Staying in Iraq: just postponing the inevitable? by Mark Kleiman
If we’re spending blood and treasure only to postpone a catastrophe we can’t prevent, the “humanitarian” argument against a fairly rapid withdrawal collapses.
As far as we know the violence in Iraq cannot be stopped by the military – not even the National Guard think so Troops Cheer Call For Iraq Withdrawal. Mark is just trying to be rational and reasonable. There is a point at which the Iraqis and the various factions have to work things out for themselves and if there are consequences to that the only question is when. We and neighbor nations like Saudi Arabia and Turkey should take a humanitarian role and act as referees to try and ease tensions. Still that isn’t going to be good enough for the war supporters. Since a large part of the occupation of Iraq has already been privatized let’s go all the way and make it a completely private endeavor. The Right can continue their misguided and counter productive messianic occupation, but they have to pay for it out of their pocket. Rudy, Mitt, the Bush family, Cheney and Rupert Murdock among others can pay for it. The soldiers that want to stay can do so under private contract and the others can come home without loss of pay or benefits. Should there be a shortage of troops then I’m sure all the chicken-hawk war bloggers and their blood thirsty commenters will be glad to pack up and do something besides whine.
He had thought he was doing a good and noble thing when he started telling the FBI about the guns and the land mines and the rocket-launchers — all of them being sold for cash, no receipts necessary, he said. He told a federal agent the buyers were Iraqi insurgents, American soldiers, State Department workers, and Iraqi embassy and ministry employees.
The seller, he claimed, was the Iraqi-owned company he worked for, Shield Group Security Co.
“It was a Wal-Mart for guns,” he says. “It was all illegal and everyone knew it.”
So Vance says he blew the whistle, supplying photos and documents and other intelligence to an FBI agent in his hometown of Chicago because he didn’t know whom to trust in Iraq.
For his trouble, he says, he got 97 days in Camp Cropper, an American military prison outside Baghdad that once held Saddam Hussein, and he was classified a security detainee.
Also held was colleague Nathan Ertel, who helped Vance gather evidence documenting the sales, according to a federal lawsuit both have filed in Chicago, alleging they were illegally imprisoned and subjected to physical and mental interrogation tactics “reserved for terrorists and so-called enemy combatants.”
For China, the new arrangements have contributed to spectacular economic success. Companies sourcing and exporting from China have also reaped handsome profits. However, for the US economy it has been a different story. Manufacturing has steadily bled jobs as companies have closed factories in the face of low cost Chinese competition, and production and investment have shifted to China. That has tempered wages and investment spending, which helps explain the weak economic recovery and unsatisfactory expansion. It has also eroded the US industrial base while expanding China’s, thereby creating new national security problems
This is the economy that Conservatism has wrought (and a few ignorant Democrats). Easy to do, but will take years to undo. In the mean time the middle-class, the working class will take the hit because unlike the Republicans that love the China-Wal-Mart economy the people in America that actually work for a living don’t have the kind of financial cushion that the Bushes and Cheneys have.
“Debts and lies are generally mixed together”