John McCain continues to talk about a U.S. “victory” in Iraq and Sarah Palin baits Barack Obama for not using the word “win” when he discusses the war. But the hard reality facing whoever becomes President is a looming strategic defeat.
Over the past several months as the agreement has taken shape, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government has escalated its demands, and the Bush administration has made concession after concession. Yet even now, many powerful Iraqi politicians -- especially among the Shiites -- are demanding that American troops get out even faster.
Iraq seems intent on telling the United States the diplomatic equivalent of “don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
A smart, or even realistic, president would get the hint. We ain't got one of those yet.
So, the neocon dream of transforming Iraq into a land-based aircraft carrier for carrying out military strikes against Iran, Syria and other perceived enemies appears to be ending, regardless of whether neocon favorite, McCain, succeeds President Bush, or Obama does with his plan to remove U.S. combat forces over 16 months.
Under the latest version of the status-of-forces agreement, the only option for carrying out the neocon plan would seem to be the raw imposition of American imperial dominance, a move that would meet widespread international resistance and likely rekindle the insurrection inside Iraq.
The far more likely outcome in Iraq is the gradual withdrawal of U.S. forces, with Washington left with little to show for its investment in blood and treasure.
Despite the terrible price in blood, treasure and prestige, little may remain of Bush’s adventure besides the recognition of a painful strategic defeat for the United States and a historical reminder about the arrogance of power.
Given our penchant for forgetting the lessons of history, said 'reminder' will be purged from memory the next time we let some imperialistic bunch like the neocons seize power.
Note to President Obama: The right-wing is going to blame you for Bush's defeat. Don't let them get away with it. Keep the focus where it belongs. I suggest his, and many others', arrests and very public high-profile trials for war crimes and treason followed by public executions. If you do it right, there's enough of them we can put the hangmen on shift work.