Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Way Forward in Iraq - Yeah It Sucks

I was against the Iraq invasion from the start.

In fact, I was so against the Iraq invasion that it cost me a job as a CIA analyst. I wanted to serve my country after college and the CIA was where I wanted to do it. Unfortunately, I was just finishing (rather successfully I might add) the final round of my CIA job interview/testing process (a process that took me almost 2 years to complete) when President Bush let fly with a decapitation strike on Baghdad.

I was at Langley when the strike happened. The invasion of Iraq began while I sitting in CIA's crappy cafeteria watching Fox News (Fox was on everywhere I went in the building). I was waiting to give a final interview to a CIA shrink to prove that I was not a nut. The job was mine.

It never happened. I proved I was a nut.

I walked into the shrink's office (slender, well dressed and attractive young lady) loaded for bear. I was so angry I was shaking. I couldn't believe that Bush had actually done it. But I never yelled. Not once. That would have landed me in a drab room with some Virginia Farm Boys that I knew I didn't want to talk to.

Talking barely above a whisper I started the conversation off with, "This agency gets $6 billion a year to spend any way it wants. $6 billion! With no Congressional oversight! All CIA is supposed to do is give good intelligence and not let the policy makers push it around when your analysis doesn't support their policy! Saddam is not a clear and present danger to our national security interests. Why are we fighting this war?"

I worked in some stuff about Cheney being a "loon" who "lost his goddamned mind after 9/11". I cited Scowcroft’s Op-ed in the Journal, Friedman from the Times, Brzezinski's articles in everything. I told her "Iraq is a mess that we don't need and we certainly do not want."

This went on for about 20 minutes. Then I got up, calmly shook her hand and left. That interview is on tape somewhere in the basement of that agency. I got a form letter 1-week letter in the mail terminating my application.

My point is that we all had positions on the war back then, so what? We are there. Now what?

There are 3 options. They all suck.

They are: Stay the Course. Withdraw tomorrow. Put in More Troops.

Before I get to that let me throw out some facts (these are MY facts, but they are still facts).

Fact: Unfortunately, for us, this country is addicted to fossil fuels. Fully 1/3 of the world's proven oil reserves reside in and around Iraq.

Fact: Unfortunately, for us, Iraq's well being has became tied to our national security interests with this shitty little war. We broke it and so we bought it. Saddam went out when America came in (smart W, very fucking smart).

Fact: Unfortunately, for us, if America pulls out of Iraq now or in the foreseeable future Iraq will fall to extremist elements who would then control a large chunk of the world's oil reserve. That would not be good.

Fact: Rummy is gone and the Democrats control both Chambers of Congress. The Democrats can't force the President to withdraw from Iraq, but they can vote to cut off funding for the war.

Fact: Democrats are no more and no less "weak" on national security than are the Republicans. There are too many idiots in both parties.

This brings us back to our 3 options.

I think everyone is AGAINST staying the course in Iraq (with the small exception of those hunkered down in the West Wing of the White House). I'm not even going to bring that option up.

So, who is in favor of a troop pullout? Or, what the Democrats (and some Republicans) REALLY have to consider is who is in favor of cutting off funding for the war because cutting off funding is the only way a pullout is going to happen.

If you think Bush is leaving Iraq without the Congress yanking the money you haven’t been paying attention for the last 6 years.

Democrats, you talked a lot of garbage about this when you were running for office a month ago (a troop pullout, not cutting off funding).

"If I'm elected I'm going to hold President Bush accountable!" yelled Vermont Democratic candidate Peter Welch (now a Congressman) on the campaign trail. "We need a new direction in Iraq! I'm going to provide that!"

Get ready to start voting against funding the troops Congressman.

Rummy is gone and the Democrats control both Chambers of Congress. There is no other way to bring our troops home than to cut off funding. Squirm, dance and jabber all you want but if you stand for a troop withdrawel then you stand for cutting off funding.

“Cut off funding for our troops?” said now-Congressman Welch when his advisors broke him the bad news while showing him the very real and very sobering statistics of what happens to the global price of crude when Iraq goes into the extremist shitter, “I can’t do that. There has to be another way!”

There is. It's the final and only real option. It's the John McCain option. But even the Great John McCain can't make the option any better than it is (although he has guts for championing it).

Put more American troops into Iraq. Stabilze the country with overwhelming brute force. Restore diplomatic talks with Syria and Iran as well as do every other thing that the Baker-Hamilton report recommended the President and Congress do.

Yes, it sucks. Yes, the chance for success is slim. Yes, we have no other option.

That's the rub folks (and this is the truest thing in here): If you are not in favor of “staying the course” in Iraq and you are not in favor of cutting off funding for our troops then by default you are in favor of putting in more troops.

If this idea make you sick to your stomach ask yourself how sick $8/gallon gasoline would make you feel. If you're still sick to your stomach then you must be in favor of a $4 "Patriot Tax" on all gasoline to fund alternative fuel source development. If you are in favor of that you are a great American. If you are in favor of that and you make less than $50,000/year you are a true patriot.

God Bless You.