The Iraq situation is as complex as the wreckage after a car-bomb, but this does not mean that the issues need to be obfuscated.
The moral imperative of "you broke it, you fix it" can be answered with more clichés, to wit: "if you are in a hole, stop digging", and "Don't throw good money after bad", or from Dr. Einstein "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it." So when the invaders rolled in, Iraq was cracked open, and sending more of them in will fix it?
Who gained from the Iraq war? The neoconservative school of thought in the U.S.A. hoped to, but their ideology, as much as they had one beyond greed and short-sighted and narrow self-interest, is fast being discredited and fading. Private security firms such as Blackwater have been given lots of money (over $800 million to Blackwater 3), defence contractors are profiting immensely 5. And George W. Bush is enjoying his full eight years in office as President.
Worst-case scenarios have appeared that were not even thinkable a few years ago – a broader middle-eastern war stretching from Iraq to Afghanistan, even spilling into Israel and Pakistan, seems possible now.
"There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible," the official said. "Meanwhile, the politicians are saying: 'You can't do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we're only one fact away from going over the cliff in Iraq'." 1
The US has no clear goals, no achievable victory conditions, no objection to leaving except that doing so would force them to admit that they can gain nothing there that bears any relation to the original stated goals.
All the "surge" can gain is a few more months of political life, and a patriotic cheer for "bringing the boys back home" when the troop levels subside back to previous levels.
Iraq would be bloody if the Americans pull out? Iraq is bloody now. Make a new democratic state? That would be nice, but is it getting any closer?
US costs are running at a reported half a million dollars every minute 2, and they get nothing from the money except ongoing dead soldiers, and corrosive moral hazards. See Abu Ghraib, Blackwater shootings3, Missing billions in cash4, etc.5
This is the "minute to midnight" that we face: That the west's moral compass, already swinging wildly, will be irreparably damaged by the confluence of greed and violence, fear and power. That the west's citizen's already distrustful and apathetic of government, will give up on the self-serving two-party oligarchies altogether, as elections become nothing more than a naked change of kleptocrats. That the press, already sacrificing freedom for security, will further abdicate into government mouthpieces. That the Wars on abstract Nouns and resource-rich Third World Countries, the surveillance and crackdowns will become a permanent fixture "for our security". That torture, arbitrary detention, presumption of guilt and extraordinary rendition will become permanent features of our state apparatus. That the next president of the USA will "double Guantanamo".6
That so many opportunities to make the world better will be passed up because this staggeringly expensive venture, which benefits at best a hidden few, needs to be propped up. That it will become a war for what's left of the oil. We're nearly there.
1) "a former intelligence official " quoted in http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,22510540-401,00.html?from=public_rss
2) Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/21/AR2007092102074_pf.html
3) Private Security Puts Diplomats, Military at Odds: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/25/AR2007092502675_pf.html
The dark truth about Blackwater: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/10/02/blackwater/
4) Naomi Klein asks Alan Greenspan about those missing billions in Iraq: http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/09/25/democracy-now-naomi-klein-asks-alan-greenspan-about-those-missing-billions-in-iraq/
5) The People vs. the Profiteers: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/11/halliburton200711?currentPage=1
6) Mit Romney, Republican Party presidential candidate, during a televised debate between Republican candidates in May 2007, said "Some people have said we ought to close Guantanamo. My view is we ought to double Guantanamo.". The suggestion was received to loud applause.
Thanks to BlackPawn, Gorgonzola, Kizor for proofreading.