Sometimes the stubbornness of the Iraq war promoters, in the face of the perplexing troubles we face there, wanders into the category of absurd. We are urged fervently to support a war effort that has no strategy for victory. I mean, that is what it comes down to. Every pronouncement from Bush administration officials amounts to the statement that our object over there is, in essence, to hang on for dear life until the Iraqis get their act together. But whether the Iraqis can get their act together is always left an open question, or worse, an unexamined assumption. So our strategy hinges on something that by our own admission is beyond our control.
We are very good at mopping the floor with any Jihadist brigands who dare to tangle with our soldiers. We are good a building infrastructure. We have had some success in winning allies to our side among both Shia and Sunni Muslims. But from none of this does it follow that Iraq will become a stable, functional state, much less a democracy. That remains up to the people of Iraq, a people so riven by divisions as to leave open the question of whether such a thing is possible even in ideal conditions.
The whole business put one in the mind of the comical absurdity in the final verse of Bob Dylan famous song, “Highway 61 Revisited,” on the album of the same name:
Now the rovin' gambler he was very bored
He was tryin' to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily done
We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61.