Imperium beckons upon this course

Jay Bookman spells out conventional wisdom about where this war will lead in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

...the intensity of the resistance we face in Iraq does call into doubt the much larger plan underlying our decision to go to war. Almost everything that we hope to accomplish in post-war Iraq depended on the belief that we would be treated as liberators, that the Iraqi people would embrace and support us and be eager to cooperate.

As Marine Brig. Gen. John Kelly put it last week, "What we were really hoping for was just to go through and everyone would wave flags and all that.''

In places, that may yet occur. But the suicide bombing that killed four Marines Saturday, and the chilling, fanatical eagerness of Iraqis to confront our troops even though vastly outarmed, indicates that the situation is far more complicated than we were led to believe.

These people resent us, and many of them hate us bitterly. Beating them will not make them like us any better; it will not change their minds. Under the indignity of foreign Christian occupation, whatever gratitude they may initially feel for being rescued from Saddam Hussein will degrade into sullen insolence.

It is now impossible to believe that we can occupy Iraq with a mere 60,000 troops, as the administration promised. We will not, as promised, be able to exit the country altogether in just a year or two. We will not, as promised, be able to impose some form of pro-American democracy and leave behind a peaceful Iraq as a model for other Arab nations.

Those dreams, always fanciful, have died.

When U.S. soldiers finally do march into Baghdad, they will not be treated as their great-grandfathers had been treated as they marched into Paris. The closer comparison may be to Israeli troops patrolling the Occupied West Bank, which is terrifying. No American wants to see our troops placed in a situation where they feel compelled to shoot 12-year-old rock-throwers.

As that heartbreaking realization sinks in, administration officials are already trying to claim that they expected this kind of reception all along. That is, to put it bluntly, a lie.

There is also a chat transcript with Bookman about this piece, which has some good questions and follow-up. Note that these events strongly point to the rise of an American Empire in the middle east, a new era of forcible colonialization. This si not the desire of the people but the situation there will inexorably evolve towards that occupation reality. Bookman predicted that empire was the goal of the Administration back in September. Whether explicitly the goal or not, that is where we are heading. That is where this road leads.

(via Atrios).

In related news, Ambassadors John Brady Kiesling, John Brown, and Mary A. Wright have all tendered their resignations to Secretary of State Colin Powell. The names link to the text of their respective resignation letters. The brain drain will continue - and this will further entrench the policies of the Administration because the counterbalancing arguments will be less and less representative. The President has always been surrounded by Yes-men and the will continue to harm our policy objectives.

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