Heads, You Lose

Guest Post by Jim Kunstler

Obama Pushes Iraqis to Mend Sectarian Rifts

— Headline, The New York Times

Have they tried diversity training? I doubt it. That’s not how things are done in the Shithole Formerly Known as Iraq (SFKI). They’re headhunters now. For the moment the ISIS hasn’t had the inclination to shrink any of their trophies. Their method for preserving the memory of all that is the smart phone video of decapitation posted on the Internet. So let’s skip the part where both sides talk about their feelings.

It all happened pretty quickly last week, but in case you haven’t noticed, Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall over there. The bonehead American news media affects to be too stunned to even ask the pertinent questions, starting with: is that all it took to undo eight years and — what? — maybe two trillion dollars in US-sponsored nation-building? Oh, plus 4,000 US dead and 50,000 wounded. So, my question would be: when do the political recriminations kick in? Pretty soon, I reckon, and when they do, expect them to be fiercely perverse. The theme of who lost Iraq? may cost more than who lost Vietnam?

How perverse is the loose talk of Iran joining forces with “the Great Satan” to support the Shiite-dominated government of Nouri al-Maliki. Prediction: not going to happen. Events are moving so quickly that the ultimate nightmare scenario is at hand: the ISIS penetrates the “Green Zone” surrounding the US embassy in Baghdad. They take hostages and commence systematic decapitations of American personnel. This is not something I would like to happen, mind you. Just saying. And the thought must have loosened a few sphincters down at the US Department of State, too.

You can be sure that Obama will be blamed both for pulling out in 2011 and then not going back to war, to protect our two trillion dollar previous investment. I have to imagine that distrust for civilian control of the US military by a corps of rising officers will reach never-before-seen depths. It may not be expressed right away, but the knock-on effects of political breakdown in the Middle East could go long and far in upsetting US politics. The defeat of Eric Cantor is just the beginning of what could be the unraveling of the federal system.

The Iraq fiasco already threatens to spike oil prices way beyond the $107 level of today. That will crush whatever remains of the US economy all over again. God knows what it might do to the financialized Rube Goldberg shadow economy of counterparty booby traps that overlays an abyss of unpayable debt. You can’t squash price discovery forever, and one morning you might wake up to discover that the price of all those shenanigans was your political heritage.

Oh, one more thing: not much attention is being paid to Saudi Arabia, but note that it has been the chief sponsor of Sunni insurgency everywhere but Saudi Arabia itself, and that the genie they let out of that flask will probably come back and tear that country to shreds, especially in so far as King Abdullah at age 90 is a virtual mummy, and that many other clans besides the Saud tribe have designs on the throne (and its mighty revenue stream from oil production). Add to that inter-tribal tension the possibility of an ISIS-style insurgency in Saudi Arabia itself, with righteous Islamic puritan warriors drawn from all over the region, and you have quite the recipe for a global clusterfuck. Surely a lot of things would get broken in the event. Given all the jealousy and ill-feeling and toward Saudi Arabia, it is a wonder that over the last 30 years no mischief-makers have, for instance, blown up the Ras Tenura oil terminal on the Persian Gulf. That would put the schnitz on global oil supply lines on a world war scale.

For the moment, it is hard to see how anything can be salvaged in Iraq. The ISIS may cause enough havoc there to shut down Iraqi oil production forever. They can start World War III. They can inspire insurgencies across the whole Islamic world and beyond. The caliphate they establish will then have to figure out how to support a population twenty times as great as the region truly can support with a medieval economy. Sooner or later, they’ll be selling shrunken heads in the souks.


Coming in August
World Made By Hand 3

My local indie booksellers… Battenkill Books … or Northshire Books
or Amazon

9 thoughts on “Heads, You Lose”

  1. What is sooooo DAMN annoying is that ALL of us here, and anyone with half a brain —- which excludes politicians, talking heads, and probably Kunstler —- ABSOLUTELY KNEW that this is how it would turn out!!

    And now we have to listen to the same pundits wringing their hands, over-analyzing, and shouting from the rooftops, “Woe! Woe is me! Woe unto Amerika!!”.

    Well, smarty-pants …. WTF did you think would happen???

  2. I have been perusing Kunstler’s archives.

    In his defense, he has always been against the Iraq (and, Afghanistan) wars for some of the stated reasons, specifically, that Saddam had WMD’s, and the whole bring them “freedom” routine. He mocked these concepts with extreme vigor.

    However, he was FOR the war, in terms of securing Da Oil!! Yes, he was. Various quotes in the next post.

