Monday, February 1, 2010

Don't Panic: Will the U.S. and the Taliban make a deal for peace?

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2010 at 5:50 PM


After nearly a decade of study, more than 400 columns written, and half a bottle of rum this morning, I have uncovered what I believe may be the three immutable presidential laws of the War On Terror™.

Law No. 1: Lofty foreign objectives are important, except when they aren't.

When the U.S. invaded Iraq, President Bush's stated goals were to remove a nuclear, chemical, biological terrorist threat, to bring peace to Iraq and the Middle East, to teach would-be challengers not to mess with the U.S. of A., and to install a democracy that would spread throughout the Middle East faster than cold sores on a high school field trip. Troops would return home in six months or a year, and we'd have a parade. Maybe several parades.

Well, it turns out Iraq was never a WMD or terrorist threat to the U.S. Our botched invasion and occupation unleashed a horrific civil war that has left hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and turned millions more into refugees. Our aggression encouraged Iran and North Korea to accelerate their nuclear programs, while our unwillingness to listen to our international allies simultaneously diminished the U.S.'s ability to coordinate an effective international response. And the Iraqi democracy we installed is a thug regime that doesn't uphold democracy or justice in any sense Americans would tolerate in their own lives.

President Bush never really acknowledged that his war aims were bullshit. Instead, he simply modified his goals. After the 2006 congressional elections, Bush changed up his goal to conform to reality. Instead of turning Iraq into a Jolly Rancher-scented fairyland of freedom, his new goal became merely to create a self-governing Iraq that did not threaten the U.S. Hey, wasn't pre-invasion Iraq a self-governing non-threat to the U.S.? Oh, never mind that.

Continue Reading "Don't Panic: Will the U.S. and the Taliban make a deal for peace?"

(Photo illustration by Andisheh Nouraee)

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