From the beginning of May until Tuesday, 321 unidentified corpses, many dumped and showing signs of torture and execution, have been found across the Iraqi capital, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The data showed that the same number of bodies were found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan.In the face of this breakdown in their Plan A - one that was widely predicted by the same folks who were correct about how the invasion and occupation of Iraq would turn out badly in the first place - the Bush administration are casting about desperately for a Plan B which will accomplish their main objective. They plan to stay in Iraq forever, one Friedman Unit at a time.
In Iraq, Petreaus and his team are trying to stay loyal to Bush's parameters for their mission while making "course corrections" in the way that mission is carried out. In Washington, rival Bush administration factions are touting (and leaking) rival new spins on the mission. None will be effective because the original premises they are working from are flawed.
Bush cannot say outright that he wants the US to stay in Iraq permanently, but that is what he has always been working towards. Yet that drive for a permanent presence is itself what has fuelled not just the insurgency but the flawed political process set up in an attempt to guarantee that presence - and thus the current civil war. Because of this, the stated objectives - peace and an eventual withdrawal - will always fail in their stated aims, and succeed in their unstated aim of creating additional turmoil to justify staying the course.
The discussion today between Dale Franks at Q&O and Oliver Willis points this dichotomy up nicely. Dale comes up with a bunch of questions for liberals about the Iraqi occupation that could so easily be turned back on himself. He could so easily be asked 'how does what you advocate solve any of these questions, based upon the evidence?" Oliver does a convincing job of making a liberal reply, but I feel he misses on key point - a matter of framing which has always driven the Bush administration's doubletalk. We can call it "the Pottery Barn deception".
Dale asks "Do you reject the "you broke it, you bought it" idea?" and Oliver answers:
I didn't outright, but it's clear there's nothing we can do to fix what we broke. The simple act of us being there is preventing that, either through the Iraqis leaning on us to clean up all their messes or resentment provoked by having their country occupied by the world's sole superpower. The moment to fix it has passed us by.In which he is correct if by "fix it" he means keep meddling. But that ignores the fact that the conservative framing of the Pottery Barn rule relies on twisting what that rule is.
As I wrote recently, the rule if properly applied demands the occupation's end:
You pay for what you broke.Let's begin planning for the first part of that Pottery Barn set of consequences for our actions. Withdrawal. I'm hoping my co-blogger Fester can step up with some ideas on that subject and I'll also be trying to put some ideas forward for what Bush won't allow the Pentagon to do.