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Friday, 16 October 2009


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"the Iraqis now know that the US will do nothing about their nukes"

Typo? Perhaps it should be "Iranians"?

It actually add a poignancy to your point. One (of the many) political gains of the Iraq war was to deter WMD proliferation in anti-Western states, by demonstrating that force would be used against those suspected of putting WMD aspirations into action (strengthened by the observation that it didn't even matter too much whether the suspicion was later found to be more aspiration than action).

Obama has ensured that political capital is now completely spent.

Son of Duff

Thanks, Lawrence, signs of senility, I suppose!

Well, to be fair, I think Bush, himself, (and Rumsfeld, I suppose)did more than enough to undermine the strategic possibilities of establishing a powerful American base in the heart of the middle east.

I beg to disagree with you there, Pater!

There are 130,000 American troops in Iraq today. Have you noticed how no-one seems to care whether they stay or go now that things have calmed down in Iraq, and Afghanistan is stealing all the limelight? It’s not in the interests of America to withdraw its troops from Iraq for the reason you’ve noted: the political influence that a strong military presence in the Middle East confers, and, the serious disruption that fighting the hairies on their own soil brings to their ability to fly airplanes into our tall buildings and detonate themselves on the London underground. The problem with just staying there and bashing the hairies is the whining, lily-livered Western masses, otherwise, well, we would just stay there and let the armed forces get on with the job we’ve paid them to do.

However, this problem has been resolved in two ways.

Firstly, the American war and statecraft machines have learned and applied many profound lessons on how to take and hold foreign soil in the Iraq campaign: all the “buy the locals when you have to, and how to bash them when you don’t have to”, “he may be a bastard, but he’s our bastard” (now who said that?) stuff that the Brits were so awfully good at in the preceding couple of centuries. The result in Iraq speaks for itself. And there’s nothing like actual military results to take the wind out of the whining, lily-livered Western masses.

Secondly, by distracting the whining, lily-livered Western masses with another campaign, with all the rights and wrongs, pros and cons, successes and failures, especially one that has greater moral high ground (where did AQ have all their training bases?), the empire can sink its roots deep into Iraq alright, and thereby establish an enduring and powerful base in the heart of the Middle East.

So everything was heading in the right direction. Then Obama came along.


I don't agree! The whole concept of taking over a country and teaching it 'democracy', or as close to it as it can get, is hopeless. Iraq is a prime example. In 19th c. empire terms, we should have gone in, killed the first level leadership and then installed the second level, ie, the Baathists, or possibly, the army, as the new puppet regime. But that was in the days when communications were rudimentary. Today, every facet of military occupation (especially casualties) is on TV world-wide. Home audiences, or electorates, simply will not stand for the sort of brutal real politik that is required in empire building.

I am very much more in favour of what the 'cousins' call 'Trash 'n' Dash'. That sort of operation is much cheaper, and in this technological age it sends the message to the people who count, that is, foreign governments and their bureaucrats. It is good old 'projection of power' but with none of the messiness involved when you outstay your welcome.

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