrelevant. Will it stop the conflict? Maybe not. But then again, maybe it will. If neither side is fearful that the other side will eventually wield power over their own side, then everyone should be able feel safe to go about worshiping god in their own way.

Emiko said...

but you don't really produce enough corn. now with the whole hype of biodiesel, grain prices are rising. corn, soy, sugar canes. but who could live without popcorn? so, i am still with the popcorn idea. now if only someone listened.