Thursday, October 19, 2006

Iraq and America: a Tale of Two Dystopias

Three years and counting into our Iraq fiasco, even senior Republicans like Senator John Warner (R-Virginia) think it's time for a new strategy. They're a thousand days and several hundred billion dollars late, but hey, better late than never, huh?

Warner, who is head of the Senate Armed Services Committee, thinks a "change of course" might be necessary if things don't improve in the next two months. Why he wants to wait two more months before changing course is anybody's guess, as is how the chairman of the SASC is just now deciding that things are "drifting sideways." If Iraq is Warner's idea of drifting sideways, I'd hate to see what he considers "going down the toilet."

Larry Diamond, an adviser to former Secretary of State James Baker's Iraq Study Group , says of the Iraq situation that "This is the fourth quarter, there's two minutes left in the game, and we're down two touchdowns."

As far as I'm concerned, Diamond left a few details out of his analogy. It's also fourth down, we're on our own one-yard line, and the punter just fumbled the snap in the end zone.

Stand Up, Stand Down, Sis Boom Bah!

It's clear to everyone but young Mister Bush and his autistic base that his "stand up, stand down" strategy hasn't worked and isn't going to. For years, many Iraqi forces have refused to fight their fellow Iraqis, and the ones who agree to participate in operations can't be trusted.

Sabrina Tavernise of the New York Times reports that "The Iraqi government removed the country’s two most senior police commanders from their posts on Tuesday, in the first broad move against the top leadership of Iraq’s unruly special police forces."

Shiite militias have infiltrated the police and have formed death squads that operate outside control of Iraq's Interior ministry with what Tavernise calls "virtual impunity." In other words, the forces charged with stopping sectarian violence are the very ones committing it. Tavernise reports that a replacement for the two dismissed senior police commanders has been chosen, but says that "his name could not be released until adequate security arrangements had been made for his family."

Run that through your decoder ring and you get "They can't disclose his name until they figure out how to protect his family from the police he's supposed to be in command of."

A Tale of Two Dystopias

The neoconservative experiment in Iraq has created two dystopias: one Hobbesian, one Orwellian.

Thomas Hobbes was the was the 17th century British philosopher who is considered to be the founder of the modern social contract tradition and who said that life in the state of nature is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." The current social contract in Iraq is even nastier and more brutish than the one that existed under Saddam Hussein, and can hardly be considered much better than conditions that exist in the wild.

A recent study published by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Healthestimates that "As many as 654,965 more Iraqis may have died since hostilities began in Iraq in March 2003 than would have been expected under pre-war conditions." Given the population ratios between Iraq and the U.S., 654,000 Iraqis equate to roughly 7 million Americans.

Young Bush, of course, dismisses the Johns Hopkins figures as "just not credible," and says that he reckons the true number of Iraqis killed in the war to be closer to 30,000. Irony must be chuckling in its coffin over Bush referring to anyone else--much less a respected institution like Johns Hopkins--as "not credible," and lamenting at the Orwellian dystopia the United States has become.

In George Orwell's 1984, Big Brother dealt with his political embarrassments by making them disappear. In 2006, Jeb Bush's big brother makes over a half-million dead Iraqis disappear by denying they ever existed.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.


  1. I hate analogies.

    "Larry Diamond, an adviser to former Secretary of State James Baker's Iraq Study Group , says of the Iraq situation that "This is the fourth quarter, there's two minutes left in the game, and we're down two touchdowns."

    Uh, sounds like we're going to lose.

  2. Let's take the football analogy and run with it:

    "The Americans have the best and bravest players, but their time is running out, they're thinned out with injuries, and on the road in a very hostile stadium -- how hostile? They'll be lucky to leave with all their arms and legs and sanity, win or lose! Of course, the team's management (and some coaches) will have fled the stadium by helicopter long before then, on their way to their lobbyist-funded golf junkets to Scotland..."