During World War II it came to the notice of seven or eight million GIs that their GI world was an imperfect one. Sometimes more and sometimes less but always imperfect. This they expressed in an acronym they made famous all over the world — SNAFU. In fact, our greatest generation developed a set of acronyms that was capable of even expressing the degree of imperfection with which they were dealing. In order of seriousness there was:
SNAFU: SITUATION NORMAL, ALL F—-ED UP
TARFU: THINGS ARE REALLY F—-ED UP
And best, or worst, of all,
FUBAR: F—-ED UP BEYOND ALL RECOGNITION
The final stage of f—-ed-upness — FUBAR — has at last been achieved in Iraq. Not only is no one on the same page anymore, but no one can find the pages. No one can even find the people anymore. Rumsfeld is gone, General Casey is gone, General Abizaid is gone, Bolton is gone, the Republicans are gone and have taken their chairs and chairmanships with them, and Nancy Pelosi seems to be too busy with her new toy gavel to pay attention to business.
The President acknowledges that things are not going well in Iraq and now proposes his new Surge plan which nobody likes — the retiring generals don’t like it, none of the 2008 Presidential candidates like it, and Congress doesn’t like it. It seems that everyone who holds any office or who has held any office in the past, or who might hold any office in the future has ideas and strongly held opinions about Iraq. Most of them boil down to “send troops in” or “get troops out.” Those opposed to these strategies say that if we cut and run there will be civil war and chaos, and if we send more troops in we will be incurring more casualties in a lost cause. Probably both groups are right.
Things being what they are — FUBAR — here are a few outrageous suggestions that may help us regain a constructive strategic perspective, reduce useless, uncontrollable and demoralizing casualties, and save us from more world-class humiliating foreign policy errors.
The first of these new ideas about Iraq requires that the government give up its public relations model of foreign policy development, in which every pundit and media outlet make a contribution to policy. Foreign policy cannot be made by bureaucratic leaks, congressional investigations, public polls, the media, talk radio, or by Hollywood.
The true nature of foreign policy development in Western diplomacy has been too immoral, too sanctimonious, too hypocritical, too dishonest, to be viewed by any normal non-politician as anything but disgusting and shocking. But that is the only way that foreign policy can be formulated in the world of realpolitik, especially in wartime. Winston Churchill once wisely said in World War II that “In time of war the truth must be protected by a bodyguard of lies.”
Furthermore, we must confess our sins against common sense and history, and the cultural illusions that led us into Iraq in the first place.
First of all, we don’t fight non-conventional wars very well. Time is always on the side of guerrillas and insurgents. So we must stop fighting on the enemy’s terms. We’ll never beat them with a conventional force. We don’t have to go native, but it will be wise to use some of their own tactics against them.
We must give up our misguided attempt to transform Iraq and Arabia into Western civilization. The Arab street doesn’t get Western political values. Sophisticated Arabs may understand the value of freedom and the free market but they live in London or Jordan, and the average Joe Mohammed just wants to shoot off his AK-47 once in a while and get his two hours of Al Jazeera every night.
Iraq cannot be unified except by a political strong man. It was never meant to be a unified country back in 1922 when it was invented. It was created geographically to serve British political purposes. But even the British soon realized that it wouldn’t work, and got out. We must give up the strategic aim of unification and let the three sects work out their borders, and their economic inequities on their own terms. This will mean civil war, dislocation, suffering, death, and political instability for years, maybe decades. The same has been true when any country splits up. England/Ireland, India/Pakistan, our own Civil War — but wars never go on until there is no one left standing. No matter how long they last — several days or decades — they end when those fighting get tired of fighting and make up a reason for stopping. In Iraq, whether allies participate or not, the fighting will continue until the sects decide to stop or their allies decide to stop paying the bills.
Whatever partitioning occurs, whatever boundaries are finally agreed upon, whatever oil agreements are arranged, they will be finalized after much blood is shed and that fact will make the arrangement much more acceptable than any political arrangement between non-combatants.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online