Debate is like a living system, without input, without constant energy it stagnates and withers.
This is the case with the argument over Iraq.The bickering has gone too far. The motivations have gotten too muddy. The purpose has been lost, reinvented, spun, lost and reinvented again. The legal hairs can't be split much thinner. What should be the defining set of events for the times has become a money pit and a field for an ongoing partisan pissing match. The debate is rusting on the vine, devoid of new ideas, of intellectual nutrient.
In my ongoing tradition of offering Batshit Crazy Solutions to intractable political problems, if only to get the conversation moving, here's an idea for the future of the war.
Declare Iraq an official territory/colony of the United States. Let's make Iraq a fully functioning part of the U-S of A. We're going to be mired there for the next half century anyway so we should be honest about the stakes. If we're going to put ourselves in the business of nation building won't we be so much more dedicated if the nation is our own?
This would clear up the legal haze that surrounds much of the US's activity in Iraq. Can US contractors in Iraq be held accountable for misdeeds? Yes, because they are operating on American soil and subject to American law. Is torture an acceptable method of interrogation? No, because we would be interrogating American citizens. Do habeas corpus and other principles of American constitutional law apply? Yes, because Iraq is sovereign American territory.
This would have profound implications for our diplomatic relations in the region. Would Iran continue its supposed support of the insurgency if doing so were tantamount to fueling an armed rebellion in North America? Would Turkey bomb the Kurdish norther territories if doing so were equivalent to bombing Colorado or South Carolina? Would other nations in the region deign to posture against American interests if they knew we were willing to defend Iraq as sovereign territory? Would they even need to posture if they witnessed that level of commitment?
How quickly would the insurgency's will be broken if they knew that we had no intention of ever vacating the country? How long would opposition last if the disenfranchised of Iraq knew that they could play a part not only in the government of their own corner of the world but of the whole United States. How much more effective would the Iraqi regulars we train be if they came out of Paris Island and wore old glory on their shoulders? How long would the Sunni/Shiite pissing match go if Iraqi public schools taught English and instilled American ideals of diversity, tolerance and freedom of belief?
Most of you are cringing, muttering under your breath about how insane such a proposition is. I freely grant that it's not a very palatable idea but it is one firmly grounded in the reality of our foreign policy. Let's not be coy about our intentions in civilization's cradle. Military, business and intelligence interests in the United States have been pushing for a permanent presence in the middle east since before the second world war. We've threatened, purchased, bombed and propagandized our way into perpetual involvement in the region so let's go whole hog and quit dancing around the obfuscations of out petty and perfidious diplomacy.
So here's to an American Iraq. It wouldn't be easy. It wouldn't be fast. It would, however, be honest and decisive, two things that we have never before been in that part of the world.