James Wolcott notices a paper written by "Immanuel Wallerstein, Senior Research Scholar at Yale, former President of the International Sociological Association, and the author of, among other works, the three-volume magnum opus The Modern World-System."
Wallerstein's contentions are damn hard to argue against.
"It's over. For the U.S. to win the Iraq war requires three things: defeating the Iraqi resistance; establishing a stable government in Iraq that is friendly to the U.S.; maintaining the support of the American people while the first two are being done. None of these three seem any longer possible. First, the U.S. military itself no longer believes it can defeat the resistance. Secondly, the likelihood that the Iraqi politicians can agree on a constitution is almost nil, and therefore the likelihood of a minimally stable central government is almost nil. Thirdly, the U.S. public is turning against the war because it sees no "light at the end of the tunnel."The implication from this is that every life lost from here on in, and those lost in the mis-guided effort so far, was wasted. If George W. Bush wasn't the leader of the United States, he'd be up on war crimes.
"As a result, the Bush regime is in an impossible position. It would like to withdraw in a dignified manner, asserting some semblance of victory. But, if it tries to do this, it will face ferocious anger and deception on the part of the war party at home. And if it does not, it will face ferocious anger on the part of the withdrawal party. It will end up satisfying neither, lose face precipitously, and be remembered in ignominy."
"But, for the Bush regime, the worst picture of all is on the home front. Approval rating of Bush for the conduct of the Iraqi war has gone down to 36 percent. The figures have been going steadily down for some time and should continue to do so. For poor George Bush is now faced with the vigil of Cindy Sheehan. She is a 48-year-old mother of a soldier who was killed in Iraq a year ago. Incensed by Bush's statement that the U.S. soldiers died in a "noble cause," she decided to go to Crawford, Texas, and ask to see the president so that he could explain to her for what "noble cause" her son died.
"Of course, George W. Bush hasn't had the courage to see her. He sent out emissaries. She said this wasn't enough, that she wanted to see Bush personally. She has now said that she will maintain a vigil outside Bush's home until either he sees her or she is arrested...
"Bush won't see her because he knows there is nothing that he can say to her. Seeing her is a losing proposition. But so is not seeing her. The pressure to withdraw from Iraq is now becoming mainstream. It is not because the U.S. public shares the view that the U.S. is an imperialist power in Iraq. It is because there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel... They want out. Bush is caught in an insoluble dilemma. The war is lost."
And there has been much talk lately regarding Iran, the point being that Iran is really the only beneficiary of Bush's grand adventure. They were mortal enemies of Sadaam, and are or will soon be, a nuclear power. All Bush and his delusional neo-con egotists have accomplished is destablizing Iraq enough for Iran to exert it's will on the country. In other words, things were better with Sadaam in power, at least from a geopolitical standpoint. With Iraq unravelling, it's more likely that what eventually emerges in Iraq is more in Iran's image than Americas.
The true scope of Bush's ill-considered and reckless quest for empire will likely not be fully comprehended for years to come, and will likely be worse than even his current critics could imagine. And the collossal cost in bloodshed, death, heartbreak, economic hardship, environmental degradation, and a thousand different ways will continue to be paid by the millions this administration's actions affect for generations to come.