Thursday, August 16, 2007

Latest Iraq Carnage Once More Demonstrates Obvious Hopelessness

Tuesday night's attack, blamed on al Qaeda in Iraq, on a Kurdish-speaking religious sect in the northwest part of the country was the vilest of acts. I can certainly identify with the righteous anger so many feel about this kind of homicidal insanity. But it is just one more event that underscores the futility of the U.S. position there.

It was one of the worst attacks on civilians in the war, with the death toll up to at least 250, and estimates ranging as high as 500. Whole neighborhoods were reportedly leveled. Make no mistake about my views here -- extremists who commit such atrocities are nothing short of diabolical. There can be no rationalization, religious or political, for the likes of this.

But the sad fact that most Americans now seem to realize, even if our current leaders do not, is that the world's "only superpower" nonetheless has its limitations. We're trying to police a country that our "leaders" so hideously misunderstood from the beginning that there is no realistic way to clean up the mess.

This is not merely a civil war -- this is multifaceted cultural chaos that, sadly, will have to expend itself over a lot of time. The U.S. military presence doesn't frighten people who are that crazy. And, rather than extinguishing any fire, it seems to fling gasoline upon it, over and over.

There's a difference between being an isolationist and being a realist. And there's a difference between being tenacious in a positive way, and being stubbornly stupid. It's the classic case of people not knowing how to pick their battles. Iraq was clearly the wrong one to begin with, and consequently the U.S. has plenty of blood on its own hands -- several hundred thousand people, from credible accounts. Even if one assents to the amoral, crackpot "pragmatism" of the neocon view, by now even these people ought to have sense enough to know that they did something irreparably foolish.

After such a disastrous detour, it's time to find the road back to a fight against the kind of people who were actually responsible for 9-11. It will mean a senseless loss of many more lives if we have to wait 17 months for a new administration to get that process going. Congressfolk, are you listening?