Over at the New York Times (New motto: "Sucking up to the right-wing since 2000."), Bob Herbert has a depressing column on the boondoggle that is Operation "Stupid Republican Iraqi Quagmire". I'm particularly entertained by this passage:
The point here is that the invasion of Iraq was part of a much larger, long-term policy that had to do with the U.S. imposing its will, militarily when necessary, throughout the Middle East and beyond. The war has gone badly, and the viciousness of the Iraq insurgency has put the torch to the idea of further pre-emptive adventures by the Bush administration.
But dreams of empire die hard. American G.I.'s are dug into Iraq, and the bases have been built for a long stay. [Emphasis added.]
Now, I've asked this before and I'm going ask it again: given the preening smugness with which the Bush administration keeps yapping on about Iraq's "democracy" and "sovereignty," at what point will Iraq be sovereign "enough" to finally tell the U.S. to get the hell out? At what point will Iraq be, finally, officially sovereign so that they have full control over their own country and can decide for themselves who stays and who goes? That question is weighty enough but let's not stop there.
Let's say the new Iraqi leadership tells the Americans to pack up their tents and hit the road, and the Americans say, "Well, I don't think so. We've got all these bases we've built and, you know, we figure we'll be staying a while." Then what?
Well, here's a wild idea -- why doesn't Iraq approach the United Nations for military assistance to oust the U.S.? What's that, you say? Ridiculous, you say? But why not?
When Iraq invaded Kuwait, it sure didn't take long to put together an international coalition to kick the Iraqi invaders all the way back to Baghdad, did it? Remember all these folks? I thought you might.
So what's the difference? In both cases, you have a sovereign Middle Eastern country under occupation by foreign troops. Why shouldn't Iraq have the right to go the United Nations and say, "Excuse us, but we're currently being occupied by a foreign invading force. Could you please put together an international coalition to kick the shit out of them so we can have our country back? Thanks ever so much, here's a number where you can reach us when you're ready."
Of course, I know it would never happen. But it's just fun to think about.
BY THE WAY: The Iraqi leadership wanting to give the Americans the boot isn't just abstract hallucinating on my part -- it's real:
Iraq's prime minister said Wednesday he wants U.S. troops "on their way out" as soon as his government can protect its new democracy...
Al-Jaafari, speaking at a joint news conference with Rumsfeld, said, "The great desire of the Iraqi people is to see the coalition forces on their way out."
Oh, yeah, the confrontation is coming. Count on it.