Tuesday, March 21, 2006


This is not good. The people running this country sound convinced that reality is whatever they say it is. And if they've actually strayed into the realm of genuine self-delusion -- if they actually believe the fantasies they're spinning about the bloody mess they've made in Iraq over the past three years -- then things are even worse than I thought.

Here is reality: The Bush administration's handpicked interim Iraqi prime minister, Ayad Allawi, told the BBC on Sunday, "We are losing each day an average of 50 to 60 people throughout the country, if not more. If this is not civil war, then God knows what civil war is. Iraq is in the middle of a crisis. Maybe we have not reached the point of no return yet, but we are moving towards this point. . . . We are in a terrible civil conflict now."

Here is self-delusion: Dick Cheney went on "Face the Nation" a few hours later and said he disagreed with Allawi -- who, by the way, is a tad closer to the action than the quail-hunting veep. There's no civil war, Cheney insisted. Move along, nothing to see here, pay no attention to those suicide bombings and death-squad murders. As an aside, Cheney insisted that his earlier forays into the Twilight Zone -- U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators, the insurgency is in its "last throes" -- were "basically accurate and reflect reality."

Maybe on his home planet.

Donald Rumsfeld, meanwhile, was busy on The Post's op-ed page, abusing history. Leaving Iraq now, he wrote, "would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis." The bizarre analogy was immediately disputed by foreign policy sages Henry Kissinger (who noted that there was "no significant resistance movement" in Germany after World War II) and Zbigniew Brzezinski (who just called the comparison "absolutely crazy").

Here is Juan Cole on Mr. Don't Know Much About History:

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was roundly criticized Sunday for saying that to withdraw from Iraq would be as though the US had turned Germany back over to the Nazis after WW II. If Rumsfeld considers Saddam to be the analogue of the Nazis here, then his statement is odd. It is completely incredible that Saddam could ever come back to power. Nor can the Baath. Nor can the few hundred foreign fighters take over Iraq in the name of Zarqawi. For the Americans to get out of Iraq would be like any other hand-over by a colonial power of governance to local people. It would be like the French handing Algeria to the National Liberation Front, or like the British handing India to the Congress Party (it could be very much like that, since in the course of the hand-over, India and Pakistan split). For the US to try to keep its ground troops in Iraq will just create a long-term guerrilla insurgency of the sort the Portuguese fought in Angola and Mozambique. Those are non winnable in an age of the political and social mobilization of the people.

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