Cloud kookoo land
When Gotthard Heinrici was given command of Army Group Vistula, he described the atmosphere around Hitler as cloud kookoo land. A world where fantasy trumped reality and the impossible expected. Kind of like the White House today, one where they expect the Iraqi "government", one where most of the parliment lives in London, to actually lead a country controlled by guerrillas and militias.
George Bush has never explained Iraq in terms which a logical person could understand. Iraq has been an emotional appeal from the first day going after Saddam was raised. It was never about any actual threat, but an emotional desire to prove we could dominiate anyone who opposed us.
For Bush, who has failed at every task ever put before him, from work, to the military to school, this was going to be his vindication. He so desperately wanted to be a hero and Iraq was going to solve all of his issues. He would defeat an enemy, prove himself worthy and gain the respect from his family he so desperately wanted.
Which is why he chose men his father kept at arms length. Bush never wanted advice, he wanted confirmation of his beliefs. His narrow world view, shaped by the dust dry plains of Midland as much as any movie, this idea thata man didn't need or want questions, he just did.
Which is how he approached the American people, not with facts, but an emotional appeal. He's out there, he's guilty, let's get him first. That was the goal, get them first, show them who is boss, Those who don't get that are weak, even if they are in uniform. We will show the world they better not fuck with us again. Iraq will be first, and the rest will bend to our will. We will show them what a superpower does.
This was never a logical argument, it was never a reasoned one, it was pure emotion, which the anti-war movement never got. Iraq was a challenge to us, our manhood, our power and anyone in the way just didn't care.
It wasn't anything to do with concrete facts. It wasn't just fear, but emasculation which Bush sold and that worked on women like a charm. People wanted to believe that the US could run down Iraq and then all manner of miracle would follow, not because of what people wanted but because people feared the US. It wasn't democracy, but control, to finally make Iraq like Israel, a Westernish country loyal to the US. It wasn't anything about what the Iraqis wanted, although the exiles fed into that delusions, which fell into their own delusions, that Iraq was just waiting for their leadership.
Which is why so many people believed in Bush for so long. That Iraq was to be beaten as psychological payback for 9/11. Osama lived in caves, Saddam in palaces. He was a villian worthy of our attention, not some cave dwelling nutjob. He was an enemy, despite the fact that he had pretty much left us alone.
Bush is a bully and a coward at heart. Iraq was chosen because Iraq would be easy, and then the rest of the Middle East would follow. It was the easy way to solve our problems, not our real problems, but our emotional pain, the unresolved conflict over being attacked. And Bush would resolve his lifelong lack of success.
Bush will not leave Iraq, not because he thinks we can win, or he thinks it's part of the war on terror. But because he cannot face another failure. Which is why Scowcroft and Baker have had no influence on him. They are his father's men, veterans, despite their politics, realists. Bush is not and never has been. When he wasn't hiding from his failure with booze and coke, he hid from it with Jesus. Now he has Henry Kissinger whispering in his ear, telling him what he wants to hear. He doesn't want advice, he wants support and only support. Those who do not support him, are diminished, then banished.
This is a man who has never honestly looked himself in the face and said I have failed. He has always been protected from failure.
Which is why Rumsfeld keeps his job. To admit he was incompetent, and some days he seems positively addled, would reflect poorly on Bush.
When people look to understand Iraq, they look at the facts and see failure, but that isn't what Bush sees. He sees one more chance for personal glory and he will not quit until he is forced to.
Many Republicans have no idea that they have bought into was as psychodrama. It isn't psychodrama to the Tillmans or the Sheehans, but it is for Bush, who seeks redemption as desperately as he drank. And his redemption is in Iraq.
Only problem is that nothing he has imagined, nothing he has said, is true. Iraq is worst now than under Saddam. When I was reading about the Kurds in 1987-88, I never imagined that would be true.
But then I had never imagined people after Jurgen Stroop going into hospitals and killing people. I know that's what they did in the Warsaw Ghetto. I never thought they would do it in Iraq, in a city under American occupation. Sadr's Einzatzgruppen marches right into hotels to murder people in a city with an American Army in it.
And if his boys aren't doing it, the Sunnis or Hakim's boys are.
As bad as Saddam was, you could walk the streets without being kidnapped by criminals or having your daughters raped on the way to school. We have created a charnel house in Iraq because of Bush and his refusal to listen to advice he didn't want to hear.
Phased withdrawal is bullshit. Once you start withdrawing troops from Iraq, the demand to do it quicker will mount. Because Iraq is a house of cards. once it goes, it goes quickly. Anyone who would serve in an occupation government isn't strong enough to lead a real government and Maliki is doomed to join Kerensky as the leader of a failed state.
Iraq is only now become fact, not emotion, and we have to find a way out of it. George Bush's psychodrama is going to end badly.
posted by Steve @ 2:09:00 AM