Dec 15, 2011

The Iraq war is over (not really)

Jonathan Bernstein strains mightily for optimism:
And, as it turns out, the decision to leave casts quite a bit of light on how Madisonian democracy works in the US, both for good and for bad. It’s a story in which the ocean liner metaphor people use was absolutely apt. It took a whole lot of pushing, but this certainly appears to be the case in which citizen action, working through a political party, ended a war.
I suppose this is basically true, but to me it really emphasizes how much the American system of government sucks. After Bush lied us into war, which ignited a disastrous bloody catastrophe in which thousands of American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died to no benefit whatsoever, we finally get to end the damn thing nearly nine years in—three years into a Democratic presidency.

Bernstein seems to think this means the system is working. I'd say it means the system is close to failure, and we are increasingly incapable of confronting even the most obvious challenges. If we take nine years to end a crisis of that magnitude, imagine what other, slightly less-visible calamities are slowly building to a boil. It's no mystery to me why we need $2 trillion in infrastructure spending right now and aren't going to get it.

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