Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Time to start planning

While Washington in all its pomp and punditry postures for or against various reports and suggestions about what the Bush Administration ought to do about its war in Iraq, time is wasting.

Because, no matter which strategy or non-strategy George W. Bush goes with, failure is inevitable. Iraq is going to blow.

There is no cohesive entity capable of establishing or sustaining a government. There are only factions. Factions that lack motivation for hanging together. Factions that are hanging, bombing, shooting, beheading and drill-killing one another.

There is no end in sight – military or political. There is not even a glimmer of a beginning of an end.

There is, however, a small window in time during which sober, far-sighted people (if there are any such people in Washington) can get out ahead of the next stage of the problem.

Iraq is going to blow. When we withdraw our troops, the entire region is going to be dragged into the war. The war will involve nations and religious sects, and political factions and terrorists – everyone.

It is not a matter of if. It’s a matter of when. The entire, horrible, unnecessary thing will almost certainly come to pass.

Realists in Washington (if there are any) must assume that to be the case – and begin to prepare the country accordingly now. It’s a matter of organizing and mobilizing; of preparing the people for something even larger and more resource consuming than Iraq is.

The realists can begin by preparing the people to expect and accept some form of draft. When the going gets tough, an all-volunteer military won’t be able to staff up. The current strategy of supplementing regular units with National Guard units won’t work forever either.

Some argue otherwise. Some still think a draft is unnecessary. They are either myopic or suffering from an acute case of, “Not-my-kid” syndrome.

OK. Fine. But at the very least, let’s plan for the worst case and hope for the best. Implementing a draft will take months – if not years. Let’s plan now. Let’s have the machinery well-oiled and ready, and not get caught flat-footed when Iraq blows.

The realists can also start shoring up our economic and energy resource deficiencies.

For example, the Bush Administration and Congress are funding our folly in Iraq with borrowed money. When Iraq blows, it will almost-certainly affect the global economy. We will want to be on the best possible footing, with our debt under control and a healthy domestic economy based on good jobs in the manufacturing sector – not just the service sector.

And as for energy, we’re not going to explore and drill our way out of this mess. We need plans and contingencies for rationing oil. And we need technologies and industries that will wean us off oil. Not because it’s green and the right thing to do (although it’s green and the right thing to do). Because when Iraq blows, there are going to be major changes in the amount of oil we have and the price we’ll pay for it.

When Iraq blows, a Prius is going to look like a Hummer at the pumps.

Time is wasting. We’ve got military, economic and energy problems to overcome. There are contingencies to develop. There is a people to mobilize.

It’s Christmastime in Washington. The beautiful, powerful, and influential are busy hobnobbing with the lunatics and lame ducks. One can only hope that somehow, somewhere, somebody gets each them all a big box of foresight (ribbon and bow optional) for the holidays this year.

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