A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Friday, December 17, 2004 :::
Grim new blogging today after this public service announcement:

If you came here because someone sent you a copy of the Litany on the GWOT, please let me know at amindthatsuits@yahoo.com .I'd be interested to see where it is traveling.

For the full text of the Litany, please scroll down. For a sampling of A Mind That Suits, see August 10, 2003 archive.

For today, this thought:

A little over a year ago, I explained to a valued friend, a senior member of the Council on Foreign Relations, my nightmare of how the war in Iraq would play out: a unified Shi'ite state, Turkey confiscating Kurdistan, Russia reabsorbing such countries as Georgia to protect themselves, and to announce their return to international troublemaking. That friend looked at me, frankly, as if I were describing the latest science fiction movie. Ah, but great science fiction--1984, Brave New World, Farenheit 451, the work of Philip K. Dick--is based on a firm grasp of science and human nature. My own conjecture was based on a lifetime of reading history, from which I have learned one definite thing: putting the best face on things is an evil instinct when people's lives are at stake. Richard Nixon's henchmen joked that a publicly optimistic face when facing disaster was a woman named Rosie Scenario--and I say she is a terrific whore.

I have found only one contemporary analysis of the ethnic situation in Iraq--from the invaluable Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College. And I read Elie Khadourie's depressing history of the Kingdom of Iraq, in which I found that, in the 1930's, the Shi'ites were indeed dreaming of a pan-Shi'ite state.

Evidently they still are. One of the chief supporters of a US invasion was the head of something called the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. Guess what system he thinks Iraq should have? And guess who heads the unified Shi'a slate of candidates for the new parliament?

Am I wrong in thinking that our intellectuals should have been looking for all this stuff from the start? Why have I seen no comprehensive, critical survey of political thinking among Iraqi leaders? Why am I supposed to sit down and stop asking questions just because somebody uses the word "democracy?" Does Kim Jong-Il not bandy it about freely? Did we not very recently cheer as a large handful of nations dropped the word "democratic" from their names?

"Critical" is the important word. Truth is only found by criticizing, and so I will criticize myself. I forgot to include in my list of horrors a Syrian confiscation of the Sunni Triangle. But guess who has been funding the insurgency, according to one recent report? We probably should invade Iran and Syria, just as we should invade North Korea. But we went to war with the army Donald Rumsfeld wanted, not with the one we could have. And now we have no army to fulfill our new found imperial dreams, or even stave off a really concentrated set of attacks.

There are two little slivers of light that I can see: "Europe," which still means "Western Europe," may decide that an Atlantic Europe is best, or Turkey may come to see the slender military reed that "Europe" has become. Either way, Turkey may--and, please, let us emphasize "may"--tilt our way. That would be "nice," one supposes. An Iraq divided into four would no longer be Iraq, and we should have some sort of relationship, however grudging, with someone who controlled one of those fourths.

The other is that we will have blundered our way towards a solution to "the Iraq problem."

Let's call it "the Yugoslav model."

My CFR friend and I are still good friends. If your friends don't occasionally harbor the suspicion that you are insane, they probably don't know you that well. I still value his opinion and friendship highly, and of course we do not know how it will turn out. But I must admit I no longer reader certain conservative writers with the enjoyment I once did, and there are some I simply no longer read--particularly if they didn't land on Mr. Rumsfeld for the complete lie that horrible man dared utter in front of the troops last week. I would like to take comfort from the fact that the President gave the Medal of Freedom to people who fought Mr. Rumsfeld in the bureaucratic wars. But none of them still has his job.

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 10:01 AM



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