March 15, 2007

Bellus Interuptus (It's All About US...)

[I originally wrote this almost exactly two years ago, then forgot to push the "post" button. Plus ca change and all that, I guess… — JL]

The clamor to pull the US out of Iraq grows daily — especially in the US, where, as usual (or, at least, as with Vietnam), it's almost all about what's best for the US rather than what's best for Iraq. But the US helped get Iraq into the current mess, and it should help get Iraq back out of it, one way or another. Simply turning tail and leaving someone else to pick up the pieces — a "solution" shared by the left and right alike here — shouldn't be an option. Unfortunately, in a world where, for the US, war is so often the continuation of domestic politics by other means (yes, I've said that before), it's not just an option, it's SOP.

No, I don't know what the answer is — there may not be an answer here — and as someone who's usually well to the left of my surroundings who was dead against fighting the war for the given (transparently dishonest) reasons, but who might have supported a carefully-thought-out UN-sanctioned attempt to liberate Iraq from Saddam, with serious and realistic plans for the aftermath, I guess I might be expected to support a pull out. But again, the US (and Britain, to a lesser extent), has a responsibility for the havoc wreaked, and to just pick up your ball and walk home as so many on my side of politics seem inclined to do, is self-serving, solipsistic, and deeply irresponsible (no surprise there).

The war in Iraq seems to be turning into a domestic version of those old Cold War wars-by-proxy: but instead of being fought between Soviet and US shadows (or puppets), it's being more and more fought by proxy between different factions of US society.

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