We need to pull out of Iraq so we can invade Iraq and overthrow the Communists.
Upon reading that the Iraqis are nearing a deal on oil sharing, where the Shiites and Kurds, who have most of the oil, will generously distribute it among all Iraqis, I had a strange new feeling. Unsure at first how to handle it, I bought a six-pack of beer and watched Beerfest. I was profoundly cleansed of all thought, but only briefly.
The next day I felt the unusual disturbance in my consciousness bubbling up again, entirely different from my daily regrets about things I did and said as a kid, yet still related. Familiarity chipped away at doubt until clarity arrived, big and mean.
I realized, with horror, that I had been wrong about something related to Iraq. It was almost too much to admit, my mind recoiled like a snail back into its shell, but the salt was already applied. The truth began to bubble. After four years of being right about Iraq, my liberal ass had finally gotten something wrong. I was going to have to read more Andrew Sullivan and learn how to offer a mea culpa. I’d have to make concessions before touting my psychic ability to predict correctly every event that rightwingers get wrong. I fucked up.
See, I had understood well before the war that our real problem was a country stitched together by British map-drawers in the 1920’s. Held together by Saddam’s bloody iron fist for several decades, the impulse of the people would be to repel each other (credit this “prediction” to Noam Chomsky, actually). It didn’t necessarily have to happen that way, but with Rumsfeld’s mini-force, it was virtually guaranteed. Any loss of inertia would cause us to lose our grip, and that this happened is unquestionable.
Well, my stance up until recently has been to advocate for either a splitting up of the country into separate nations or extremely independent states, with me leaning towards nations. Aware that Sunnis would fight this most because they have all that oil revenue to lose, my position was, “Fuck them.” The oil isn’t on their land, so their right to it is wispy, much like cotton candy blown apart by a firecracker. Or my hair, if I didn’t shave my head.
But, to my surprise, the Shiites and the Kurds have been willing to make, yet again, more concessions to the endlessly irritating Sunnis. The Sunnis deserve nothing, but they are given a slice of the pie out of hope that it may matter.
And it may not. But I will agree that it is a path well worth pursuing, and I salute the magnamity of this agreement.
So there, Sunnis. There’s your offer of oil, from land you don’t live on. Will that settle your stomachs, finally?
It is a difficult thing to acknowledge a mistaken path, correct it, and walk anew in a different direction. Being right on virtually everything regarding Iraq for four years now has made it an unusual experience correcting myself, but not an impossible one. I knew a political solution was what Iraq needed, not a military one, as any realist has long concluded, but I had not given sufficient thought to the realities of negotiating that settlement.
For one day, I tasted what it must feel like to be a neocon every day. What a foul concoction, and how glad I am to have spit it out.