Sunday, October 01, 2006

Take the troops back? Sorry, you cant.

A few weeks back, Barbara Boxer, a Democrat senator from California, made a strong argument on National Public Radio against America's needless involvement in Iraq and announced that if a Democrat-dominated Congress gets elected this November, one of their first acts will be to push for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. This argument seems to be flying with more and more Americans - that the Iraq war was a mistake and that Iraqis have to learn to take care of themselves. As Boxer said early this week to an interviewer on Fox News, the Iraqi people "have to step up to the plate and defend their own country just like we did...and should want to succeed, like we want them to."

Apparently, the instrinsic injustice of the proposed direction is lost on Ms Boxer as well as most anti-war advocates in this country.

Boxer's fanciful dream of withdrawing troops from Iraq is as selfishly centered around the American cause as was the original decision to start the war. Whether Americans are happy about the war or not, a few things are very clear - the war has destroyed the socio-political system of Iraq, started a civil war, killed 40 to 50,000 people, and set the country back by 80 years to a point similar to its post-WWI genesis where it is forced to ask itself existential questions. Given that the purported reasons for the war never existed (WMDs), America stands guilty for all of the above. And America should pay.

Indeed, Iraq doesnt need a squawky Democrat to set right things, it needs another Nuremberg (as in the Nuremberg Trials which sent dozens of Nazis to the gallows for war crimes after WWII) . What would a Nuremberg-2, if it started sessions tomorrow, impose on America?

Conceivably, America would lose the right to withdraw soldiers from Iraq (...you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave...) and be forced to send a hundred thousand more soldiers in purely UN-type cannon-fodder role, providing security to individual neighborhoods in Baghdad and elsewhere, pretty much like a Home Guard. No offensive raids, no precision bombings, just sitting there behind your sandbags taking hits, firing only in self-defence. The entire $453 billion US defence budget for 2006-07 (for comparison, Iraq's 2005 GDP is around $50 billion; India's around $800 billion) would be reappropriated as settlement to Iraqis.

Of course, given the nature of the largely apathetic self-castrated world community that America lords over, it is unlikely that anything akin to the Nuremberg trials will ever happen. But just fantasizing what an exercise in international justice would throw up exposes how wrong (not just incorrect, but wrong) the Democrats are. They want to bring an end to Bush's military adventure, but also want their forces back intact. They want to inherit the single most potent arm of the Empire, but none of the responsibility for its past deeds. The Democrats want to have the cake and eat it too.

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