Sunday, 26 November 2006

"Arrogant self-delusion"

Wow. Did anyone else see Jordan's King Abdullah on This Week this morning? His observation that the middle east could see three simultaneous civil wars in 2007 was really scary. He painted a scenario in which the Palestinians, Iraq and Lebanon all descend into civil war and chaos. This would be an earth-shattering catastrophe that could easily spread even further to neighboring countries.

And as long as we're talking about all things shocking GOP Senator Chuck Hagel's editorial in today's Washington Post literally made my jaw drop to the floor. It was probably the most sobering, brutal and realistic assessment of what has happened and what needs to happen in Iraq to ever come from a Republican. And it's dead on.

The editorial amounts to a sort of mea culpa. Among other things, the senior senator fromm Nebraska writes:
There will be no victory or defeat for the United States in Iraq. These terms do not reflect the reality of what is going to happen there.

We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam.

[As regards Syria and Iran] regional powers will fill regional vacuums, and they will move to work in their own self-interest -- without the United States.

America finds itself in a dangerous and isolated position in the world. We are perceived as a nation at war with Muslims. [The world needs] realistic, clear-headed American leadership -- not an American divine mission.

We've been funding this war dishonestly, mainly through supplemental appropriations, which minimizes responsible congressional oversight and allows the administration to duck tough questions in defending its policies. Congress has abdicated its oversight responsibility in the past four years.

Our effort in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, partly because we took our focus off the real terrorist threat, which was there, and not in Iraq.

The United States must begin planning for a phased troop withdrawal from Iraq.
Hagel's words may be too late, or they may not.

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