Sound Retreat

Republican Senator Chuck Hagel and Democratic Senator Chris Dodd were on the tube this talking about how we get out of Iraq. Even the White House is now floating rumors that "if a civil war breaks out" we might withdraw. It's obvious that a low to medium intensity civil is already underway, and that the more security functions we turn over to the Iraqis, the more intense the civil war has become.

Hagel repeatedly said "There are no good options left." He sees the war as lost. Dodd doesn't see how we can continue to send American soldiers to Iraq to serve as referrees in a civil war.

George Bush started this war, fought it with incredible ineptitude, and now appears to have lost it. We will be dealing with the consequences of this disaster for decades.

There is an eerie similarity between this disaster and the Vietnam war - the only competition for greatest foreign policy disaster in recent American history. The most discouraging thing for me was that the military itself appeared to have learned nothing from Vietnam. No doubt some of the blame belongs to the clearly demented Mr. Rumsfeld, but how could the military have been institutionally so utterly unprepared to fight a counterinsurgency? I'm not sure, but I suspect it has a lot to do with the way they have been integrated into the military industrial complex. Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman have no interest in skills and tactics of counterinsurgency - you can't make money teaching Arabic and Middle Eastern culture, but there are tons of money to be made in selling billion dollar airplanes (the B-2) or even those cheapie hundred million dollar ones.

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