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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

After the massacre in Fallujah, what?

Slate's Fred Kaplan reports the obvious--that there is much more to be lost than won in this massive war crime. His conclusion:
Bush may well see the Fallujah offensive as a last gamble to turn things around. My guess is that, if it goes "well," by any stretch of a definition—and if the elections proceed with the slightest semblance of order—he might make preparations to declare victory and pull out. Such a move would almost certainly trigger chaos, but could this chaos be much more rampant than the state of life there now?
I agree with Kaplan, and have said so for a year and a half, that the chaos caused by pulling out would likely be no worse for Iraqis than the chaos caused by staying. I mean, in recent months Iraqis have been killed by car bombs, IED's, snipers, artillery, aerial bombardment, AC130 gunships, and tanks. US withdrawal removes the last four causes of death from the equation. But I disagree that Bush will pull out in any meaningful way. He may get smarter and decide to get the troops out of the cities and put them instead in fortresses near the oil pipelines and facilities that were the real reason for the invasion. Or not. But until Jenna and Barbara are on the front lines, he's not pulling out.