Iraq: Caught in the Quagmire of American Politics
June 14, 2014
The political class in the United States is reacting as the “storyline” in Iraq seems to be getting away from them as some “militants” seem to be on the verge of taking over large swaths of Iraqi territory. And so it has become essential for our political class to reassert a storyline that will serve its interests. Not surprisingly, the “new” storyline – which is actually an old one, used several times in the past – is that the Obama administration, though well intentioned, has failed to preserve the “victory” that the Bush administration “won” in Iraq.
Using this storyline, the illusion of “victory” in Iraq can be preserved and the nation need not confront more important questions, e.g., of the efficacy of military might or the efficacy of a militarized foreign policy. And while you might think that the Obama administration, because it is being “victimized,” would respond with a strenuous defense of its actions, don’t bet on it. As part of the reigning political class, the Democrats are as interested in supporting – if only “coyly” – the “new” storyline as are the Republicans! Hence, you can expect Obama to act somewhat indecisively before employing the military to “save the day.” Obama’s “surge” will be less effective than Bush’s. But that is fine insofar as it reinforces the myth of military might.
And so the status quo is preserved even as the political class pretends to have at it.