Some things about the recent Presidential debate have left me thinking about things and one of these is energy independence. We do need to have energy independence and the fact ot the matter is if we don't do it soon, we will lack the political will and financial energy to be able to do so. Already, we owe so much to the banks in China and elsewhere that our debt has clogged the worlds financial system to the point where nothing is moving. Not only have our overpriced McMansions clogged the global banking system, but the $10 Trillion in debt that our nation holds in various banks overseas which have purchased our bonds has left the world in a quandry. We have a debt that is beyond the world's capability to finance and the collapse that has come is one that has been comming for decades.
The Iraq War may end without honor simply because we cannot afford to sustain it. Its a simple matter of mathematics. Terrorist threats are nothing compared to the ability to afford to fight against it. One argument for the end of the Cold War was that the bloated Soviet economy simply could not sustain itself against the ability of the West to finance its military buildup that occoured under the Regan Adminstration. Simply put, President Regan put us into even greater debt to save us from the Soviets and it worked. (Although perhaps the 30 to 40 years of the work of previous adminstrations from Truman to Carter befor him cannot be overlooked). The sustained, consistant military spending which isolated and contained the Soviets was what won the Cold War and cannot be really put to any one man or President. Regan happend to be on the watch when the Cold War thawed to Peristroika and finally to the Collapse after his Presidency.
The Iraq War will end not because we vanquish Al Queda, but will end because we can simply not afford to sustain such a prolonged siege. This probably was the goal of Al Queda all along and is a tool that insurgent forces all over the world have used throughout history. The economic collapse will certainly cause us to rethink many budget priorities and many programs will face the chopping block with the next adminstration. The choice facing the next President is this - do we sustain the war and leave the Homeland suffering in economic misery? Or do we concentrate on our own problems and leave Iraq to disentergrate?
The fact of the matter is that the decision will probably be made for us and soon. The thing overlooked in the debates and that rhetoric on both sides is the simple fact that the we have certainly overstayed our welcome in Iraq and even most of our ardent suporters have said we must leave soon. The Iraqis no longer want us there certainly. The Sunnis and Shities have come to a realization that increased violence will not get us to leave. The present cooperation between them and us is really not an aspect of the Surge, but the fact that they have realized this. We can put our whole Army in Iraq and people will continue to fight. Our soldiers would die even if we did this. The Surge worked not because of the surge, but because we have the opposition knowing that we will not leave their country in turmoil.
So, what they will do and have done is taken our money to be passive, worked with us and will probably continue to do so until we get the hell out. One of the programs in the Surge has been to give money to the various militias in order for them to stop fighting. This has worked so far, but what happens when the money dries up? Iraq has rampant unemployment and the only people paying anyone to do anything really are the militias and the various religious organizations. We bombed Iraq into an economic collapse and now it has to rebuild an infrastructure so it can sell oil again. However, with the general economic conditions, the oil that might have brought economic prosperity has been stedially dropping in price. So, the price at the pump will drop for us, but with that, any hope of economic progress for Iraq will erode.
So, what happens next. Well, with the economic conditions, Isreal's status as the 51st state will probably not be sustainable. What will happen is that the next President will have to more than likely withdraw from the Middle East entirely with the provisio that any attack on Isreal with weapons of mass destruction will cause an in-kind use of weapons of Mass Destruction by the US on that state. Thus, Iran might be allowed to continue to develop its nuclear program and prove to the world that it is for peaceful purposes. (My thinking is that it is for peaceful purposes because they know the oil is running out and that any future power generation capability will have to be Nuclear in nature since it has Uranium). I realize this goes against conventional thinking but one should be aware that there are a lot of Iranians that age getting sick of the religious fanatics running the country. They hate Achmanajinadad as much as we hate Bush.
Non state attacks would be defended by Isreal itself. Isreal has a sustained program of anti-terrorism and that should continue. We should also continue such operations as well. Terrorism is not going to be fought with large, sustained deployments of military forces in foreign lands. Terrorism is fought with intellegence gathering, stealth operations, and the like. We fight by using many of the tactics of the terrorists themselves against them. Apart from torture, kidnapping and the like, we use those tactics to selectively target key operators around the globe and maintain surveylance and take them out when necessary. It has worked in the past. The operations are faster, better and certainly cheaper than having our forces being demolished peacemeal in Iraq. The sad fact is that, like Vietnam, our armed forces will not recover from this conflict for many years - either morally, spiritually, or in material costs. Suicides are up in the military in levels that have not been seen at all. Depot level maintenance on HUMVEE's and attack helicopters used in the conflict has been defered and overall, the military will need to spend billions to replace this overused and overtaxed equipment. It will be many years before we have a solid working force again.
As an asside, another thing that this conflict in Iraq has left us unable to deal with things of even greater concern to us. One enormous opprotunity Obama missed in the debate was a failure to point out that the conflict in Georgia was a result of the war. We cannot deal with Russia becase we are bogged down in Iraq. We cannot deal with the conflict in Sudan and tell the torturers of the world because we lack the moral will to confront them because of Guantanamo. In many ways, we like to say we want to hit back at them and strike them like they hit us. For years we could say that we were above that because we practiced morality in our affairs between nations. Now we lack that morality because we have sunk to the level of the terrorists. We are even below that because we like to think we are the good guys. Maybe its nice to see Jack Bauer on "24" torture a guy to get information out of him, but we forget that waht we see on the screen is a writers imagination. Under duress a tortured person says anything to get the pain to stop and what comes out may not be actionalble intellegence. We never see Jack Bauer being led on the wrong path because he tortured someone and they told him something just to make the pain stop. That wouldn't be a good episode.
Now there will be failures in a program where we confront Al-Queda indirectly. The September attacks on the Trade Center was one of them, but economically can we hope to sustain a multi-trillion dollar war on terror? The choice that our future leaders have to make will have to take the economic problems we have into account.
What was going to start out as a compliation of replies on varous posts grew into something else and this kinda drained my brain of things I suppose I have been thinking about. I know there are some "interesting" things I have said here and I write here to get comments so have at it.
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