The Mirage of ‘Victory’

Justin is traveling and his column will return on Monday.

Whatever you do, don’t ask John Kerry a question: you may live to regret it, as did a student at the University of Florida, who was blasted with a Taser gun by the campus “police” – while the Young Democrats sat there applauding. What strikes me as odd, however – aside from the fact that we seem to have slipped into an alternate universe, where the First Amendment was never enacted – is that Kerry just kept droning on, completely ignoring the Kafkaesque scene unfolding in front of him, intent on answering what he described as a “very important question.” (Earth to Kerry: knock off the Quaaludes!)

I’m sure the administration would love to do the same to Gen. John Abizaid, the retired former head of Centcom, who, in a recent talk given at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, let the cat out of the bag on Iran’s alleged drive to obtain nukes:

“Iran is not a suicide nation. I mean, they may have some people in charge that don’t appear to be rational, but I doubt that the Iranians intend to attack us with a nuclear weapon. … I believe that we have the power to deter Iran, should it become nuclear. There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran. Let’s face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we’ve lived with a nuclear China, and we’re living with [other] nuclear powers as well.”

Iran may not be a “suicide nation” – but we are. We’re currently spending ourselves into penury in order to “liberate” a nation that doesn’t want to be “liberated,” and whose populace thinks attacks on our soldiers are justified. Having thrown all of our military resources into this futile, unwinnable war, we are risking everything – our prestige, our economy, our allies – by betting on the mirage of “victory.”

What’s more, the lunatics in charge of the asylum are bound and determined to attack Iran, and nothing – not Congress (in the unlikely event they object), not common sense (if our elites should suddenly have a surge of rationality), and not the American people (if they ever wake up from their O.J.-and-Britney-induced narcosis) – is going to stop them.

The invasion and conquest of Iraq is just a prelude to the Main Event, which is looming ever closer and more menacingly, without any indication that the “opposition” party is going to stand in the way. In Iraq, preparations are already well underway, with “the redirection” going full swing and our alliance with “former” Ba’athist “dead-endersratcheting up the odds that the ongoing civil war is going to be bloodier and more vicious than even the worst prognostications of war opponents:

“Sunni political and tribal leaders are increasingly throwing in their lot with U.S. forces here against al-Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent types. But, to get them to come over to our side, the American military has fed them a steady diet of anti-Shi’ite propaganda. Arrests and killings of Shi’ite militants are announced from loudspeaker blasts; President Bush’s bellicose rhetoric towards Shia Iran is reported on friendly radio programs. But the majority of this country is Shi’ite. Are we setting ourselves up as the enemies of the majority here? Are we priming the pump for an all-in sectarian battle royale?”

Noah Shachtman’s question answers itself. While U.S. lawmakers from both parties hector the Iraqis over their lack of “reconciliation,” the American military is stoking up sectarian hatreds and fanning the flames of civil war.

Commenting on this, Matt Yglesias opines, “I don’t think one need necessarily see this as an incredibly deliberate development.” It’s an accident, you see, that “has, increasingly, led our strategy to evolve in a divide and rule direction rather than a nation-building one.”

I beg to differ. This administration has no more intention of “nation-building” in Iraq than it has in Iran: in both cases, the “strategy” is nation destruction, which is, after all, what the military does best. Civilians build nations: soldiers tear them down. It’s elementary, my dear Watson, that our policy of fomenting civil war in Iraq is no “accident.” Iraq is useful to us for one reason and one reason only: as a launching pad for the next war.

That war won’t launch, however, with the Maliki government standing directly in its path, and so our former sock puppets will have to be ditched: that confrontation is coming. The Iraqis, however, would have to be brain-dead not to see this, so it looks to me like they’re about to pull off a preemptive strike: the expulsion of the Blackwaterprivate” security firm for alleged atrocities carried out against Iraqi civilians may be the first step, with the second step being a request from the Iraqis that the U.S. military follow in Blackwater’s wake (or, perhaps, just the threat of such a request).

Pat Buchanan posed the pertinent question some time ago when he asked: What do we do if and when the Iraqi government asks us to leave?

The answer is: depose them and install more compliant sock puppets, ones who don’t talk back (or bite the hand that manipulates them, to mix a metaphor). With Iyad Allawi, the CIA’s former fave rave, waiting in the wings, and the Lobby pushing furiously for a U.S. attack on Iran before Bush leaves office, the wheels of the Mesopotamian centrifuge are spinning faster and faster, and it won’t be long before the whole place comes apart at the seams…

Which suits the Americans just fine. A stable Iraq, with a more-or-less functional central government presided over by the Shi’ite majority, would not countenance an American attack on Iran or Syria. A country in chaos, however, has no choice but to stand by and watch.

The Democrats keep inveighing against the “failure” of Iraq, the apparent inability of the Iraqi government to fix itself, the lack of any central authority, the roiling sectarian conflict that promises to erupt in a full-scale regional civil war – yet these measures of success and failure are misplaced. The Democrats’ error is to take the announced war aims of this administration at face value: haven’t they lied about everything else? There’s no reason to assume they’re telling the truth in this one instance.

As I have been saying for months – or is that years? – our real war aims have nothing to do with stability, democracy, or finding “weapons of mass destruction” that never existed in any case. Our goal has always been to plunge the Arab and Muslim nations of the Middle East into chaos, the better to move in, take control, and ensure the two main objectives of our foreign policy: access to oil, and security for a Greater Israel. A stable Iraq makes achieving these two goals more unlikely, while the U.S. occupation of Iraq – extended into the indefinite future – gives us many more options, including the option to extend the war beyond Iraq’s borders – which has been our real goal all along.

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

I neglected to note that, in addition to my talk at the John Randolph Club meeting – which, I’m reliably informed, has been entitled “The Wall of Silence: America’s Foreign Policy Discourse” – I’ll be involved in a formal debate on the question: Resolved: America Should Immediately Withdraw Her Forces from Iraq. Speaking for the affirmative: Peter Brimelow, Kirkpatrick Sale, and myself. Speaking for the negative: William Hawkins, SrdjaTrifkovic, R. Cort Kirkwood. It looks like this is going to be an exciting meeting: it’d be a pity if you’re in the Washington, D.C., area, and miss it.

The conference is being held September 21-22, 2007, The Hotel Washington, 515 Fifteenth Street, NW, Washington, D.C. For more information, call 815-964-8111. Ask for Christopher Check.

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Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of Antiwar.com, and a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He is a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and writes a monthly column for Chronicles. He is the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].