See, earlier, by Steve Sailer: The Partition Possibility, November 30, 2003
Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, available exclusively at VDARE.com
The whole thing just fills me with despair and disgust at the sheer colossal stupidity of American foreign policy. Trillions of dollars, thousands of lives, tens of thousands of maimed and disfigured, for what?
Doesn’t anyone have to answer for it all? Doesn’t anyone at least get reduced to the ranks of ordinary citizens with ordinary jobs, instead of wallowing in extravagant government pensions, corporate directorships, and six-figure speaking fees?
I have a couple of sidebar points about the Iran business, though.
- First sidebar point. I read with interest that there were mass casualties from a crowd stampede at the funeral for General What’s-his-name, the Iranian bigshot we blew up with a drone last week. Apparently the streets of the general’s home town were too narrow for the crowds to be properly managed.
Quote from the New York Times:
The head of Iran’s emergency medical services said 56 people had died and 213 were injured … as millions of people flooded the streets of Kerman to witness the [funeral] procession.
[Iran Fires on U.S. Forces at 2 Bases in Iraq, Calling It ‘Fierce Revenge,’ by Alissa J. Rubin et al.; January 7, 2020]
For us Cold War babies, that brings to mind Stalin‘s funeral in Moscow, March 1953. Again, crowds overwhelmed the crowd control measures and many people were crushed or trampled to death. [How Stalin’s demise resulted in the deaths of dozens of Soviet citizens, by Oleg Yegorov, Russia Beyond, March 15, 2019] Nobody knows the numbers: estimates start at a few dozen.
So, one for the memo file: If you’re in a totalitarian dictatorship when someone really important dies, stay away from the funeral procession. It’ll be on TV anyway.
(If you’re in a civilized country, the issue doesn’t arise. I followed Winston Churchill’s funeral cortege all through the streets of 1965 London without mishap. But that was when Britain was a civilized country. Nowadays things might be different.)
- Second sidebar point. I know, Joe Biden is a figure of fun. I enjoy laughing at the seat-warming old fool just as much as you do.
Stopped clocks are right twice a day, though, and Joe Biden has occasionally been right. I’m looking at the op-ed cosigned by Joe Biden and the late Leslie Gelb, a Council on Foreign Relations panjandrum, back on May 1st, 2006. It makes melancholy reading thirteen years and eight months later:
It is increasingly clear that President Bush does not have a strategy for victory in Iraq. Rather, he hopes to prevent defeat and pass the problem along to his successor. Meanwhile, the frustration of Americans is mounting so fast that Congress might end up mandating a rapid pullout, even at the risk of precipitating chaos and a civil war that becomes a regional war.
Our frustration was mounting so fast! Thirteen years and eight months ago! That’s precisely five thousand days ago this Wednesday, if my calculator has not deceived me. Five thousand days! Imagine how much more frustrated we must be now!
And: “Congress might end up mandating a rapid pullout.” Congress! [Laugh.]
That’s not my main point, though. My main point is a bit further down in Joe and Leslie’s op-ed.
After noting the ineffectual nature of Iraq’s so-called “governments of national unity,” Joe writes, or agrees with Gelb writing, the following:
The alternative path out of this terrible trap has five elements.
The first is to establish three largely autonomous regions with a viable central government in Baghdad. The Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions [See map at right, via the WSJ.]would each be responsible for their own domestic laws, administration and internal security.
[Unity Through Autonomy in Iraq, by Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb; NY Times, May 1, 2006]
Iraq is a bogus country. It should be three countries. All right, that’s not precisely what Joe wrote, but he and Gelb were headed in the right direction.
Below, another map of the (rough) divisions that might be negotiated, via an Iraqi blogger:
But the rest of the foreign policy Establishment was of course aghast. Iraq’s borders are sacrosanct! they swooned.
If only they’d felt the same way about America’s.
So yes, sure, Joe’s a clown. But even a clown is right once in a while.
John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.