January 12, 2007
I just re-read Josh Marshall‘s prescient article on the neocons’ delusional scheme to overthrow everything in the Middle East. The article was published April 2003, which means it was written before the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003. The article holds up remarkably well 3.5 years later, and even anticipates hostilities with Iran. The neocons believe in a simple, linear series of events that will reshape the Middle East into pliable democracies. This same simplistic thinking is revealed in Bush’s new plan to increase troop levels in Baghdad to quell the violence. The neocons believe they can root out the insurgents and rebuild services just enough to regain the Iraqi public’s support. But this assumes the bad guys have no counter moves (and that Iraqis have terribly short memories!). In fact, the insurgency will continue to strike within the city because many within the Iraqi “army” support them. Sadr’s militia will continue to kill Sunnis and Sadr may withdraw support for Maliki, thus bringing down the government. John Burns, NYTimes Iraq chief, says Maliki won’t last 6 months. Bush’s plan rests on Maliki, so what happens when he’s ousted? I believe Bush is setting up Maliki to fail so Bush can blame the Iraqis for his failure. He’ll use this as an excuse to pull forces back to their bases in Iraq, exactly what most Democrats have been calling for. Finally, Bush will have screwed McCain’s presidential ambitions because McCain is the loudest supporter of increasing troops in Iraq (Bush and McCain hate each other). McCain will spend all of ’08 as America’s whipping boy for Bush’s failure in Iraq. Oh yeah… the Middle East will continue to be a perpetual pain in the ass.
 Brzezinski writes about what might happend after the inevitable failure: “The other alternative, perhaps already lurking in the back of Bush’s mind, is to widen the conflict by taking military action against Syria or Iran. It is a safe bet that some of the neocons around the president and outside the White House will be pushing for that.” Marshall says the same thing on his blog, pointing to a number of others who agree. A few Senators have said this would precipitate a Constitutional showdown. Frankly, I wish the Democratic Congress would strengthen the War Powers Act to reduce the chance of another nutjob administration plunging the nation into a stupid war.