For the Bush administration, Iraq is no longer a democratic test tube, or tabula rasa for geopolitical mapmakers, or even a Rovian opportunity to whip injured nationalism into a vengeful froth. It is way beyond that. Iraq has become, instead, nothing more than the administration’s tar baby of Hobson’s choices, Catch 22s, vicious cycles, and proverbial rocks and hard places amidst the desert.
The one bright spot is that Iraq as an immediate problem could very well be thrown out along with Bush’s other fetid bathwaters in 2008. The dark side, however, is that this criminal war has made an international rogue of the United States and the self-made image will linger in the world’s mind for years to come. Furthermore, the neocon Bushies who were intent on flexing America’s muscle to intimidate global girlie-men have instead shown (once again) that raw military power is a 98-pound, counterinsurgent weakling. Indeed, Bush’s excellent Iraq adventure has been an inspiration to the bin Ladens and Zarqawis everywhere waiting to kick sand in our face.