Wow. How could I have missed the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008? Some prognosticator am I, huh? ;-)
Thursday, September 17, 2020
Iraq and Ruin
The right wing still cringes at the mention of Iraq, their crowning achievement. When some wingnut starts yammering about what a horrible job the “librul socialist gubmint“ was doing and how much better off we are under the junta, I just laugh and say, “Right. So say the folks that gave us Iraq.” They usually screech something about Bill Clinton and walk away at that point. You name it, Iraq went w0rNg for them — the outright lies they used to get us in there, the way it went sour on us, flowers and chocolates, letting museums and military bases get looted — all of it. Even the real goal (grabbing the oil) didn’t work out. I always wonder how things might have gone had Bush-league just admitted that invading Iraq was the only way we could put off making huge, painful changes in our way of life for a few more years. The people who opposed the war from the start wouldn’t have come around, but I suspect that a lot of others would have decided war beat walking (or riding a bus). Honesty is the best policy, something Bush-league and the junta have never learned.
We left Iraq one huge mess, but al-Sadr agreed to cover our exit in 2010 and he kept his word while we “declared victory and left.” And things did get a little better for a little while. He had close ties with Iran, of course, and the Sunnis were suspicious, but al-Sadr learned pretty quick that it's one thing to whine from the sidelines and quite another to call the shots. They all mostly kept things pasted together — and Iraq actually exported more oil than Saudi Arabia last year — but some suicide bomber got al-Sadr on Friday and chaos rules once again, especially in Baghdad and Kirkuk. The Iranians have already sent a “peacekeeping force” to Basra and southern Iraq… and I agree with the junta analysts that they won’t be leaving any time soon, if ever… and to the wingnuts that it’s a pretty transparent oil grab (they should know, after all). The Kurds and Sunnis have told Iran to stay out, but they can’t do much more than hold their own turf. Kurdistan has been quasi-independent since before the invasion, and have been inching toward full independence ever since. This will probably be the final push.
It was an obvious move for Iran, though — their exports have been dropping fast the last few years, they’ll be a net importer in a year or two, and they want the oil as much as we do. They thing is, they’re slightly more welcome there than we were. They’ve mostly secured the oil fields around Basra, but (sound familiar?) are having issues with pipeline sabotage.
The junta brought back Shotgun Sam, and he’s having a conniption on the air, resurrecting the Domino Effect (“Iraq now, then Kuwait, then Saudi — and they’ll own all the oil!”) and saying we have to do something. I wish he was still taking callers; I’d have asked him if he would set an example and be first in line for an “expeditionary force.” Of course, he would have hung up, mumbled a few excuses, and gone to commercials. I'm old enough to remember what Reagan killed that Jimmy Carter started, and how much better off we’d be now if we’d stayed the course to energy independence… but nobody can call in anymore, and they probably would have blocked my number anyway. Oh well.
Kuwait may be a different story… rumor has it that they’ve quietly asked for a buffer force “to preserve stability in the region.” As if Americans with guns would be considered a stabilizing force these days! The Iraq adventure pretty much killed that one. The Saudis haven’t objected to having a carrier group docked at Dubai (the troops call it “Dooby-Dooby”), either.
The Prophet had something to say about the matter earlier in the week: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but do not be afraid; for such things must happen, but the end shall not be yet. Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in different places, and there shall be famines and troubles.” Straight out of Mark. “And do not say to yourselves, ‘Where is God? He has abandoned us,’ for it may be His will that we endure the results of our folly, but be very sure! He has not abandoned us, nor has He deafened His ears to our prayers! Hold fast, Jerusalem, to the hope we have in His salvation! For as He chose to raise up our nation, if it is His pleasure to raise up Persia, who brought His people out of captivity in the days of old, then it shall be done. For who can stand against the Lord our God? Who among us can tell the Lord, ‘this You shall not do,’ and command the obedience of his Creator?”
Needless to say, that hasn’t gone over too well with the junta mainstream. “America has been God’s nation for over 200 years, and if that’s no longer the case, look no farther than who was running things until recently,” goes the Baptist honcho downtown. Quoth the head of a Pentecostal mega-church, “My spirit of discernment is troubled when I see this man shouting on a street corner. It is troubled when I see the crowds he draws. The devil can speak with words of honey, and attract the unwary.” Attendance is waaayyy down at the mega-churches, but The Prophet draws a crowd every time he sets down his cardboard box and begins to preach. Jealous much? Well, I shouldn’t talk: I haven’t had The Prophet’s sermons take a shot at my worldview yet. I might feel the same way when that time comes, and if he’s really preaching God’s word then that time will come. I don’t doubt that I’m flawed in my way as much as the guys on TV are in theirs.
But if there’s not a war, there’s rumors of wars. From Sammy and everyone else. I worry about Kim and Rene a lot these days.