Jan 122007

Bannerman has deliberately allowed a day or so to pass before making any assessments on the Bush plan for American success in Iraq. He (Bannerman, not Bush) has drawn an analogy between the Bush plan, and an oft espoused roulette strategy called ‘Doubling’

‘Doubling’ requires that the gambler must back as many individual numbers – not red-black or odd-even – as he/she can afford, and double the size of their bet whenever a loss occurs. As the above linked site clearly states:

  1. Each bet at roulette has an expectation of -2/38 times the amount you bet;
  2. Betting more money on some bets just increases the negative expected value of those bets;
  3. Betting repeatedly adds up the negative expectations. There is no way a bunch of negative numbers can add up to a positive number, no matter how many you add;
  4. When you bet using a system that increases the size of your bets, you make it more likely that you will lose all your money sooner. That goes for this system and all its variants.

The thing with the Iraq question is this. Bush is betting with someone elses money. In 2008, he gets to walk away not owing anyone, anything. In fact, he’ll be making bucketloads on the lecture circuit, most likely. If anyone’s stupid enough to pay to listen to him.

The Bush plan. Surge ( gotta love the mental image adverbs) another 21,500 troops on the ground into Baghdad in the fervent and undoubtedly God-promised belief that insurgency, guerilla tactics and sectarian bloodshed will suddenly stop.

Iraq might…..might mind you, and that’s a HUGE ‘might’ from the Bannerman by the way….. be a democratic nation by some tenuous determinations, but that doesn’t remove from the simple and blindingly obvious fact that the country is literally tearing itself asunder internally. The US has some 130,000 troops in-country, give or take, with well over 15,000 in Baghdad itself. Will doubling the number in the capital really make any difference, other than inflaming the anti-foreign invader hatred already running rife?

Bannerman notices some real furphies in this so-called ‘plan’. Bush calls upon Iran and Syria to “play a constructive role”, yet flatly refuses to engage with those nations directly. Heaven forbid the U.S. be seen to be admitting even the slightest sense of failure by chatting with those who scorn it. Even if Iraqi lives, not to mention American lives, might be saved in the chatting.

Condy’s doing another taxpayer funded round of meet & greets in the Arab world, trying to drum up more support of Al Maliki’s mob. Bannerman hopes she has a nice time. The male Arab leaders aren’t likely to pay a whole lot of attention to a female U.S. government representative, so she might as well enjoy herself.

Bannerman notes a proposed easing of de-Baathification policies by the Iraqi government. On who’s say-so? Dubya’s? Bannerman is quite certain that’ll go down well with a government made up of those who Baathists formerly repressed with extreme prejudice. Although, if Nouri Al Maliki can ease off the death squads, maybe the Baathists in Syria can aid their Iraqi counterparts gain a better foothold and bring some stability to Iraq. It worked for twenty-odd years under Saddam, not that he was any great recommendation either.

Bannerman seriously doubts that sending another 21,500 young American lives into harms way will achieve anything conclusive in what has now become Twenty-First Century America’s Vietnam. Bombing the bejeezus out of Cambodia and Laos, flooding additional military assets into S.E.Asia and roping allies like Australia into the fray didn’t work in 1969. Re-Baathification, additional troops and claiming Al Qaeda has a base or bases in Iraq as an excuse won’t save any face for Bush any more than similar claims and tactics saved face for Nixon. One only needs read a timeline of Vietnam to see the parallels with Iraq. Those parallels weren’t so clear 24, or even 12 months ago, but they’re as clear as daylight today. Support for this illegal war has fallen away. A lunatic is in charge of the ideas book in Washington with the only saving grace being a potentially hostile Congress to stem the tide of Bush’s largesse.

Bannerman finds that the following sums up the current situation, and Bush’s response, quite succinctly.

“I think sending more troops is aimed more at solving the Americans’ problems in Iraq – the quagmire they’ve fallen into here – rather than helping the Iraqi people.” – ABBAS KHAFAJI, PLAYWRIGHT AND THEATRE DIRECTOR

Bush makes this claim in his speech.

“If the Iraqi government does not follow through on its promises, it will lose the support of the American people – and it will lose the support of the Iraqi people.”

Bannerman is willing to punt good money on the support of the ‘American people’ being pulled in January 2008, in concert with the end of the Bush administration. From that time onward, common-sense and rationality might have a chance of asserting themselves, depending, of course, on the mental capacity and political nouse of the successor to George Walker Bush.. Between then and now, more American lives will be lost to no good end. Iraq is a failure, just as Vietnam was a failure. Will American political hegemonists never learn?

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