by user Hootsbuddy
"It is also time for the Congress to assert itself."
That was the last line in the testimony of Zbegniew Brzezinski (PDF) when he testified to Congress a few weeks ago. It looks as though enough members of the House got the message to send the appropriations bill to the President mandating a withdrawal of US forces by next year. In typical political fashion, of course, lots of our public servants had to be bribed into compliance by larding the bill up with enough pork to supply Campbell's beans for the next two generations, but in the end they did what they had to do.
It's been a while since I looked at the CSIS website. Before my regular morning reading today I found this piece of the puzzle. I noticed that Sam Nunn is also Chairman of the outfit, whose membership roll reads like a Who's Who of experts in international relations. Brzezinski's statement is noteworthy for it's clarity. He's not being ugly, just precise, when he opens with the following remarks..
It is time for the White House to come to terms with two central realities:
1. The war in Iraq is a historic, strategic, and moral calamity. Undertaken under false assumptions, it is undermining America’s global legitimacy. Its collateral civilian casualties as well as some abuses are tarnishing America’s moral credentials. Driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability.
2. Only a political strategy that is historically relevant rather than reminiscent of colonial tutelage can provide the needed framework for a tolerable resolution of both the war in Iraq and the intensifying regional tensions.''
He comes quickly to the point next, saying "If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large. A plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran involves Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks; followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure; then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a 'defensive' U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."
His statement is only five pages long, ending with the line heading this post, and in that short space he lays out the falacies and pitfalls that official policies have both caused and fallen into, warning that without a meaningful change of direction the future is apt to be worse than the recent past.