Steven Jonas, MD, MPH
The Georgite Iraq policy is in a spin and the Georgites are spinning it as fast as their spinning wheels can carry them. Why on George Stephanopoulos' show on Oct. 22, 2006, the other George actually said, in response to a question "I never said 'stay the course.'" (I will leave the discussion to my psychiatric colleagues as to whether the guy is consciously lying or just doesn't remember that he did say that a few days, months, and years previously, a problem that end stage alcoholics do have.) We already know that Sen. Warner, a variety of other Republican Senators, none other than the Bush-tool Scott McClellan, and a variety of American active-duty, not retired, Generals are indicating that indeed there is a timetable to American withdrawal or redeployment or something somewhere and that it will begin or perhaps has already begun. The New York Times of Oct. 23 reported that the American command in Baghdad now regards the battle there as the defining one. Since battles can be lost, even by our armed forces, offering such an analysis would indicate that those Generals are preparing some alternate strategy, indeed, to "staying the course," however one might define that intentionally vague "goal" that the Georgites have been foisting on us for the last two years.
So why now and how are the Georgites actually going to pull this off? Have they suddenly decided to listen to the public will? Well, no. These guys do not give a fig for the public will. Have they realized that their position is going to do them in the upcoming lections? Well, no. While they know that in a fair election they would lose both the House and the Senate, they also know that the Rovian Grand Theft Election Machine is working full time and that regardless of the real vote, they will retain control of one or both Houses of Congress. (They might just let the House go, for the sake of appearances. But the Senate, with control over war-making and Supreme Court nominations, is the critical one for them.) Have they lost their political marbles? Well, no, which is why the change, strongly hinted at now, will not be announced until after the election.
OK. So why then? Because the original objectives of the invasion, postulated by some, have been achieved. (Those goals were postulated, for example, by an anonymous friend of mine just after the invasion in the spring of 2003. I retailed them in a column of mine posted on The Political Junkies.net in the spring of 2004, "You Know Me Al: The Iraq War --- So What was it About, Anyway?" There were, of course, many others who made the same observations at the same time.)
Those goals were first to engineer the trifurcation of Iraq with the establishment of Kurdistan as a US protectorate. Some geologists have estimated that Kurdistan's potential oil reserves are larger than those of Saudi Arabia. Second, they were to establish a string of permanent US bases in the uninhabited Western Desert of Iraq. The latter, shrouded in official secrecy for the most part, are by now likely finished. The former now seems almost certain to happen, since regardless what Bush says publicly about "maintaining unity," the Iraqi government itself is on its way to implementing it.
James Baker is both a major strategist and public shill for the US oil industry, as he was for Bush in Florida. It is his statements that are key. It would seem that that segment of the American power elite he represents has decided that their goals have been achieved, or close to it, and that they have had enough of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld going-off-the-deep-end crowd. Since the Rovians in the White House give not a twit about the Christian Right and their agenda except when it comes to voting, it is likely that the power elite represented by Baker doesn't give a twit either. So, after the election, they will declare victory and leave Iraq. How it is spun for Bush will be interesting to see. The Bush/Ford withdrawal from Viet Nam occurred after the major goal of the US intervention, the prevention of the peaceful spread of socialism throughout Southeast Asia, was achieved. It was then, of course, blamed on the "stab-in-the-back Democrats." You can bet that this withdrawal will be, too.
Further, I think that Baker et al are telling the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld crowd to forget it about the attack on Iran they have been obviously planning. The nation can obviously not afford it and doesn't have the military manpower to do more than heavy bombing. Further the supply of oil to the US would be very severely diminished. And it is supply, not price, that the oilmen care about. The higher the price, the more money they make. But they make that money by selling oil products and they want every drop of the stuff they can get. Any BushWar on Iran would severely cut back on available supplies as well as severely boosting the price.
The biggest problem the Bakerites have now is how to get Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld quietly out of the way before they get do anything else disastrous, either in Iraq or Iran. Bush can just spin and be spun, especially if he really cannot remember what he said previously. Cheney can quietly be reduced to the position that most Vice-Presidents have had in American history. John Nance Garner, FDR's first Vice-President, reportedly sneered in 1932 that the Vice-Presidency "isn't worth a pitcher of warm spit" (some say that Gerner actually mentioned another bodily fluid). If he doesn't, he could be quietly threatened with impeachment and even jail-time for his Halliburton-related crimes and then conveniently have an incapacitating "heart attack." He could then be replaced by, say, James A. Baker. Rumsfeld, of course, could just go ahead and resign.
Want a far-out scenario? Bush goes into a sanitarium for undisclosed "problems," and does not re-emerge until he is safely ensconced on his new ranch in Paraguay. Cheney succeeds to the Presidency long enough to appoint Baker to the Vice-Presidency, then resigns for "reasons of health." Baker succeeds to the Presidency and appoints Colin Powell as Vice-President. Both pledge unconditionally to seek no Republican nomination for national office in 2008. A true Center-Right government is established with the center-Right Democrats of Emmanuel-Schumer-Lieberman in control of at least one house of Congress. A center-right government is then elected in 2008, with either McCain, Clinton, or Obama as president. And the country goes back to providing a very good living for the power elite, without the trouble of engaging in endless and very expensive foreign wars.
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Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) a weekly Contributing Author for The Political Junkies (www.thepoliticaljunkies.net) and a Columnist for BuzzFlash.