Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Know I'm a Shill...

...for Christopher Hitchens, but this one on "the perils of withdrawal" is a must read. Here's a bit of an enticement though, Hitchens on the right time to split:
The perfect solution was hinted at by President Jalal Talabani on his last trip to Washington, several weeks before Rep. Murtha spoke up. He said he looked forward to the day when American troops could be withdrawn, and he said so plainly enough for the White House to issue a slightly nervous clarification about "deadlines." Iraq is not "occupied" by men like Talabani: He is a true son of the country and used to be a genuine insurgent at the head of an authentic peoples' army. It would be wonderful if an elected Iraqi government and parliament—which is thinkable after this December—took the decision to thank the coalition and to invite it to fold its tent and depart. But anyone who thinks that this would stop the madness of jihad need only look at Afghanistan, where a completely discredited and isolated minority continues to use suicide-murder as a tactic and a strategy. How strange that the anti-war left should have forgotten all of its Marxism and superciliously ignored the fact that oil is blood: lifeblood for Iraqis and others. Under Saddam it was wholly privatized; now it can become more like a common resource. But it will need to be protected against those who would shed it and spill it without compunction, and we might as well become used to the fact. With or without a direct Anglo-American garrison, there is an overwhelming humanitarian and international and civilizational interest in defeating the Arab Khmer Rouge that threatens Mesopotamia, and if we could achieve agreement on that single point, the other disagreements would soon disclose themselves as being of a much lesser order.
Now I have to say Chris leaves out one thing concerning Iraq's oil. If the U.S. and the Iraqi government do win, there won't be Iraqi oil, there'll be U.S. multinational corporate control of Iraq's oil, with the benefits mainly sucked up by the Iraqi elite and U.S. oil companies. Nevertheless, that doesn't invalidate his argument one iota.

I, like Hitchens, can't understand why the anti-war left still can't get it into their skulls that we actually are fighting terrorists in Iraq now. Sure it was a self-fullfilling prophecy to a large extent, our attack was the chum in the water for the sharks to start calling, but that doesn't mean we should withdraw from Iraq now and give Al-Qaeda and other Islamists another post-Soviet Afghanistan in which to breed and infest the wider Middle-East. Sure, the U.S. has many strategic and self-interested motives in its war on Iraq -- damn I'll call it what I always have and always will: imperialism -- but an American withdrawal would be giving Al-Qaeda another fabulous triumph over another superpower, thereby proving in their minds they are one step closer to the Caliphate they so desire. It would be in fact replacing a "liberal imperialism" with all its blood and guts with another imperialism with all its blood and guts. The difference is that with the former the Iraqi people are facing a superpower that voices progressivism, even if it doesn't follow what it preaches internationally. Regardless, it is constrained by voicing such liberal values, while those same values can be used against it to expand rights within Iraq. Hypocrisy's not good for PR and Iraq will eventually win the full democratic rights it deserves if it so desires them. The latter though will give the Iraqi people what they've already suffered for three decades -- poverty, torture, and death. The only slight variation will be their new dungeon will come thanks to divine dictates, not a dictator's sense of his own historical divinity.