Michael Schwartz has an excellent piece in Mother Jones, Catch 22 in Iraq: Why American Troops Can’t Go Home, about why the Iraq occupation is likely to last a long time. He cites a recent video-conference press briefing for reporters in which Col. Jeffrey Bannister refers to the five-year plan, not just any old plan, but the plan. This implies a generally understood long-term mission, one which is not based on changes on the ground, such as a reduction in sectarian violence.
Moreover, he quotes and links to articles showing that the leading Democratic party contenders are fully with the program, seeing “vital national security interests,” i.e., oil in the region as grounds for continuing military force. The Catch 22 is that violent resistance to the occupation is defined as terrorism; thus, the military presence is needed to combat the very terrorism that it creates.
Schwartz’s article provides further evidence that the issue in Iraq is not promoting democracy, ending sectarian violence, reducing terrorism, promoting peace and justice in the Middle East, or any of a number of other worthwhile goals. It is to secure and maintain ample, low-cost supplies of oil to fuel the global economy, and especially for the Western nations, which use such a disproportionate share of the world’s resources.
All of this makes me think that my 12 steps to respond to 9/11, because “we have to do something!” is still relevant.