With the bombing of the Askariyah shrine in Samarra
today, there seems to be a shift in the overall US media narrative on Iraq. A civil war in Iraq that has been largely presented only as a possibility, seems to be transitioning to a presentation that a civil war is imminent, inevitable, or ongoing.
(I recognize that this specific bombing marks an artificial point along a continuum of increasing sectarian violence, but, quite frankly, the narrative presented to the American people is far more important in altering perceptions than the reality.)
If the narrative is changing, this could have major implications on US politics, Iraq policy, and our sense of ourselves as a nation.
What happens to Bush's Iraq policy as it becomes more clear to Americans that there is no nation left to build? Does he stick to his "victory plan?" Are we looking at Nixon in Vietnam? How does that impact broader foreign policy especially in relation to Iran?
Bush has often said that we need to see Iraq through so that we maintain credibility to deter future threats, and yet it was his decision to enter this needless war that seems to have exposed that lack of credibility. Before we invaded Iraq, smaller nations feared us, and now they think of us as a paper tiger.
Beyond the unusable nuclear deterrent, we have offered nations a workable game plan on how to tie down and exhaust the US army.
And what does failure in Iraq mean going forward with the American public when the US has lost two of it's last three major wars? What does that do to our sense as a nation? What impacts does that have?
One of the core philosophical precepts of the Neocons is that ideas can change the world, and in that, I think they're right. They believed that the concepts of freedom and democracy would act to transform the middle east. The jury's still out on that.
What I'm asking today is what would a mass realization of failure in Iraq mean?
Many people already recognize the Iraq war as a failure, so is there really an impact in all this? Using myself as an example, I know that the policy was a failure, but somehow it feels very different today staring the results of that failure square in the face.
I keep thinking I should've done more.
Just some stray thoughts on a cloudy afternoon.
By the way, if you haven't been there yet today, pop by Juan Cole's site
, or try Today in Iraq
, less interpretation, more facts.
Looks like I'm not the only one to notice the change in tone
. Also, sorry if this post was a bit of self indulgent navel gazing, but somehow today I was hit with the reality of all these eventualities and what they really are going to look like. Today, for the first time, I started to see the rippling implications of George Bush's failed war of choice. What we've done to the people of Iraq is horrific. What we've done to ourselves is shameful.)