Thursday, November 30, 2006
They're spoiling it. posted by Richard SeymourThe latest rhetorical turn from Washington is that their occupation would be going perfectly fine, thank you, if the Iraqis would stop ruining it. "We all want them to succeed," Democratic Senator Evan Bayuh comaplained. "We all want them to be able to stabilize their country with the assistance that we've provided them." But "too often they seem unable or unwilling to do that." Senator Linsdey Graham, a Republican, reckons that "the Iraqis are incapable of solving their own problems through the political process and will resort to violence". And Carl Levin, who has always opposed the Iraq adventure and is on the liberal end of the Democrat party says "We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves." "Our commitment, while great, is not unending". Further: It's all Sadr's fault.
This is the mainstream critique of the war. The insistence of Bush that he will persist until "the mission is complete" and the recent hints that the British army will keep their troops in Iraq until 2016 reflects the fact that there is an interest and a strategy at stake that the occupiers can't afford to give up without a fight. They know that withdrawal will be seen as a massive defeat with global reverberations. A large part of the US political class which supported the war has decided that there will have to be a carefully managed extrication, and the pedictable line is therefore that Iraqis weren't up to the lofty goals that America had crafted for them. It conserves the empire, which will have many more battles ahead of it, offering a way out of the quagmire without conceding any important ideological claims.
The European ruling classes, meanwhile, are dragging their feet about supporting the Bush-Blair axis any further. They certainly don't want Afghanistan to fall to insurgents, but nor are they happy with continuing to throw cash and military capacity into operations run by a political alliance they no longer trust. They presumably want the Democrats to take the executive and mount a more cautious strategy to achieve essentially the same goals.