Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Conservative America

It would be a major mistake to think that the American right have learned the lessons of Iraq. Rush Limbaugh, the hugely popular US conservative radio talk show host, demonstates the point here as he offers his view on the solution to the problems of Iraq. (Link via Crooks and Liars who on this occasion are hopefully not correct in suggesting that Rush has essentially adopted the liberal American position. You'll see why shortly.)

I stress that Limbaugh is not from the crackpot fringe, he's very much mainstream. Have a scroll down to the graph in the "Where Hard News Consumers Go" section of this report and you'll see what I mean. He's the man.

So what does he say? First of all, you've got to understand why people like Rush think there's a problem in Iraq today. Here we go:
I mean, some people think that we are going about this in much too restrained a fashion. That if we had gone in there with legitimate "shock and awe" from the outset and leveled whatever is necessary, bammo! We'd have a far different situation today.
Bammo indeed.

While most competent observers have concluded that aggressive military actions by the occupying forces have been a major factor in spreading and perpetuating support for the insurgency, the US right is still of the view that the problem has been caused by too much restraint. Limbaugh wants more napalm MK 77 firebombs and white phosphorus , more cluster bombs, more Fallujahs, more shock and awe.

It is actually a myth to say that you can't beat an insurgency that way; you can. The problem is that it requires a level of indescriminate violence which would cause death, suffering and terror among the civilian population to an extent which should be unacceptable to any civilised human being. It's the sort of thing which only someone like Saddam Hussein would consider.

And people like Limbaugh.

You're probably not overly optimistic about his suggested solutions now. Sensible. So what does he propose the US does? He offers two possibilities.

Number One:
[W]e pull back out of Baghdad, and we position along the Syrian, Jordan and Iranian borders, and we say to the Iraqis:

"We're going to stop anybody coming across these borders. No more help from Iran. No more from Syria. No more from Jordan. Nobody's getting into this country. If we have to, we'll go 20 miles inland in each of these countries to make sure nobody gets through, but this is on you. We will make sure nobody else gets in. Now, you go in there (the Iraqis) and you clear out Baghdad. You do it once and for all, and then we're out."
Yes, he wants to secure Iraq's borders by occupying parts of three neighbouring countries. Not sure how strongly Jordan would react but it's fair to say that Syria and Iran aren't going to be too happy with that. Iran particularly could cause an emormous amount of trouble for the US in the region if it was so inclined and I'd be fairly certain they would be so inclined if the US occupied (very roughly) 20,000 square miles of Iranian territory. Even if US troops were all based on the Iraqi side of the borders rather than over them, the tensions caused would be enormous. How do you think the Iranian regime would interpret 100,000 US troops camped on Iran's borders?

Iraq's borders with these countries are (again very roughly) 1,500 miles long and notoriously porous. Sealing them off would be an extraordinarily difficult task. And how does he expect Iraqis to "clear out Baghdad" exactly? Which one's should be cleared and which one's should do the clearing? Should Shiite militias clear Sunni insurgents or vice versa? You don't need to be a scholar of asymetric warfare to understand that Limbaugh's first proposal would be a disaster.

But it is his second which really exposes how he thinks.
The second strategy is, "You don't want to go for that?" We say to the Iraqis, "All right, here's what we're going to do. We're going to take everybody we got and we're going to bring 'em into Baghdad and we're going to do search-and-destroy and we're going to take out anything that looks like an insurgent and we're going to take out anything that looks like a sympathizer, a terrorist or whatever, we're going to clean this place out -- and then it's up to you."
It's a textbook example of dehumanisation if ever there was one. Take out anything that looks like an insurgent? Take out anything that looks like a sympathizer? He can't even bring himself to use the word "anyone", that'd be to admit that he's talking about killing actual people. Anything that looks like an insurgent.

But he really means that the US military should be allowed to kill any Iraqi who looks at the troops in a funny way or any Iraqi who looks like they might sympathise with someone who looks at the troops in a funny way. He means indesciminate slaughter, turning Baghdad into a free fire zone for the US military. How many civilians would be killed, how many innocents executed? Limbaugh wouldn't know and wouldn't care either.

That's the lesson people like Limbaugh have learned from Iraq. The problems are all the fault of namby-pamby liberals who tied the hands of the US government and didn't allow them to butcher enough Iraqis to put the fear of god into the one's that survived.

Tags: , , ,

No comments: