The Bottomless Iraq Sinkhole

Do you feel it? Do you have that sense of vertigo and nausea, all the way from gut to your 'nads? As you hear the names chiming in the news like a roll call of shame - Mosul, Tikrit, Kirkuk - a chant of our national doom?

The breakdown of Iraq is something that anyone with any sense knew was inevitable once we removed Saddam Hussein, the bottom peg of the Jenga game that is that nation. We predicted civil war and, goddamnit, it was gonna happen. There was no policy that was going to maintain order in that fucked-beyond-fucked country except for eternal occupation by the United States - oh, sorry - coalition of the willing or whatever the fuck we called it. Once more, Barack Obama's presidency is swallowed and squandered by the devastated landscape George W. Bush left behind.

Obama is already getting the blame for the uprisings, the Sunni on Shiite violence, the radical Kurds taking what they always wanted (aided by average, everyday Kurds). It's like blaming your current lover for the herpes you got from some dude ten years ago because he's there and why the fuck not direct your rage at someone who is convenient instead of yourself and your own stupid decisions.

Eventually, and you can bet on this, another talking point is going to come around. It's something the Rude Pundit wrote about a long time ago, so, hey, here it is, from February 27, 2006, a gentle reminder that those of us who opposed the war were smarter and more prescient thinking than anyone who supported it. It's titled "Pre-Emptive Blogging: Talking Points For a Coming Attack From the Right" and it goes like this:

"As Iraq spirals into a shitstorm of violence and vengeance, even as some Sunnis and some Shiites try desperately to avert a direct, overwhelming hit by said shitstorm, at some point soon, some right wing bag of douche is going to proclaim that liberals are 'happy' or 'thrilled' by a civil war in Iraq. Liberals can be accused of enabling terrorists by using the dwindling "freedom of speech" we're allowed, and it's a pretty small rhetorical leap from saying the left wants American soldiers to die (which the right has done) to saying the left loves us some civil war. Yes, liberals will be viciously insulted (defamed, even) by conservative commentators, bloggers, Freeper frothers, as if somewhere, in an oh-so-hip underground club, liberals are gathered in an orgy of celebration over the infinite bloodletting in Iraq, chanting gleefully, 'Told you so, told you so, told you so' as they toast with cosmos and down sushi...

"So let's just say it up front here: over here in Liberalburg, we weren't happy when Ronald Reagan was cozying up to Saddam Hussein back in the 1980s. We weren't happy that the United States was backing a brutal, murderous, raping thug, giving him weapons and such. We weren't happy with the first Persian Gulf War. We weren't happy with sanctions that decimated the poorest people in Iraq. We weren't happy that the President wouldn't allow weapons inspectors to finish their work.

"We weren't happy with this war to start with, saying, for instance, that a civil war was the inevitable outcome. We're not happy to be proven right. We're not happy, simply, when people are dying for no good cause, with no good outcome on the horizon, and no good way out. Frankly, oh, dear, sweet right wing, on the whole, we'd've rather been wrong and had tens of thousands of people not killed, tens of thousands of America soldiers not wounded. We'd've eaten the crow and, trust us, wonderful, fair right wing, you'd've shoved our faces in the plate of that black bird.

"But since we were right, maybe, just maybe, someone oughta pay a political price for being so goddamned wrong. Instead, though, the right's gonna try to turn it around and blame the left and those who 'didn't support the war' for its failure. Which would, for all intents and purposes, finally seal the deal on Vietnam redux.

"Somewhere, Saddam Hussein is shaking his head, the only one who, really, and for all the wrong reasons, has the right to say, 'Told you so.'"

There is no joy here, no schadefreude. Just sorrow for the dead and displaced, just the pain that all Cassandras feel constantly.