Empire For Ever, Ctd

Tom Ricks replies to my criticism of his NYT article. I wrote:

When will this madness end? Do we really have to go completely bankrupt and be forced to withdraw from these anachronistic pretensions? Are seven years not enough?

Ricks jabs back:

Good questions! I wish you had posed them before you supported the invasion, Andrew. The decision to attack Iraq may was one of the biggest blunders in American history, and is going to cost a lot more. This thing is far from over, and I am surprised that you think you can just walk away from it now. You are an interesting moral thinker -- how can you justify that?

Because I do not believe there will ever be a time when the US can leave without a serious risk of another sectarian implosion followed by a dictatorship. And so the longer we stay the more expensive it gets. I totally respect Ricks's case. But if the criterion for leaving is political stability, we might as well admit we are in a neo-imperial situation. And when we soon have to slash Medicare or means-test social security or face a run on the dollar, we will have no choice anyway.

But, look, I'm just venting here.

The US is there for our lifetimes. Ditto Afghanistan. Seven years ago, we were told we'd be out in a matter of months. The American people voted for us to get out. The current president would not be president if he had not made that pledge. But none of it matters because the military and the State Department and the Republicans will insist on staying there for ever. And because Iraq is Iraq and Afghanistan is Afghanistan.

We had one chance to really get out and we had the surge which was a way to ensure we never left. I hope I'm proven wrong. I hope the Iraqis kick us out. I hope we can restore some proportion between US resources and US imperial reach. But when Tom Ricks tells us to hang on some more, you kinda know it's useless to hope for any such thing.