Wednesday, October 18, 2006

America has finally taken on the grim reality of Iraq

An article first posted by fatima

The US is radically rethinking its exit strategy, while Britain waits zombie-like for new instructions

Simon Jenkins
The Guardian

"For all the abuse which Europeans regularly heap on the American political process, it has one strength, its capacity for course-correction. A constitution heavy with checks and balances enables it to respond to new circumstances with brutal pluralism. Three years ago America went to war on a lie, a wing and a prayer. That war has clearly failed and consensus is disintegrating. Congress subjects serving and retired generals to searing cross-examination. Senior figures go to Baghdad and, when they break free of their minders, report independently. There is none of the executive deference of Britain's parliamentary committees and tongue-tied "loyal opposition". America's debate on Iraq is now a grim, grinding encounter with reality.

The debate must contemplate the painful but not unfamiliar experience of imperial retreat. As in Vietnam, Lebanon and Somalia the moment is delayed but the deed will be efficient. The Baker commission, appearing in full after November's congressional election, realises the senselessness of the present bloodbath. It reportedly accepts that the continued presence of foreign forces does not prevent but adds to the chaos. American troops are in occupation but not in control. Their departure can hardly undermine security, except possibly that of Baghdad's green zone, and that is largely privatised.

A measure of the collapse is the astonishing suggestion that America find a new regime in consultation with Iran and Syria."

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