I suppose if Justice Department officials write memos in favor of torture, it’s only appropriate for their State Department counterparts to write memos in favor of genocide. Zelikow and Yoo can keep one another company in prison once the war-crimes trials are over.
“Ending outreach to insurgents”? That one belongs in the Euphemism Hall of Fame. Just what do proponents of the “80% plan” expect to happen to the other 20% of the population of Iraq: the Sunni Arabs? Especially the urban Sunni? With the Shi’a death squads fully unleashed, it looks to me as if their choices would quickly boil down to exile or death.
Even if this policy weren’t atrociously immoral, it would still be dumbfoundingly stupid. Since in the midst of a genocidal civil war all the political advantages rest with the most extreme factions of the majority, the ones with the most guns and the most willingness to kill, the Zelikow plan means more or less giving non-Kurdish Iraq to Moqtada al-Sadr, who really could make the world long for the good old days under Saddam. And of course the Sunni-ruled oil states, though probably too weak to do anything about it militarily, wouldn’t forget, or forgive, anytime soon.
I hate to agree with Krauthammer about anything, but he’s right that a lunatic “realist” can be just as dangerous as a lunatic “neocon.” Let’s not forget that “realism” once meant supporting the bani Saud and the Shah, the South African Nationalist Party, Jonas Savimbi and Mobutu Sese Seko, Batista, Trujillo, and Duvalier, Pinochet and Galtieri, and of course the brave Afghani mujaheddin and their jihadist friends who were giving the Russians such fits. How’s that working out, guys?
That brilliant geopolitical thinker Mark Twain (someone today’s anti-imperialists can legitimately claim as an intellectual and moral forebear) once said “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” I’m not sure what would count as “doing right” in the fine mess the Bushies have gotten us into, but I’m pretty sure that abandoning 5 million people — most of them completely innocent — to the fury of their sectarian enemies isn’t it.