Tom Hayden: Will a Democratic president really pull out of Iraq? (3 of 3)
TOM HAYDEN, ACTIVIST AND AUTHOR: Following the British, all of our wars pit native people against native people for resources and for control. So here’s one where there was no civil war in Iraq before we entered. Now it’s inflamed to some sort of civil war or sectarian strife, and it’s being contained by the presence of large numbers of American combat troops. If you don’t decide to get out, then you’re always going to be playing off tribe against tribe forever, and there’s going to be less bleeding, but slow bleeding one generation to the next. Or you say, “We’re going to get out.” The obstacle to getting out is the potential of things getting worse. So you need to talk to the people in the resistance movements, which we do already, secretly, and you need to talk to Iran. You need to offer Iran security instead of regime change, in exchange for Iran trying to moderate through its influence, indirect influence, the Shia militias that belong to the Shia majority to make it possible for the United States to leave with some semblance of honor and dignity. And we’re doing the opposite. We’re trying to inflame relations with Iran, and nobody’s decided to get out. All they’ve decided to do is shift to a longer war. I know it seems totally puzzling, because there is another side to it. American opinion wants this war over, which is great. Great. How Americans got to that conclusion one can only guess, but it’s amazing. But they’re not being informed about what pulling the troops out means, what peace means. And when they learn, if we do our job, saying, “Look, this is going to be a fake peace, it’s going to be a partial peace. It’s going to be a lot of blood. It’s going to go on. Billions of dollars that could go to health care. Americans are going to have their throats cut in the middle of sectarian violence.” But for the neocons, it’s a multi-front war: kill everybody in Hamas, crush Gaza, stay the course in Iraq, crush the Taliban in Afghanistan, invade Pakistan, and destroy the sanctuaries. And God knows what else is on their list. But you’re talking there about a 25- to 50-year combat scenario, special forces scenario, which in my opinion, you know, might be arguable if there was victory in sight, but I think that, without attributing motivations, it’s the very plan that will keep the military-industrial complex in business for the rest of your life, because there’s nothing like American forces going into sovereign countries to ignite the population, and a certain percentage of the population then becomes “terrorists.”
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