Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rock, Paper, Scissors

President Bush says, "I strongly believe that democracy will trump totalitarianism every time."

That's a fine thing to believe, but how is that relevant to the current situation in Iraq? Yes, our democracy made mincemeat of Saddam Hussein's totalitarian regime, but that regime is long gone. What replaced it was neither democracy nor totalitarianism, but chaos. The current situation is, according to the best information I can gather, a free-for-all. Whoever has the most firepower in a given locale controls it, but only for as long as they remain. The U.S. could arguably keep the peace in any given Baghdad city block indefinitely by keeping a sufficient number of troops there, but our troops can't be everywhere at once, and by all accounts chaos returns the moment they move on to the next block.

I know that Bush would like to frame the issue in terms of fighting totalitarianism, or "Islamofascism," but that's not what we're fighting in Iraq. We're fighting anybody and everybody with a gun or an improvised explosive who feels like taking a shot at us. And Bush consistently fails to give us any indication that he understands this. He wants to fight totalitarianism, and while a totalitarian regime may eventually emerge from the chaos of Iraq, there is no totalitarian regime there today. To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, we must deal with the enemy we have, not the enemy we wish we had.

Rock may beat Scissors every time, but we're not fighting Scissors right now.

No comments: