|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|Settling for the Win
Tuesday, May 1st, 2007
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|House Minority Leader John Boehner says the Democrats want to “walk out on Iraq, just like we did in Somalia.” ThinkProgress.org points out that in 1993 Representative Boehner voted for the withdrawal of US troops from Somalia.* Boehner argues that technically he wasn’t calling for a walk out because the troops were to depart by air. In any case, what the Ohio Republican is calling a “surrender” in Iraq will be entirely different.
In his The Prince of the Marshes, British diplomat Rory Stewart notes that in Maysan province in southern Iraq alone there are at least fifty Shiite groups, none of whom see eye to eye. Throw all the other tribes and sects into the mix and the would-be defeatist has a real problem: To whom does one surrender? Give up to one Shia group, and there’s every likelihood that the rest of the Shias, to say nothing of the Sunnis, the imported terrorists, and others, will just keep fighting you. Boehner’s solution is to stay on and keep fighting everybody at once, as we’re doing now. While avoiding any appearance of surrender, this solution is rather hard on the Republicans, who continue to be placed in the position of having to defend the indefensible.
But suppose we can find someone to accept our surrender. Further suppose that particular someone convinces enough of his colleagues we’re in earnest. Even if most of the fractured tribes and sects stop fighting us as a result, who is to stop them from continuing to fight each other? Certainly not the Iraqi army, which generally prefers not to get involved in any fighting of any kind, and has a tendency to walk off the job after pay day. A US surrender, therefore, won’t do anything to end the bloodshed.
There are other difficulties associated with a US surrender in Iraq. The Germans surrendered to the Entente aboard railroad cars parked in the forest of Compiegne in 1918. They complained about the food, but by then the fighting had ceased and the surrounding countryside, though devastated, was quiet. The Germans surrendered again in 1945 at Allied headquarters in Rheims. Not only was the city peaceful, but thanks to the cleverness of the locals the Germans had been unable to steal all the champagne for which Rheims is famous. Thus was the bitter pill, at least for the Germans, swallowed in some style. Later that year, the Japanese surrendered aboard the USS Missouri, at anchor in Tokyo Bay. The scene was martial, but no blood was shed.
A similarly peaceful surrender is not possible in Iraq. Suicide bombers are everywhere, and RPGs and IEDs are omnipresent. As we have seen, hostilities are not going to cease with the announcement of a US capitulation. Any sort of ceremonial throwing in of the towel by the US would naturally be targeted by one group of fighters or another. And for a ceremonial surrender to be marred by violence is both unhistorical and unthinkable.
There is a final problem with a US surrender in Iraq. Traditionally, it’s the defeated party who gives up. This was certainly true of the Germans and the Japanese. But the US was victorious in Iraq. Twice. The first time we drove the Iraqis out of Kuwait and restored the Kuwaiti regime. Then we drove Saddam Hussein from power and destroyed his regime. For the victor to surrender flies in the face of logic, history, and common sense, and therefore simply cannot be.
So what is the US to do? Quietly declare our victory in Iraq, and leave. If questions are asked, quote that great American, Elbert Hubbard. As a fatality of the sinking of the Lusitania on the eve of our entry into a different bloody catastrophe, his wisdom seems peculiarly appropriate: “Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway.” If really pressed, and some sort of answer to the question of how we became mired in Iraq in the first place is completely unavoidable, simply quote Hubbard again: “Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.”
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A NOTE TO READERS
There was nothing new at The Nossiter Net between March 3rd and April 26th, nearly eight weeks. The reason: tech sabotage. Yahoo Geocities, the host for this site, denied access for the entire period. At one point, they even managed to lose all the files. In many discussions with Yahoo staff, no clear explanation was forthcoming. No one seemed able to fix the problem. Ruling out the possibility of Dubbya’s revenge, I finally wrote to Mr. Terry Semel, Chairman and CEO of Yahoo! Inc and described the ordeal the page had undergone since the beginning of March. A week later, a helpful Yahooo engineer named Jason called. He had my letter before him. Though he couldn’t do the repairs on on the spot, he promised a fix by the next day. That was April 26th, nearly two months after shutting me down in the first place.
The Nossiter Net apologizes, which is more than I can say for Yahoo Geocities.
©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2007
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