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Sunday, August 31, 2003

US out, Neocons in
Now there's a solution! From William S. Lind in Counterpunch. Excerpt:

Here we encounter the essence of the problem, and of the American failure: those in Washington who brought about this war sought to destroy a regime, but they ended up destroying the Iraqi state. In an era when the most powerful international fact of life is the decline of the state, recreating a state is very difficult. It is not surprising that American efforts to recreate a state in Iraq have thus far failed. Iraqi efforts may also fail, leaving the region in a permanent state of chaos similar to what we find in places like West Africa. Again, by staying longer in Iraq the U.S. does not diminish this possibility, it increases it.

That is my basic answer to the question of what is to be done: promise to have every American soldier out of Iraq by Christmas, and do it. Between now and then, our focus needs to be on keeping the troops who are still in Iraq alive and generally diminishing our role there. We should pull the troops out of cities wherever possible, garrisoning them where they will have little interaction with Iraqis. We should turn every function in Iraq over to any Iraqis who will take it, starting with the puppet Governing Council we set up. The Council will not survive after we are gone, but it can provide some useful cover as we get out. We should welcome the U.N., the Arab League, and anyone else who is willing to come into Iraq as we get out. Leaving someone else holding the bag is what is called skillful diplomacy.

Leaving Iraq will not be a defeat for America, because America never had any interests at stake in Iraq in the first place. There were no weapons of mass destruction, Saddam and Bin Laden hated each other's guts and the notion that Iraq constituted a threat to American security was pure invention. Genuine threats to American security may arise in a post-state Mesopotamia, but we have already created that monster and we will have to live with it. Folly has its consequences.

An American withdrawal from Iraq will be a defeat for the neocon clique that started the war in the first place. To that I say, "Hurrah!" The sooner the neocons are defeated and driven from power, the less the chance that American soldiers will be sent to die in more unnecessary and strategically counterproductive wars. In fact, to make the punishment fit the crime, we ought to round up every neocon in Washington and make them all "Special Representatives" to Iraq, with orders to get on the next plane to Baghdad and only come back on the last plane out. Then, we should forget to send that last plane.
(Emphasis added.)