Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Shannon Love's Blog: Three Questions on Iraq

Shannon Love predicts continuing terrorism in Iraq, even after what passes for democratic elections, because terrorism is, by this reasoning, an inverse index to totalitarian control. These must be comfortable words for supporters of Mr. Bush. Even though the argument is solid, I am reminded of the circular logic of Catch 22. The wonderful, convoluted worlds of George Orwell and Newspeak also come to mind.

Ironically, if Iraq does not suffer from some terrorism in the future we will have failed. Terrorism is only useful as a tactic against democratic or proto-democratic states. Police states do not suffer from terrorism. There was no terrorism during Saddam?s rule for example. Terrorist can only function against a state that has limited police powers and a free press. The occasional terrorist attack in the coming years in Iraq will mean that the power of the state is limited and that the press is free enough to report the attacks.

The key to winning this conflict is persistence. If we strongly communicate that we intend to stay until we succeed the insurgency will lose heart and those sitting on the fence will be encouraged to cooperate.

I believe the next 6 weeks will be telling. The immediate goal of the insurgency is to cause Bush to lose re-election. They will try to increase the tempo of their operations to that end. They will interpret a Bush loss as victory on the chance that Kerry will be more likely to withdraw and as a sign that Americans do not back the war long term. Fearing we will abandon them each, little group of Iraqi will begin to scramble to salvage what they can for themselves and their extended families.

If Bush wins re-election, especially by a wide margin, the insurgency will rapidly wind down. The insurgents will see only at least four more years of fighting Bush. If Kerry wins, it will explode regardless of how effective and determined Kerry is in prosecuting the war. The insurgents and fence sitters will not believe he will fight to the finish.

My personal view is that the "insurgents" are less concerned with American electoral politics than they are with foreigners manipulating the internal affairs of Iraq. Inciteful people at the leadership level of the insurgents are aware of the broader implications, just as Lenin and the Bolshevics, self-appointed "vanguard of the proletariat", had a larger view of the Revolution than the prole in the street. I see a parallel between the slogan "Land, Bread, Peace" and Osama Bin Laden's appeals to his own lumpenproletariat adherants.

I'm sure at the nosebleed levels of government greater minds than mine are at work on the intellectual constructs fueling policy. Military experts are working on game theory. Political strategists are weighing the electoral consequences of every word spoken by every administration official. Economists are wrestling with the dismal science in order to figure out what arcane descripteve language to use that will protect their status as experts.

In the meantime, as pundits write of presidential politics and foreign policy using clever phrases and abstract logic, ordinary people are going about their business. Mothers of young men, when they allow themselves to think of it, are worried that their sons may be drafted. Families with both military and civilian members in Iraq try to forget the dangers to which their loved ones are being exposed. Those loved ones, in turn, get up each morning counting the days until their return, praying for one more day of safety.


vietnamcatfish said...

Hello Hoots, Congrats on getting 100. That is impressive! Who do you think is reading? Your buddies from LUB, PIC, Gen X Liberals, Dan Rather? FAA, v.c.

Hoots said...

Thanks, Cat.
There is no way to know who is reading. Also the hit counter will advance with every hit except mine, which means that even if you are on the page and "refresh" a new hit will register. It's still an imperfect guage, but what isn't? I'm having a ball, by the way, with the other blog.