November 29, 2006
US & Iraq: Imbecilic Navel-Gazing as Strategy
I read and was told that the major US media (or to adopt the childishly imbecilic Neo-Bolshevik speak of the American blogs, "Mainstream Media") has finally gotten around to calling the Iraqi civil war, a civil war. I rather foolishly thought that this might be welcomed among the more cogent and cogniscent corners of online commentary as a breath of fresh air and a good point of departure for actually bloody well tackling the disaster looming in front of the US of A, rather than childishly whinging on about terminology and pretending if only they don't bloody admit how bad it is, some magical intervention will somehow rescue them from the now inevitable disaster. I do say invevitable, for the Americans have already lost - as the Soviets already had two or three years before they could bring themselves to admit it.
But no. Rather, even into the center regions of the American Whankatariat, idiotic, droolingly cretinous idiotic denial, and simple minded self regarding idiocy is the result. The essential objection as far as I can tell (once I peel away the piss-poor half-informed and 1/4 understood history of Shia and Sunni, of Arab and Kurd - typical "they've always been" rubbish) - is that calling a spade a spade may lead the US to flee the field.
Rather the same kind of navel-gazing domestic partisan whanking self-deception that got the dumb fucks into this bloody situ in the first goddamned place. Refusing to step and call the problems at the moment of emergence by their proper name and think clearly, rationally (not bloody "we can't afford to lose this so let's wish really hard!") about the possible strategems.
I can bloody well sympathize at some level with the American center right people not wishing to cut and run willy nilly from the field. That's reasonable. Too late, but reasonable. To merely deny reality and use the same benighted self-decieving idiotic pseudo-analysis of the Right Bolshy ideologues that made this incredible mess only digs your goddamned hole deeper.
But for Dean Esmay, and David Schuler, no the emerging Iraqi civil war - like many civil wars in developing countries that have been so labelled without Right Bolshy style self deception nattering on - does not fit well with 18-20th century European state-based conceptions of civil wars. What a bloody surprise, neither do these states fit well within the European nation-state or even European state model of the 18-19th centuries development.
You bloody fools deserve to bloody well flee on helicopters if you're so bloody afraid of the mere term civil war, and a bit of - for the sheer fucking novelty value - stepping up and taking an early grasp of an emerging problem (or emerged problem really, but I have to grant the Americans a bit of time to overcome their profound self-deception, however contemptible the emerging trend of blaming American profound, extensive and literally jaw-dropping incompetence in Iraq on the Iraqis).
Why if you start understanding Iraq as a civil war, you might just be in danger of being able to rationally look at strategies to deal with the same - at a stage where it is not already too goddmaned fucking late. You've already taken a reasonable chance at success and fucked it into a cocked hat, perhaps you'd like to fuck yourselves even further with this ludicrious partisan whanking on, arguing over terminology and profound self-deception?
I have never before felt contempt for the US, but bloody hell if I am not starting to. The bloody country has spent the past four years pissing away one opportunity after another becuase it can't stop gnawing away at its own bloody bollocks over its own navel-gazing obsessions that have fuck all to do with solving its real problems in the Islamic world, saving what remains to be saved from the Iraq catastrophe or trying to change from being worse than a blinded gored bull in a china shop...
What is worse, this is likely to be followed by Left-driven protectionist populist isolationism given the American right's sheer, incredible, Bolshevik-like incomptence and self-regarding idiocy.
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The bloody country has spent the past four years pissing away one opportunity after another becuase it can stop gnawing away at it's [sic] own bloody bollocks
I'm surprised you think the current U.S. administration is flexible enough at this point to gnaw away at that particular part of its metaphorical anatomy.
Posted by: Eva Luna at November 29, 2006 09:47 AM
A thought: The unwillingness of the Bush admin to even appear on al-Jazeera, or engage with the Arab mainstream opinion at all - only really paying attention to US domestic politics - reveals the imperialist flavour to the neocon project: You don't talk to the natives on your level. Their democracy-building was democracy-imposing. The old Middle East needed to be swept out, into the dustbin of history, to make way for the New Middle East, which would be just like the West.
rather than childishly whinging on about terminology and pretending if only they don't bloody admit how bad it is, some magical intervention will somehow rescue them from the now inevitable disaster.
I seem to recall Bush recently comparing Iraq to Vietnam, but only to argue that Vietnam went badly because the public lost the will to see it through blah blah blah.
This would explain the reasoning supplied by fruitbats on the Right. Using the term "civil war" will scare the American public and ultimately result in a failure like Vietnam (again, entirely buggered perception, but there it is).
