Pat Buchanan said something quite bracing on the McLaughlin Report this week-end:Politically it is as clear as the fact that the sun rises in the East that the right-wing noise machine will immediately begin the "Who lost Iraq" blame-game to try to claim that the Democrats lost the war. Initially that will be a hard sell, but conservatives do not look at real history. They look at the history they want to create for the past to avoid blaming themselves.What this tells you John is that we are coming out of Iraq. This is the first resolution and it's non-binding, others are coming down the road. There will be no more surges into Iraq, the president has said we are not winning the war with the troops we have, we are coming out. So we had better prepare ourselves for the consequences, not of a defeat for American arms, but a defeat for American policy in Iraq, the potential loss of Iraq. And frankly John, the situation's not looking all that good in Afghanistan either, where the NATO allies are not doing their bit. So we are at a historic turning point, I think, for the United States in the middle east.
We aren't going to be leaving Iraq while George W. Bush is in the white house. But, I think he's got the rest of it right. We certainly have a policy failure in Iraq. Big time.
The way to counter this will involve deep and honest investigation of the Cheney/Bush administration and exposure of all of its failures. Iran-Contra was swept under the rug because too many politicians were afraid for their careers if it became well known, and it was clear that Reagan was senile by then anyway. Exposure of all that would have somehow "disrupted" our nation. It was "smoother" (not really better) to just walk off and ignore it. Ignoring Iran-Contra has given us the Cheney/Bush administration and the worst President ever by several orders of magnitude.
We must not let this happen again. The Iraq War must be deeply investigated. [I'd really like to see a Reconciliation Commission, similar to the one in South Africa. But that's another article.]
The next issue is going to be the problems of both "Peak Oil" and the greater competition for the remaining oil. It will cause conflicts that are likely to expand to more war.
Wars over oil will be extremely shortsighted. The energy from oil that is being used for transportation must be replaced, either sooner or later. We can spend a lot of money and lives on wars to control existing oil (with very uncertain likelihood of success), or spend a lot less money on basic research and demonstration projects to develop the required replacement energy sources as soon as possible. Not only is the latter more likely to be successful than war, it is going to have to happen sooner or later anyway!
In either case, the newly clear overriding problem for all the world is global warming. Global warming is going to require something like the Manhattan Project, but it needs to be worldwide. Like the development of the atomic bomb, the many problems caused by global warming are problems for which a massive project fueled by throwing money at them is the best possible solution. The problem of replacing oil as energy for transportation should be considered a part of that massive Global Warming Project.
It is an appropriate role for America. Since replacing oil energy for transportatin will have the side effect of making the American automotive industry competitive again it should have major positive effects on the American export balance of manufactured items. It will NOT be likely to help much in employment of industrial workers, however, since the increased productivity will continue to come from automating production.
What's this have to do with what's next in Iraq? This demonstrates the two paths available to America. We can continue to attempt the Cheney/Bush coercive military methods to force the rest of the world to do things our way, or we can gather the forces of this great productive nation to make the shortage of oil world wide into a problem so miniscule that it is irrelevant. The choice of which of the two paths we take will start with how we disengage from Iraq.