The year 2007 feels, as Yogi Berra put it, as deja vu all over again. Specifically, it's somewhere between 1971 and 1973. The country as a whole is fed up with a foreign military entanglement. The Democratic Congress is mired in its speech-infested swamp. The Republican president is lying and stonewalling. Remember?
One ... Two ... Three ... Four,
We don't want your f*cking war.
Somewhere between the May Day 1971 demonstration and the beginning of the televised Watergate hearings we hovered in an endless conflict in which -- whatever the purity of the original democratic impulse -- our national behavior negated its purpose and worthiness.
In the case of Iraq, of course, the whole thing was a charade from Day One. Democracy? Specious. Weapons of mass destruction? False. Al Qaeda link? Totally made up. Profits for Halliburton and the defense industry? Ding, ding, ding!
Back then, Henry Kissinger memoed Richard Nixon that beginning a withdrawal too soon would become like "salted peanuts" to the American people (imagine Henry the K with his paw deep into a snack bowl in the Oval). Last Thursday the foreign policy furies -- the K himself, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Brent Scowcroft, former national security advisers all -- warned ominously on Charlie Rose about sudden moves.
Surprise, surprise, the negotiators proposed negotiation.
Remember the K's "peace is at hand"? Days before the 1972 election -- the one Nixon didn't really need to burglarize the Democratic National Committee to win but did it just for so -- Henry the K is negotiating with Le Duc Tho and he lets the phrase slip to reporters.
Little chance of that repeating itself. There's no adversary to negotiate with and there's no re-election (um ... re-ballot box stuffing) to win.
The Bushies -- as even they call themselves in Justice Department memos, we now know; you saw it here first (see this post)-- think if they can keep saying "Al-Qaeda" and claiming that things are just like an open-air market in Indiana, we'll pin a medal on them. They're wrong.
Still, there'll be hell to pay for when this one winds down.
Oh, maybe the worst won't come to pass. Maybe left to their own devices the Shiites (how close to a curse word that name!) and the Sunnis (did any of them go to school in New Paltz?) will get scared out of their wits that they'll really have to kill or be killed -- and decide to go for a truce.
Or maybe not. Anyone remember Yugoslavia, where there used to be a strongman dictator. He died and ... um ... what happened again? Ethnic what? Ah, yes, cleansing. So hygienic.
What we should've done is stay the hell out of Iraq. Shoulda, woulda coulda.
Now we're stuck with the mad logic that if our troops stay, more of them will get killed for nothing of any value to us. Certainly not to keep the price of gas down.
On the other hand, if they leave, there's always the chance of a bloodbath in Iraq, revolts in Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, and Iran eventually getting the idea to stabilize the Middle East by dropping Da Bomb. (Ya think they don't have it already? I've got a nice bridge in Brooklyn for you at a rock bottom price.)
Of course, there's always the office pool concerning when U.S. troops will march into Iran. Who knew? I just found out about the pool: I was more inclined to bet on Syria being next.
It would almost be easier to declare Iraq a U.S. territory. We couldn't: that would be colonialism.