23 April 2008

War in Iraq - the Guano Dimension

I expect this to be a busy posting day, as there's loads of stuff that has caught my eye.

Yesterday, I started looking at the list of reasons in this article for withdrawing from Iraq. I'm more interested in providing an historical perspective on its statements than in engaging with its polemical points. I got up to point (2) before I decided the entry was long enough for a blog.

Point (3) raises the spectre of the Coalition Provisional Authority's Order 17, which grants extraterritorial rights of freedom from Iraqi jurisdiction to the U.S. military and associated enterprises. Of course, this is a truly colonial arrangement. However, it hasn't just been little non-white countries which have been subject to American attempts to assert extraterritorial rights. I can't see how, in the context of the Iraqi security situation, any military force could operate without some insulation from due legal processes. Furthermore, it gives Iraqi legislators some leverage over the situation. They could try to rescind the order, and if they succeeded it would certainly present both the United States and the U.N. with a knotty problem.

Point (4) brings up the "War for Oil" meme. Yes, that was an element of U.S. policy concerns. Why shouldn't it be?

Point (5) is utterly meaningless.

Point (6) is possibly the best case against a continued American presence, or any presence in the first place. Without doubt, Iraq is an artificial state, like others in the world. However, having opened a Pandora's Box, it is America's responsibility to resolve the problem. One way is to try to win the current war. There are others.

I offer my Roman solution tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn't invalidate my main point. Whatever is to be done to solve the Iraq problem, the lead must be given by the United States, which started this war. American voters cannot, in all responsibility, simply vote to leave and wash their hands of it all. If you didn't want to clean up the mess, you shouldn't have made it in the first place.

(to be continued)

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