More of the Same
On March 4, John McCain, just declared nominee for the Republican Party, stressed the need for leadership in Iraq, raising the specter of that most terrible crime:
The next President must explain how he or she intends to bring that war to the swiftest possible conclusion without exacerbating a sectarian conflict that could quickly descend into genocide...
Conservatives have been saying it for a while. Rick Perlstein addressed it last year.
This is important to address because there are many in moderate, liberal, and left camps who, no doubt troubled by the war, fear what could take place should we leave. What's important for these people to realize is that mass-murder is already taking place. The Iraq War has not been a problematic or incomplete solution. It has been the problem, attempting to fix what cannot be fixed by a foreign power: an internal power struggle.
The best way to address these solemn claims of what will follow is by asking what should follow, should we remain in Iraq. What, exactly, is McCain's plan for victory? Kill all the people who want their country back? If we kill all the participants in the civil war, who's going to be left in the country? As Perlstein explained regarding the case of Vietnam:
Finally, let us assume the premise of the conservatives' magical thinking: that we should have stayed and stayed and stayed, amidst the slaughter of yet more hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, by fellow Vietnamese and by us until our side eventually "won," leaving only then. If so, our Saigon allies would probably have likely been just as bloody-minded in their score-settling as the Communists. This was the bunch that, in 1960, reacted to the mere hint of an impending Communist insurgency by detaining 50,000 of their own citizens in their own re-education camps, the Pentagon Papers noting "the consensus of the opinion" of rural Vietnamese that "the majority of the detainees are neither Communists nor pro-Communist." This was the government whose vice president Nguyen Cao Ky—the power behind the throne, actually—said, "People ask me who my heroes are. I have only one—Hitler." Indeed, another anti-Communist Asian strongman, Indonesia's General Suharto, enacted a genuine genocide, one to make the Vietnamese Communists look like pikers. "In terms of the numbers killed," as the CIA described it, "massacres in Indonesia rank as one of the worst mass murders of the 20th century."
And, as has been extensively documented, ethnic cleansing is underway. My God, there are some 4 million internal and external Iraqi refugees in the world. Yes, by all means, let's keep up the American violence. Better the atrocity you know, I suppose.