You’d think killing Saddam would be the easy part

My comments on Saddam’s death are a bit slow. I was just thinking that I hadn’t said anything on it, perhaps because the moment was anti-climatic. Then I slowly realized the real implications.

It’s been nearly four years after the invasion; Iraq couldn’t even get the execution of Saddam right. They let a bunch of al-Sadr’s followers in on the hanging. I’d think something as utterly basic as not having the followers of a infamous Shiite cleric around when Saddam is finally hanged would be within the powers of even a startup government. What a excellent way to make martyrdom even easier to sell.

I haven’t made any wide-sweeping comments in awhile on Iraq, but here’s another one. No matter what course Bush takes at this point, the new Iraqi government is doomed to dissolve. I don’t see it surviving much longer in its current incarnation even with the current American presence.

Joseph Biden’s largely sensible plan for decentralization, following the model of the Dayton accords, is probably also doomed because it’s a Democratic plan; I can’t see Bush, who has exhibited virtually no humility since his initial comments on the November elections, caving that far. More than likely, his new ‘plan’ announced in January will be nothing more than fast talking and various stopgap measures to minimize causalities between now and 2008, when the GOP can throw the presidential election and blame the Democratic winner and Congress for ‘losing’ Iraq, thus setting the stage for the 2010 elections when they can retake the House and Senate.

I would be pleased, of course, to be proved wrong. Bush’s upcoming State of the Union should admit at least that Iraq’s government needs to be revamped. We still have the power to do this, despite the new Iraqi constitution – all we have to do is threaten to leave to get it thrown out.

T.E. Lawrence’s requirements for a successful insurgency, laid out in that odd book of his, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, still hold true. The most damning of them all is passive support of the populace. For every article or story I hear about how most Iraqi want “freedom,” I think of all the other Iraqi – a sizable number indeed to support such such a prolonged resistance – that want their piece of the Iraq pie. As long as Lawrence’s conditions hold, Iraq will be untenable.

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