Paul Krugman: A Surge, and Then a Stab
Paul Krugman says if you follow the money, it will lead to the truth:
A Surge, and Then a Stab, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: To understand what’s really happening in Iraq, follow the oil money, which already knows that the surge has failed.
Back in January, announcing his plan to send more troops to Iraq, President Bush declared that ... “...Iraq will pass legislation to share oil revenues among all Iraqis.”...
Two-thirds of Iraq’s GDP and almost all its government revenue come from the oil sector. Without an agreed system for sharing oil revenues, there is no Iraq, just ... armed gangs fighting for control of resources.
Well, the legislation Mr. Bush promised never materialized, and on Wednesday attempts to arrive at a compromise oil law collapsed.
What’s particularly revealing is the cause of the breakdown..., a Kurdish ... provincial government ... production-sharing deal with the Hunt Oil Company of Dallas ... seems to have been the last straw.
Now here’s the thing: Ray L. Hunt, the chief executive and president of Hunt Oil, is a close political ally of Mr. Bush. More than that, Mr. Hunt is a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, a key oversight body... By putting his money into a deal with the Kurds.., he’s essentially betting ... against the survival of Iraq...
The smart money, then, knows ... that the war is lost, and that Iraq is going the way of Yugoslavia. And I suspect that most people in the Bush administration — maybe even Mr. Bush himself — know this, too.
After all, if the administration had any real hope..., officials would be making an all-out effort to get the government ... to start delivering on some of those benchmarks, perhaps using the threat that Congress would cut off funds otherwise. Instead, the Bushies are making excuses, minimizing Iraqi failures, moving goal posts and, in general, giving the Maliki government no incentive to do anything differently.
And for that matter, if the administration had any real intention of turning public opinion around, as opposed to merely shoring up the base enough to keep Republican members of Congress on board, it would have sent Gen. David Petraeus ... to as many news media outlets as possible — not granted an exclusive appearance to Fox News...
All in all, Mr. Bush’s actions have ... been what you’d expect from a man whose plan is to keep up appearances for the next 16 months, never mind the cost in lives and money, then shift the blame for failure onto his successor.
In fact, that’s my interpretation of something that startled many people: Mr. Bush’s decision last month, after spending years denying that the Iraq war had anything in common with Vietnam, to suddenly embrace the parallel.
Here’s how I see it: At this point, Mr. Bush is looking forward to replaying the political aftermath of Vietnam, in which the right wing eventually achieved a rewriting of history that would have made George Orwell proud, convincing millions of Americans that our soldiers had victory in their grasp but were stabbed in the back by the peaceniks back home.
What all this means is that the next president, even as he or she tries to extricate us from Iraq — and prevent the country’s breakup from turning into a regional war — will have to deal with constant sniping from the people who lied us into an unnecessary war, then lost the war they started, but will never, ever, take responsibility for their failures.
Previous (9/10) column: Paul Krugman: Where’s My Trickle?
Next (9/17) column: Paul Krugman: Sad Alan’s Lament
Posted by Mark Thoma on Friday, September 14, 2007 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Iraq and Afghanistan, Politics |
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