THE BLOG
07/05/2006 09:01 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Leaving Iraq

Who can argue with democracy in the Middle East? That sure would be nice. Bush and Cheney never understood that the non neo-con objection to invading Iraq was it wouldn't work. A western country, let alone America, imposing democracy on an Arab state from the barrel of a gun is a terrible, awful, miserable idea. Neo-cons like Francis Fukayama love to say that no one could have predicted the disaster that is Iraq today. Hundreds of millions of people around the world -- right and left -- saw exactly what was coming and screamed at the top of their lungs. By "nobody" Francis Fukayama must mean "Neo-Cons".

Bush was wrong to invade in the first place. Now Bush says cutting and running from Iraq would be disastrous. Let's look at his track record and see if he can rightly claim expertise on the subject: contrary to Bush's assertions, the war in Iraq won't be quick, it won't be cheap, it won't help break down terrorism, it won't make America safer, it's not going to stop WMD, it's not going to stop a tyrant from running Iraq, it's not going to improve stability in the middle east, China is getting involved now, it's become a huge disaster that will go down in history as the worst of all the results of this miserable war, and it won't even help the oil markets. Our resources are drained -- the U.S. Government is bankrupt and cannot pay for the needs of its citizens: we're cutting anti-terror funding to New York City and Washington. The only thing left to accomplish in Iraq is delaying the day when all hell breaks loose.

The record shows Bush has been literally dead wrong on every major issue concerning Iraq, not to mention his stubbornly inept analysis of pre-war intelligence. In fact, he's been not just wrong but spectacularly, disastrously wrong, and worse, has shown no meaningful interest in learning from any of his grotesque failures. Why is anybody even considering this man's take on Iraq?

In fact, the best way to determine a successful course of action in the Middle East is to do the exact opposite of what Bush says. Bush is the George Costanza of foreign policy. Everything he has done in the Middle East has failed miserably. If he says 'stay' the best thing to do is leave.

Who has been right about Iraq? Who has been consistently able to predict exactly what will happen? The Left. I say the Left, not Democrats, because too many Democrats voted for the war. Should we listen to the side that has gotten everything right or the side that has wrought disaster? Was the Left just lucky on Iraq? Who cares? Lucky is better than Bush any day.

As soon as we leave, whether it is a year or ten or fifty years from now, Iraq will instantly break into a vicious civil war. We have two basic choices allowing for some variation. We either stay in Iraq forever becoming the new Saddam Hussein, or we realize we have lost a war we could never win and cut our losses. Bush's big idea, to continue with the plan that created this disaster, meets the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. How can anyone sane listen to Bush?

Nobody is, really. Nobody is putting their money where their mouth is anyway. Bush's core support group is making our kids pay for the war. They aren't taking responsibility for their beliefs and paying for Iraq themselves -- no way -- they want their tax cuts. How disgusting is that? The great patriots of America are not running in droves to the local recruitment office. Why? Because everybody knows we're not defending America -- we're failing to shove democracy down the throats of a lot of people who want us to leave them alone. America's Great Patriots don't want a bite out of that sandwich -- they're not even willing to give back their tax cuts! If that's not a sign nobody believes in Bush's war then life is meaningless. From this point forward every effort, every sacrifice, every dollar spent and every life lost is a waste.

So let's talk about the disaster the Republicans claim will happen if we leave. Only 7% of the insurgency is Al Qaeda or foreign. The insurgency is really Iraqi citizens going after each other and our troops. As occupiers we're not stopping them from going after each other. Leaving Iraq won't stop them from going after each other either. If we leave we will stop them from going after us. If we leave and Iran invades then Iranians will be slowly bled to death by IED's just like we are now. They'll be weakened and drained of crucial resources just like we are. They'll be isolated by the global community. There'll be U.N. sanctions, babies will starve, money will dry up, and Iranian citizens will get pissed off.

Bush compares the Hungarian uprising against communism in 1957 to today's Iraq, but he misses the fundamental difference between the two scenarios. Hungarians rose up and fought for democracy themselves. There is no grassroots struggle for democracy in Iraq. Give them an election and they'll vote, sure -- but they're not going to risk their necks fighting against competing religious fanatics for democracy. They'd rather ensure their religion survives by defeating their rivals in battle. The only one willing to fight for democracy in Iraq is Bush.

Hungarians had the will to fight at whatever the cost for however long it took to see their dream come true. Iraqis want to fight to protect their religious interests. Some may think democracy will help protect or advance their religion, but a vast majority of religious fundamentalists don't like democracy and tolerance. Iraqis are not inchoate Americans. So yeah, democracy will no doubt falter and could easily get crushed if we leave. But if democracy does take root, it's not going to happen with us hanging around. If a grassroots pro-democracy force gets it together in Iraq then at that point maybe we can chip in and help a brotha' out. The only way to get democracy in Iraq is through a civil war, and civil war is being repressed by American troops. As long as we are there the only political reality with any meaning can be an American dictatorship.

Whatever happens in Iraq, it's time for Bush to take responsibility for it, not taxpayers and our military. He's making the soldiers on the ground pay for his disastrous mistakes with their lives. He's making America pay for his disastrous mistakes by wasting our taxes and pulling resources away from the war on terror. Bush's Iraq policy is keeping us from securing our country. We are putting hundreds of billions into securing Iraq while neglecting the security of this country. That is disgusting. I never thought I'd live to see the day when the far right fails to secure America. Democratizing Iraq may be a part of a larger effort to undermine terrorism, but only way, way down the line, well after we have secured this country first. It's his fault pulling out of Iraq could be a disaster. Let him suffer the consequences of his own actions. Bush knew the risks and he gambled. When you're beat you fold. You don't call, and you certainly don't raise. He should be the one to lose -- not us.