Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Who Made This Big Mess?

"After nearly 19 months of combat, more than 1,000 American soldiers dead and $119 billion spent, the central question about Iraq isn't whether it will become a beacon of democracy in the Middle East but whether the United States can prevent it from becoming a black hole of instability."
So begins the latest story from KnightRidder. As others (Kos, Marshall, etc.) have noted, KnightRidder is one of the painfully few beacons of journalistic hope still burning in this country. The article continues:
"Other experts, including former U.S. generals and scholars who've studied Iraq's history, agree that the options are bleak.

The only real choice, Dobbins and others argue, is for the United States to continue to fight the insurgents while working to train a competent Iraqi security force that can pave the way for an orderly American withdrawal. That could take from two to 10 years, they said.

Moreover, few experts believe that the end result of a protracted war will match the Bush administration's original vision for Iraq: a democratic model that could invite reform in the rest of the Middle East.

The best the United States can hope for in the end is probably an authoritarian, Western-friendly "semi-democracy," said Yoni Fighel, a retired Israeli colonel who was a military governor in the West Bank from 1987 to 1996.

A worse possibility, from the American point of view, is an Islamic fundamentalist government similar to Iran's and hostile to American interests.

And the worst-case scenario, experts say, would be an abrupt withdrawal that leaves Iraq in chaos. Such an Iraq, torn by civil strife and filled with unguarded weapons stockpiles, would quickly become an exporter of terrorism and a nightmare for its neighbors.

A senior Bush administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged that there will be continued instability even after January's elections. But he said he was heartened by the fact that, as the insurgency grows stronger, Iraq's political figures are jockeying in a political process that hasn't turned bloody.

Yet some experts argue that, even if Americans and Iraqis do wrestle the country into stability over the course of years, the stark failures of the occupation and the damage they've done to U.S. credibility rank as a major foreign policy debacle."
Now obviously this mess is going to confront whomever is elected President on November 2nd. But the fact that there is still a significant portion of this country who feels that we're better off sticking with the guy who has us burried up to our neck in this anthill with honey coming out of our eyes is mystifying. They truly believe that Bush is a tough guy and that Kerry is not. For them, then, I'm going to be blunt.

Which of these guys has ever killed anyone?

Unless Bush has an even bigger skeleton in his closet than snorting coke at Camp David, I'm going to have to go with Kerry. When the shit hit the fan in Vietnam did John Kerry sit their reading My Pet Goat? No, he attacked a group of "insurgents" who were firing at him with machine guns. He risked his life to pull a man out of the water. Bush is not a tough guy. He only plays one on t.v.

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