Monday, November 28, 2005

Iraq's role in US politics evolving rapidly The month of November has seen Iraq's role in US politics changing very rapidly indeed. In this recent post over on Just World News, I summed up some of the main changes under these headings: That latter part of the post referred, obviously, to the fact that Iraq, and all the business about its alleged "march toward democracy" is actually being subordinated to the demands of the US electoral calendar. In this post that I put up yesterday, I was looking at some of the ways that imperial powers have historically tried to "package" their retreats so that they can appear to look like victories. I noted, though-- regarding the withdrawal the French made from Algeria in 1962, under De Gaulle-- that that decision "may have made De Gaulle look masterful, statesmanlike, and 'modern'. But the loss of Algeria was nonetheless part of a worldwide retraction of French imperial power." I also argued: Anyway, you can go and see the rest of that argument, there. And another thing: I've been noticing another little phenomenon in US politics, recently, that I haven't seen anyone else yet remarking on, and that I haven't written about on JWN yet, either... That is this: Whereas up until now, it has been mainly the civilian pols (of both parties) who've been gung-ho for the war, urging increased troop levels etc., and the uniformed military that has expressed a lot more caution in well-positioned "leaks" to favored journalists-- suddenly, in recent weeks this situation seems to have been upended. Now it's the pols who're suddenly trying to concoct scenarios that involve a speedy--in time for the 2006 elections!-- troop drawdown, while several high-ranking officers have recently been quoted as saying, "Hey, hang on a moment, we're just turning the corner here.... Don't pull the rug out from under us now!" What's happening here? My best explanation is that the generals-- most of whom are fairly smart people-- clearly see which way the winds are blowing... They can see that the pols are shifting massively towards at least a significant drawdown of forces over the next 12 months (if not, yet, a complete withdrawal), and see probably realistically that the resulting situation in Iraq ain't going to be pretty. (Nor is the present situation there, of course.) Anyway, these generals may well be sensing that a large move to "blame the military" for the resulting disaster in Iraq is just around the corner; so they may right now be preparing to play that fine old military game of CYA... Not a seemly or an honest game to play, at all. But everyone else from the Prez on down will be playing it big-time over the year ahead-- so why not them? Meantime, whatever the policymakers in DC try to do, things in Iraq continue to get worse.


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