OF PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS - Iraqi Options: A Gambler's Guide


By Tony Russell

... Read more at tonyrussell.blogspot.com

Option #1: Fight on until we have a victory - George Bush's favorite option

Prognosis: Ain't gonna happen. Mission out of commission. 140,000 U.S. troops in Iraq now, the number climbing rather than declining. Administration desperately trying to keep the lid on until mid-term elections are over. Ghastly civil war. Truckloads of tortured corpses dumped in Baghdad nightly. American occupying forces trapped in heavily fortified enclaves; targets every time they venture out. Instead of pumping oil out, we're pumping money in. Problem: How to lose a war without anyone's noticing. Hold your chips.

Option #2: Carve Iraq into three states, one for the Sunnis, one for the Shi'ites, and one for the Kurds - Option favored by abstract thinkers because it looks so orderly.

Prognosis: Unlikely to happen. Mission in division. Reality as opposed to theory: Only thing stable is instability. Turkey goes crazy and invades Kurdish state. Sunnis get no oil wells and attack Shi'ite state. Shi'ites ally with Iran and found theocratic state. Hedge your bets.

Option #3: Stage a phased withdrawal - Option offered by Democrats still sane enough to search for a way out of no way

Prognosis: Could only happen over Bush's dead body. Mission in remission. Visions of the exit from Vietnam for those who read history. Right wing would crucify "those who lost Iraq." Problem: Traded blood and cash for oil, then didn't get the oil. Smart play is to cut your losses, but these gamblers can't crawl away from the table.

Option #4: Abandon the democratic façade, stage a coup, and install a dictator or ruling junta - Option being generated by old hands in Mr. Bush's father's retinue

Prognosis: Likely to happen. Mission satisfaction. Lets us keep those huge permanent bases nobody talks about. Leaves the oil under our practical control. Betrays all those democratic ideals the administration trotted out as rationalizations for occupation after the "weapons of mass destruction" turned out to be "symbols of mass illusion," but practicality trumps democracy. Could open the door for a phased withdrawal; everybody's happy. Keeps Bush team from having to admit it sent the greatest army in the world into Iraq, spent $330,000,000,000 on the war, and got its butt beat. Daddy knows best. Bet the house.

© Tony Russell, 2006

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