Monday, November 13, 2006

The future of American policy in Iraq

I'm doing my level best to avoid commenting on the Iraq war, but as I am teaching a course now that will eventually have to discuss that war, perhaps there is a bit of justification for doing so here.

In today's Guardian (UK) there is an opinion piece by David Cox that predicts no big changes in US policy in Iraq, simply because no alternative is available:

President Bush has not clung to his present path because of the absence of accredited opposition. For months, it has been obvious that he would clutch at any alternative he could find, and now he has effectively said as much. The policy is the policy because there is, for now, no alternative. Soon, the new Congressional leadership will be buttressing it, not replacing it.

Cox suggests that things will continue much as they are now, except that misery will increase, until

In 2008, John McCain will win the presidency without making any campaign commitments on Iraq. His military background and past record of demanding more troops will equip him to take the step Bush cannot take now. Within his first hundred days, he will order a sudden and unannounced exit from Iraq. Helicopters will lift American commanders from Green Zone rooftops, as Iraq's democratically elected leaders are dragged away and lynched. Yes, the TV pictures may well remind you of other such pictures, imprinted on your memory in 1975.

Cox's column is presented as the "pessimistic" scenario, with another column by Robert Fox as the more optimistic, yes change is coming, version of the near future. Me, I think Cox is also too optimistic, that the current situation cannot possibly last until Inauguration Day, 2009.

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