Thursday, March 01, 2007

Retired General Pokes Holes In Pro-War Bombast

This article ran earlier last month, but is worth revisiting until Congress & our American chickenhawks Boy George & the Belligerent Bellicose Dick get it. *oops, sorry ~ he now prefers to be addressed as "the senior American official," especially when he's meddling in Afghanistan ~

"For the moment, the collision of the public's clarity of mind, the president's relentless pursuit of defeat and Congress's anxiety has paralyzed us. We may be doomed to two more years of chasing the mirage of democracy in Iraq and possibly widening the war to Iran. But this is not inevitable. A Congress, or a president, prepared to quit the game of 'who gets the blame' could begin to alter American strategy in ways that will vastly improve the prospects of a more stable Middle East."

The author is retired General William E. Odom, who was formerly Army lieutenant general & head of Army intelligence and director of the National Security Agency under Ronald Reagan. He also served on the National Security Council staff under Jimmy Carter. A West Point graduate with a PhD from Columbia, he now teaches at Yale, and is a fellow of the (conservative thinktank) Hudson Institute.

You'd think men such as he would have established the "cred" to warrant a close hearing by lesser beings who are only politicians.

But the latter seem to be too busy conducting what essentially has become a PR war ~ bombing each other with deadly slogans & jingoisms, in advance of the only war that really matters to them, the next elections ~ that they seem not to notice or care what a unmitigated disaster of the Mideast they've made.

A disaster, Gen. Odem notes (if history is any indication) will take at least a century to settle out. Maybe more, considering that the reason we were attacked in the 1st place was long-standing anti-American sentiment, as a result of previously botched U.S. military adventures in the region.

Intro to "Victory is Not An Option" (title bar):
[With respect to finding a way to alter American strategy]...
..."No task is more important to the well-being of the United States. We face great peril in that troubled region, and improving our prospects will be difficult. First of all, it will require, from Congress at least, public acknowledgment that the president's policy is based on illusions, not realities. There never has been any right way to invade and transform Iraq. Most Americans need no further convincing, but two truths ought to put the matter beyond question:

"First, the assumption that the United States could create a liberal, constitutional democracy in Iraq defies just about everything known by professional students of the topic. Of the more than 40 democracies created since World War II, fewer than 10 can be considered truly 'constitutional' -- meaning that their domestic order is protected by a broadly accepted rule of law, and has survived for at least a generation.

"None is a country with Arabic and Muslim political cultures. None has deep sectarian and ethnic fissures like those in Iraq.

"Strangely, American political scientists whose business it is to know these things have been irresponsibly quiet. In the lead-up to the March 2003 invasion, neoconservative agitators shouted insults at anyone who dared to mention the many findings of academic research on how democracies evolve. They also ignored our own struggles over two centuries to create the democracy Americans enjoy today. Somehow Iraqis are now expected to create a constitutional order in a country with no conditions favoring it.

"This is not to say that Arabs cannot become liberal democrats. When they immigrate to the United States, many do so quickly. But it is to say that Arab countries, as well as a large majority of all countries, find creating a stable constitutional democracy beyond their capacities.

"Second, to expect any Iraqi leader who can hold his country together to be pro-American, or to share American goals, is to abandon common sense...

"As Congress awakens to these realities -- and a few members have bravely pointed them out -- will it act on them? Not necessarily. Too many lawmakers have fallen for the myths that are invoked to try to sell the president's new war aims. Let us consider the most pernicious of them."

Read on. It's well worth the effort.



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