Monday, March 17, 2008

It's Always The Worst-Case Scenario


Another Iraq war "expert" presented in the Times, Kenneth Pollack, argues,
If we leave behind a raging civil war in which the Iraqi people are incomprehensibly worse off than they had been under Saddam Hussein and the Middle East more threatened by the chaos spilling over from Iraq than they ever were by the dictator’s arms, then no one will care how well-intentioned our motives.
If all that matters is the outcome, Mr. Pollack, then our pure-as-snow motives going in are no more relevant than would be our "well-intentioned motives" when pulling out. It's a false dichotomy anyway - unless Mr. Pollack sees the present situation as "a raging civil war in which the Iraqi people are incomprehensibly worse off than they had been under Saddam Hussein", as we don't need a force the size of the present occupation force to keep a significantly larger civil war from breaking out. As an "expert," you would think he would recall from the long period of sanctions how effective a "no fly zone" and total air dominance can be at preventing troop movements.

Let's look at Iraq's neighbors.... If a post-occupation insurgency were actually a threat to them (and possibly even if not), Turkey, Syria, and Iran could be anticipated to create "security zones" inside Iraq to limit its effect. This, of course, would be contrary to U.S. goals for the region, but none of those countries are going to permit an Iraqi civil war to spill across its borders. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait? They'll be fully backed by the U.S. military. That leaves Jordan and, even if we assume that Jordan is incapable of defending its border, even if we ignore its history and pretend that it cannot put down civil unrest, and even if we assume that the U.S. completely withdrew from Iraq (yes, there will be continued troops and continued air dominance for many years after "withdrawal), on the opposite side of Jordan is a nation called "Israel" that does not sit idly by when its neighbors fall into civil war and chaos.

Why can't proponents of indefinite occupation be honest? They don't fear a civil war leading to chaos. They fear the end of Iraq as a nation state, with neighboring companies carving it up into pieces in the name of "security". (Perhaps I'm giving them too much credit, though, as some so-called "experts" don't seem particularly bright or informed.)

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