There’s only Iraq; nothing else

It’s kind of surreal, scannning the cable news stations today. It’s a one-topic news day, and that’s Iraq and the threat of civil war. There seems to have been a major shift over just the past few days. A tipping point? I don’t know, but Josh Marshall, who is usually pretty level-headed and able to keep his emotions out of his posts today sounds downright grim. Not that he’s ever been pro-war or a great optimist that Bush is doing the right thing. But today he sounds depressed and hopeless.

Gloom…has been building over Iraq. Increasingly, the Wise Heads are forecasting disaster. Wise Heads say they see no realistic plan, hear no serious concept to get ahead of the situation. Money, training, jobs…all lagging, all reinforce downward spiral highlighted by sickening violence. There seems to be no real “if”, just when, and how badly it will hurt U.S. interests. Define “disaster”? Consensus prediction: if Bush insists on June 30/July 1 turnover, a rapid descent into civil war. May happen anyway, if the young al-Sadr faction really breaks off from its parents. CSIS Anthony Cordesman’s latest blast at Administration ineptitude says in public what Senior Observers say in private…the situation may still be salvaged, but then you have to factor in Sharon’s increasing desperation, and the regional impact.

Note: “quagmire”…when you are in a bad situation you created yourself, and would quit in a minute if you could, but which if you did, it would make everything else worse. So you can’t…and it gets worse anyway.

I wish I could give snippets of all the Iraqi stories on the news today. Things seem to be coming to some sort of head. But as Marshall says, there’s no way out. Maybe all we can do right now is be grim and depressed.

The Discussion: 3 Comments

Found this quote over at The Nation (I’m not exactly a fan of that site, but in this case I found it to be quite appropriate):

“It’s tempting to say that this weekend’s unprecedented violence — unprecedented because now we’ve got representatives of the majority- Shiite population leading the charge to kill us — marks a turning point in our Iraqi misadventure.

But that would be inaccurate. If you drive your car off a cliff, and your car smashes through the branches of trees on its inevitable downward trajectory toward earth, it would be odd to describe the impact with the tree branches as “a turning point.” Call it then an alarming moment of belated clarity.”

The rest of it can be found here:

April 5, 2004 @ 11:37 pm | Comment


I’m starting to wonder if the Presidency isn’t turning into a booby prize. Whoever wins in November is going to have to try to undo a whole hell of a lot of damage… frankly, I don’t think either of the candidates is up to the task.

In the immortal words of Woody Allen: “we are at a crossroads. One road leads to hopelessness and despair; the other, to total extinction. Let us pray we choose wisely.”

April 6, 2004 @ 2:13 am | Comment

Patrick, great metaphor. Vaara, I’m afraid I agree: Neither of our two candidates are up to handling this sisyphusian task. But then, who is?

April 6, 2004 @ 8:52 am | Comment

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