"Insane, Irrational Panic"

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This is how Bill Kristol describes the view of those who have followed this war closely for four years of drift, mishap and recklessness and concluded that some kind of withdrawal or redeployment is now our least worst option. It is based on Kristol's judgment that, for reasons unspecified,

"the offensive is working better than expected."

Than who expected? The day after the most fatal bomb yet in Iraq? As the maximal troop surge in Baquba still saw up to 80 percent of the insurgents flee to fight another day? Kristol's objective analysts, of course, the ones who see the true picture ... are the very people - nepotistic neocons - who designed the offensive (and its p.r.) in the first place. Kristol's assessment of Iraq now is as rigged as the WMD evidence many of us foolishly took on faith. Three words: fool me once. Kristol, of course, favors political counter-attack in Washington. We know what that will mean: an attempt to blame those who have had no influence on this war for its baleful consequences and to exonerate the egotists and liars who have perpetuated it.

Kristol's real rationale, of course, has less to do with Iraq and much more to do with the collapsing coalition has been trying to hold together for quite a while:

Why on earth pull the plug now? Why give in to an insane, irrational panic that will destroy the Bush administration and most likely sweep the Republican party to ruin?

Ah, yes, the Republican party. The real prize, the real issue. It's worth reiterating: The main reason to withdraw and redeploy now is because no sane observer believes that continuing to ineffectively occupy a Muslim country against the will of the Iraqi and American people is in the national interest. The surge will end next March, regardless. Whatever slivers of success it has achieved cannot work against the overwhelming fact of Iraq's sectarian disintegration. The "country" cannot be put together again under unending U.S. occupation. And sending more young Americans to die for a sectarian war that is actually increasing the risk to the U.S. and the West as a whole is immoral and strategically foolhardy.

But it could give the neocons a new leash on life, a way to invigorate their exhausted ideological engines. That, now, is what young Americans are dying for. Increasingly, it's all they're dying for. Enough.

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