  3. Iraq was “quiet” for years. Benign neglect on the part of Obama, incompetence run rampant. Then Obama, Hillary and Kerry changed sides, and start supplying Al Qaeda with arms, cash and training, in Libya and Syria, and all of a sudden everything blows up. It’s pretty clear what happened, and the blame can be laid directly at Obama’s feat. He destroyed any stability in the region by supply Al Qaeda for his continued campaign to overthrow sovereign governments (including Ukraine, Libya, Egypt, and Syria). Obama pissed away a decade and thousands of lives wasted in Iraq, but he dropped the ball, or worse, he’s responsible for what is happening, and what will happen. Obama will never be satisfied until the entire world is on fire.

    1. Iraq was not quiet for years.

      There have been bombs going off in Iraq on a weekly basis ever since we hit the road.

      It’s been in a religious based civil war since the day we declared Mission Accomplished.

      None of this would be happening if Bush hadn’t invaded.

      Obama is to blame for the arming of these jihadists, but Bush and the Rethuglicans are responsible for breaking Iraq in the 1st place.

  4. To whomever ……… thanks for the VERY quick thumbs down. Kunstler’s mom, maybe? You might want to reconsider.

    Kunstler = War For Oil? I report, you decide.

    ==================================== =

    “One young zealot with a grenade in Saudi Arabia could put an end to a quarter of America’s oil imports and pretty much send the US economy into the toilet.” ———— Oct 2001

    “Under the circumstances, events may easily ramp out of control. If the Saudi kingdom crumbles, we will have a very hard time controlling the infrastructure of oil there — the wellheads, pipelines, and terminal facilities. There will certainly be no shortage of saboteurs, and there are not enough American soldiers to guard it all, let alone control the territory of the whole Arabian peninsula. Got knows where that may lead, but most likely to badly disrupted world oil markets.” ——– Nov 2001

    “The War in Iraq has probably gone better than most of us expected. …. Meanwhile, the anti-war political Left begins to look foolish and discredited. The answer to their perpetual slogan, War is Not the Solution — grow up. SOMETIMES WAR IS THE SOLUTION.” ——- April 2003, emphasis mine

    “We’ve tried to be extraordinarily careful and considerate of the Iraqi civilians and their property in flushing out the Saddamite administration. We’re pulling out the stops trying to restore their electricity, water, and police services. Under a US military occupation, they’ve got the fairest shot at setting up a decent government that they will ever get. All this is heartwarming.” —– April 2003

    “A nation of people devoted to a car-dependent, oil-addicted lifestyle — namely, US — has to be responsible for the fact THAT THE SECURITY OF THE MIDDLE EAST IS DIRECTLY IN OUR INTEREST” —— July 2003, emphasis mine

    “I hate to introduce this hoary old idea, but I believe it is true: AN AMERICAN WITHDRAWAL WILL BE INTERPRETED AS A SIGN OF WEAKNESS by aggressive enemies (and we do have enemies). If the US diminishes or gives up its military presence in the Middle East, it may only be a matter of time before we lose access to two-thirds of the world’s remaining oil supplies that happen to be located there.” ————- July, 2005, emphasis mine

  5. ISIS_NASA_Muslim_Outreach_Iraq.jpg

    Blood-thirsty ISIS militants thank Obama, and bought him a round of golf over the weekend, with a card saying “we couldn’t have done it without you, thank you for supporting Jihad, all the cash and weapons, you’re a peach”

    And further, The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS): “Thank you, President Obama, for boosting our self-esteem through taxpayer-funded programs!”

  6. Kunstler’s work in the early 2000s is largely filled with a blanket faith in the good intentions of the U.S. in its actions in the world. How weird is that??? In article after article he believes the USA will never partake in criminal, rapacious conduct. He talks about a vast gulf between “us” and “them” —- the various rogues of this world —- and the difference is total. THEY act as a criminal cartel, WE rarely, if ever do …. in fact, it’s against our nature. Those are HIS words, so why the thumbs down?

    The (old?) Kunstler narrative;

    Amurika leads a horribly wasteful and frivolous lifestyle. Nevertheless, we need the oil. The places which have this oil under their land are led by sonsabitches. But we would never just take the oil. That’s un-American. Our only magnanimous interest is an orderly market for oil, for all countries equally … and, oh, yeah, the price better be in US dollahs, or else. We don’t wanna go to war … but we gotta. Cuz of the bad guys … who wanna place an irrational choke-hold on our access to oil ….. and sometimes wanna terrorize us just for the helluvit.

    In short, Uncle Schmuel is simply bringing Trust, Justice, and the American Way …. errr, “reasonableness” to a violent, unreasonable Bizarro world.

    Isn’t that the definition of a neocon?


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You can add images to your comment by clicking here.