Monday, January 10, 2005

What the Iraqi Election Reveals About Bush's Motives

The Administration continues on course to spark a full-scale civil war in Iraq. General Brent Scowcroft, perenially a critic of this Bush Administration's Iraq policies now says he believes the vote, under current conditions, has great potential for deeping the conflict. Specifically, if the Sunnis boycott the vote and are not represented in the resulting government, the insurgency is certain to continue, deepen, and take on even more the character of a civil war between Sunnis and Shia'a. In addition, the Kurds will be left with a minority position and little protection from the Shia'a majority under the current Constitution, leaving us with the choice between supporting the government we have fought to create in its almost undoubted assault on the aims of the Kurds, or to support the Kurdish minority's asperations against our own client governement. None of these scenarios is the rosy picture of a blooming democratic desert that the Bush Administration likes to paint. Even if the elections CAN go forward, they are only going to make things even worse.

Into this tragic picture pops a ray of hope from an unexpected source: the Association of Muslim Scholars held talks with a US delegation over the weekend and made the extraordinary offer to call off the Sunni election boycott in return for a timetable for US (note they did not say 'foriegn', just 'US') troop withdrawl. Sadly, the Bush Administration has rejected the offer and refuses to set any sort of map to withdrawal.

Apparently, the Administration does have contingency plans in place which might lead to withdrawal (pigs flying and unseasonally cold weather in Hades are rumoured to be some of the preconditions) at some point after the January 30th elections. But they are unwilling to really spell out the conditions, let alone a date certain. You have to wonder why Bush is so unwilling to negotiate on this issue. It is obviously critical to have Sunni participation for legitimacy's sake and, more fundamentally, to avoid a full-scale civil war with our troops in the middle. Bush has lied so well and so often can't he tell just an additional little one, like a date for withdrawal, for such an important purpose? Obviously, Bush is an "ends-means" ethicist, why can't we get a little of that thing he does so well in the cause of peace, instead of for breaking Medicare, dismantling Social Security, waging the 'War on Terror', 'tort reform', screwing the environment, and all those other things he's lied about? Just once, can't Bush lie FOR us?

Even handed the gift of legitimate and largely peaceful elections on a platter by AMS, Bush will have none of it because it doesn't suit his purposes. Either Bush and his Neo-Con cronies are some seriously deep files, which even old schemers like Scowcroft can't fathom, or Bush is just intent on making, and keeping Iraq a divided, bloody, mess of a 'nation' for the forseeable future in the cause of keeping his handpicked henchmen in power, and his favorite cronies knee-deep in contracts. Personally, I think the latter is a lot more likely.

Why would he sacrifice American lives, honor, and treasure to this miserable enterprise, you might ask? Simple. Because he can.

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