Posted by: eerie at November 29, 2006 10:56 AM
And I remember Condoleezza Rice recently saying that Iraqis should learn from how Vietnam has handled its relations with the US. I suppose she meant post 1970s, but, really, do they hire people because they're politically tone-deaf, or is that part of the job training at the White house?
Anyway, semi-on topic, I felt I had to share this mysteriously ignored little 2003 gem from one of most high-profile neoconistas in the US, Michael Ledeen. Who, I gather, has also advised the Bush admin on national security affairs. Just for a little extra taste of the lunacy.
Posted by: alle at November 29, 2006 12:09 PM
jesus fuck...just read it...I knew he was a tosser, but not batshit insane.
Curse you alle, for linking to that article.
Posted by: eerie at November 29, 2006 12:48 PM
my comment on that article would have to be:
That is truly a GEM. Good to have so it can forever be hurled into his face. I do wonder though: Has Ledeen ever BEEN to either France or Germany?
Benador Associates keeps creeping up these days ... which I do find interesting.
Posted by: MSK at November 29, 2006 03:04 PM
Colin Powell, be still my heart:
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell has just announced that he "would call [Iraq] a civil war" and urged world leaders to follow suit. Speaking from a world leaders forum in Dubai, Powell explains that he uses the term because he likes to "face the reality." He said that he might recommend the use of the term by the administration, if he were still head of the State Department.
(via FP blog)
Posted by: eerie at November 29, 2006 04:22 PM
I knew he was a tosser, but not batshit insane
Ledeen has to take meds for three weeks to come down to merely batshit insane.
And his daughter, was it, was running a good part of Iraq for while.
Posted by: matthew hogan at November 29, 2006 08:05 PM
MSK -- "Benador Associates keeps creeping up these days ... "
Yes they do. But it's good they promote themselves, it would be much harder to tell what agenda these people have if they didn't label it Benador. Now one can simply have a look at the members gallery to find out what worldview they're paid to be pushing.
I recognize about half or one-third of the names, and associate all with either anti-Muslim bigotry, or MENA domino-theory lunacy/neoconism, or, more commonly, both. (And oh, if it isn't Amir Taheri, of previous Aqoul fame.)
... but some seem misplaced: Saadeddin Ibrahimi, who I thought was an Egyptian good guy, Kanaan Makiya, ditto Iraqi, and Richard Pipes, whose politics I know nothing about -- maybe he's just been included because of his nutjob son. And oh fuck, what is Ayman Nour doing in there? Someone should tell him he's in bad company, and I don't mean the mafiosi he's presently incarcerated with. Even more odd considering Benador Associates' Arnaud de Borchgrave has done all he could to undermine him in American eyes.
If there's a plot, it thickens.
Posted by: alle at November 30, 2006 11:16 AM
Amir Taheri is a weird case. Even WEIRDER, however, is that he is a regular commentator of both Arab News (the #1 Saudi English-language paper) and Al-Sharq al-Awsat (where he is also the main book reviewer). I can see where the Saudis don't mind his pro-Shah credentials of the 70s, when he was editor-in-chief of the main Iranian newspaper ... but he is openly & virulently pro-Israel (in the pro-Sharon/Netanyahu/etc. sense of the word).
As for the Benadoristas - I have to confess that I am somewhat intrigued by the boss-lady. Is she the Latina equivalent of Oriana "Exterminate the Muslims!" Fallaci?
Re: Saad al-Din Ibrahim & Ayman Nur ... I wouldn't worry too much about their inclusion. We don't know at what time their were put on the list. They both were (and to an extent still very much are) domestic Egyptian personas and thus may have been picked up by Benador when the latter thought that they'd fit the general template. Ditto, btw, for Azar Nafisi.
As for Richard Pipes, well ... he does fit the mold quite nicely.
Posted by: MSK at November 30, 2006 11:35 AM
Richard Pipes is an old-timer Cold Warrior historian of Russia and the Soviet Union. A brief bio is here, but one really has to read his stuff to get the full flavor.
Posted by: Eva Luna at November 30, 2006 04:47 PM
Oh, yeah, Pipes was on Team B, wasn't he. The group that, while the Soviet Union was in a process of internal collapse that the CIA missed completely, was advising the government that the CIA's assessments of their capacities was dangerously understated.
Daniel did not fall far from the tree.
Posted by: Tom Scudder at December 1, 2006 02:36 AM
You have to wonder with Ledeen whether his hangin' out with Iranian assets like Ghorbanifar shouldn't be taken into account in the batshit insane adjustment.
Posted by: Alex at December 7, 2006 08:24 AM