What had to come, has come. The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon — and at what cost. In this respect, as in so many others, the obvious parallel to Iraq is Vietnam....Somebody really, really needs to ask the Liberal candidate for Etobicoke-Lakeshore if he still supports this unmitigated disaster, and whether he thinks we should have wasted Canadian lives on this.
Clearly, then, the thing to do is to forget about face-saving and conduct a classic withdrawal.
Handing over their bases or demolishing them if necessary, American forces will have to fall back on Baghdad. From Baghdad they will have to make their way to the southern port city of Basra, and from there back to Kuwait, where the whole misguided adventure began. When Prime Minister Ehud Barak pulled Israel out of Lebanon in 2000, the military was able to carry out the operation in a single night without incurring any casualties. That, however, is not how things will happen in Iraq.
Not only are American forces perhaps 30 times larger, but so is the country they have to traverse. A withdrawal probably will require several months and incur a sizable number of casualties. As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge — if, indeed, it can do so at all. All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.
I'm still hip-deep in schoolwork, and my paid work is starting to warm up with the Christmas season, so blogging is going to be erratic, at best, for the next week. But I would like to say at the beginning of this election that this should be fun, more than anything.
We're looking forward to an election almost two months from now. This means plenty of time for each of the parties to stumble, recover, and stumble again. I frankly think all of the polls at this point are meaningless. We'll know more in a few weeks, but for now almost any prediction could be proven right.
Oh, and one other thing: Can we please, please see an end to the statement "X worked with Y party (where Y is the NDP, BQ, or Conservatives), therefore X is evil." It was a minority parliament. Not a single party accomplished anything on their own. Gay Marriage is owed as much to the Bloc as to the NDP, and the Conservatives voted to pass some of the spending bills too. I disagree strongly with the separatists, but so long as Quebec keeps foolishly electing them they have a role to play in Parliament. It's a vain hope, but can we at least cut the elementary bullshit? If bullshit we must have, could they at least respect us enough to make sophisticated crap?