Friday, February 29, 2008

A bit about Iraq

Frequent readers / people who know me are probably aware that I have... let's call them "issues" with the war in Iraq. Specifically, I think it was a horrendous tactical blunder and moreso I don't see any evidence that the now-targeted "endgame" - i.e. getting a nation overwhelmingly dominated by violent, religion-maddened tribalists to simply "skip" centuries of cultural evolution and go directly from killing one another of who goes to the right church to Jeffersonian Democracy in a few years - can realistically be achieved even if we DO manage to stabilize the day-to-day operations. We should leave, is my opinion, with the recognition that this CANNOT be done all at once and that we'll probably continue to have bases there same as we still do in Japan and Germany of course... but we should be focused on how to best end the military operation proper.

So far, the war has failed to dominate the presidential race mostly because it's so much in flux. The only thing you can be sure of is that the war will end SOONER than Republicans say it has to and LATER than Democrats promise it will. In fact, given that the election of a new president doesn't magically change every single general and officer in the field and at the Pentagon overnight it's probably going to end around the same time regardless of which side wins. The difference will be the rhetoric: A Democrat president will say that the war ended because Democrats ended it and shame on the Republicans for trying to stop the ending, a Republican will says that it's able to end because Republicans pushed for us to "surge" long enough to get over the hump and shame on the Democrats for trying to stop THAT.

In any case, I'm generally against prolonging the war without realistic cause. I'm reasonably certain that Barack Obama agrees with me about this, but then again I can't be sure because for me to know conclusively would require that Obama say something of actual substance and/or definition in his speeches and so far that hasn't happened yet. (Look guys, I like Barack just fine but the whole tone of his campaign up to this point turns me off completely - "Obamania" comes off more like a self-help religious movement than a political campaign, and that friends is when I check out. Call me back when the actual one-on-one campaign starts, where presumably he'll have to drop the poetry and make with the policy.) Hillary Clinton also agrees with me, which makes me feel kinda icky inside.

Meanwhile, John McCain most-definately disagrees with me; which is dissapointing but entirely unsurprising and not really enough to make me seriously reconsider my position. No, when Bob takes a political stance generally the only thing that can shake his resolve is to have a beautiful woman try to talk him out of it. I'm proud to say this is only effective about 96% of the time. So, on that note, here's Angelina Jolie's Washington Post article, in which the erstwhile star of "Tomb Raider" argues on behalf of extending U.S. Military presence in Iraq:

No, really. Angelina Jolie. And I even checked: Up is still up, and Hell is apparently pretty humid. This DOES help to explain that flying pig from earlier, though.

Now, someone help me out here. I can't decide which of these three new revelations is more confounding:

A globe-trotting "world citizen" from Hollywood generally seen as an icon of the "decadent liberal culture" so-called conservatives love to hate who's currently working with the United Nations giving something close to a thumbs-up to the military policy of a Republican president and his potential successor...

The fact that most of the actual full-on U.N. personel usually can't screw in a lightbulb without touching off a wave of corruption charges, bribery scandals and mismanagement.... but a pregnant lady who kinda does this job part-time in between a dozen other altruistic enterprises and making movies can go into a literal war zone, meet-with and provide a detailed report on every major player in the situation and emerge without even an "oops, I tripped on some rubble" issue...

OR the somewhat worrisome notion that the female lead from "Hackers" here argues this case more compellingly and with infinitely greater detail and reasoning than the President of the United States has been able to for SEVEN YEARS. Again, I'm not saying I'm changing my mind on this, but it IS the first time I've heard the opposing point argued this well outside of agenda-driven (and therefore largely untrustworthy) editorial mags.

So... that happened. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a bunker I need to get to before the dogs and cats start living together.