I haven’t been posting too much lately. Frankly, I am just overwhelmed by everything that is going on to really digest a single part of it and write some sort of coherent and impassioned post about it. Lots of other people are doing a great job of analysis, all you have to do is go look for it on the web.
The President’s speech, though… I heard nothing new. Arianna has a very nice post that makes it very clear what she thinks about it.
Here are my Two Fundamental Reactions: 1) Sure, of course; these make total sense. But aren't these the very things we've already being doing? What exactly is new about this strategy? How is this attempt to help Iraqis protect the population different than all the other attempts to help Iraqis protect the population? Haven't we been trying to isolate extremists and create a "space for political progress" all along? (After we captured Saddam and stopped looking for WMD, that is.) Is the difference that this time we really mean it?
2) Wow, those must be 20,000 pretty awesome troops the president is sending in, if they are going to successfully do all that when the 145,000 troops we have now (or the 160,000 we had a year ago) weren't been able to.
Very succulently said. Why are we going to succeed now if we haven’t been able to do anything in the last 3 years? Are 20,000 troops really all that is required to “put us over the top”? If so, why didn’t we do that at the beginning? Insane.
The other frightening thing that I head from the speech was more very big-time saber rattling at Syria and Iran. Yes, lets go part a couple of aircraft carriers and their battle groups right off the Iran. That’s not going to be very controversial and in no way will it look at all confrontational. And no, I am sure we aren’t going around looking for an excuse to bomb some other country. I mean, we just took out a lot of people in Somalia, and most likely one or two of them were probably terrorists or something. If we got 20 or 30 innocent civilians and bystanders at the same time, well, that’s worth it.
If we really do take action against Iran and/or Syria, I just cannot imagine where we might go from there. Will we finally see mass demonstrations here at home? Will the loyal opposition party finally force a constitutional confrontation with a president who thinks that he is an emperor and answerable to no one? Will we finally see the small, regional conflicts in the Middle East finally break out into something much larger, fully drawing in Israel? Will the U.S. economy collapse because we are so dependent upon cheap energy that isn’t cheap or even available anymore? What happens if we suffer an undeniable and huge military defeat where our troops are lost on a large scale?
I imagine this period of time will be of vast interest to historians looking backwards in time 100 years from now. However, living through it is very unnerving. I am not sure things are as unsettled right now as they were, say, in Europe in 1932. But who knows where the present course may take us?