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Friday, June 20, 2014

Maybe dig up Gertrude Bell and burn her in effigy

The I told-you-so-ers are in full bay in the media: the incandescently angry-about-everything John McCain; his lapdog, Lindsey Graham, even the Cheneys, pater et filiam. Relying on the truth-proofness of Fox News and its sister paper, The Wall Street Journal, they snarl and whinge from the sidelines, lusting to combine their vast ambition and commercial interests to continue the Thousand Year American Reboot of a region so crazed by hate it makes the Texas congressional delegation seem like a Quaker meeting.

Only former Bush viceroy Paul Bremer- who fired the whole Iraqi Army in his Coalition Provisional Army, remains a sphinx.

Still, it must've been quite a set of sights from the drones droning overhead: first, thousands of men, racing across the desert in their smalls, heaving aside weapons and ammo and communications equipment, abandoning vehicles, and generally giving the lie to the idea that the United States' last- as in before the current one- chapter in the Middle East was both successfully and finally over.

Then there was the sight to follow: the ISIS forces swarming over the desert in hot pursuit, stopping only to scoop up vast quantities of armaments stamped "Made in USA", execute a few thousand prisoners at a ditch, and rob an Iraqi bank of several hundred millions (the ISIS forces are reported to manage a stash of cash totaling some two billion dollars).

And so we go back:

What we have now is something much more limited: a hastily-improvised, emergency military bailout for a country on the brink. In her post yesterday, my colleague Amy Davidson asked: “How does a mission like that end?” The most optimistic answer is that it succeeds in its immediate aims and evolves into a broader effort to stabilize and rebuild Iraq, with the assistance of interested parties internal and external. Sadly, there are countless other possibilities, many of them dreadful. That’s why President Obama was looking so glum. 
In a previous post, I suggested that the United States, in invading Iraq, opened Pandora’s Box. It seems unlikely that, eleven years later, a few hundred military advisers will be able to close it.

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