Thursday, June 28, 2007

Morning in America

When Richard Lugar bailed out on the Iraq War a couple days ago, followed by Voinovich with John Warner waiting in the wings, it was obvious that something real big was up.

An AP story out this morning confirms that heavy changes are afoot.

"A majority of senators believe troops should start coming home within the next few months," the story confirms. "A new House investigation concluded this week that the Iraqis have little control over an ailing security force. And House Republicans are calling to revive the independent Iraq Study Group to give the nation options.

"While the White House thought they had until September to deal with political fallout on the unpopular war, officials may have forgotten another critical date: the upcoming 2008 elections."

This will play out when the next cycle of war funding requests comes around. I doubt that it will feature the noisy and contentious debate we saw the the last time. Republicans in Congress are looking at that ticking clock, and there are now fewer than 18 months until November, 2008.

If the administration tries to hold on to the same old stay the course policy until September, Lugar said "It'll be further advanced in the election cycle. It makes it more difficult for people to cooperate. ... If you ask if I have some anxiety about 2008, I do."

Everybody knows where the war is going -- nowhere. Everybody knows how most Americans feel about the war. However, nobody has asked the obvious question: if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq without having accomplished any of its objectives, what will be the impact on the oil supply?

We can't survive without mideast oil. As Jim Kunstler put it bluntly a couple weeks ago, "We're involved in Iraq because we don't want to begin thinking about modifying our behavior at home. We are desperate to preserve our access to Middle East oil because that is the only way we can keep running our society the way we're used to running it. Mostly, we don't want to face the tragic misinvestments we've made in the infrastructure of happy motoring, and we don't want to face the inconvenient truth that there really isn't any combination of alt.fuels that will permit us to keep running all the cars the way we like to run them. Either we keep getting the oil or say goodbye to the American Dream Version 2.K."

It looks like we're going to finally confront our dependency on oil, i.e., foreign oil. We'll have no choice. And we can't do that without confronting the tremendous weaknesses and vulnerability built into our fundamental way of life.

This was the problem the Iraq War was supposed to solve; we'd establish a firm base in the middle of the region, set up a client government, and guarantee ourselves a steady, cheap supply of the black gold, if not forever, then for a long time. After all, according to Dick Cheney, the present-day American way of life is "non-negotiable."

And when I think back on this moronic misadventure, I keep seeing the confident, imbecile faces of Cheney, Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, and Rumsfeld -- the real architects of the war and educated fools every one.

Our prospects for ending the war before 2009 are better now than they've been since it started. But our prospects for determining how we're going to live with the fallout -- nobody's bothered to think about that.

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