Delusional politicians – Bernard Jenkin
Bernard Jenkin MP poses on his web site
Is Bernard Jenkin MP the stupidest politician in the House of Commons? The competition is stiff. But his candidature is strengthened by the article currently appearing on his website titled Three Days in Iraq, reprised in a letter to The Economist.
“The present debate in London and Washington threatens to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory,” says Jenkin, on the basis of his 72 hours of daring first-hand observation.
Jaws of victory?
Quoth Jenkin: “We must clear away the fog generated by the original 2003 decision to invade Iraq. [Jenkin was an enthusiast.] Victory means handing over to a national government able to keep al-Qaeda down and Iran out with reducing coalition support. I can testify that this is achievable. ”
This is psychotic.
Jenkin claims (without citing the slightest evidence) that, “Defeat – to withdraw in a hurry – will surely mean not only greater carnage than we have yet seen and a massive strategic victory to Iran in the south and to al-Qaeda in the centre of the country – a far greater humiliation than Suez for the British or Vietnam for the US. This would be disastrous for global security – and for our own? Iraq may not have been about al-Qaeda when we went in but it certainly is now.”
Where to begin deconstructing this tissue of delusion? Well, one could note that in the south of Iraq, the British military has already been defeated, having impotently watched Shiite religious parties create a de facto Islamic state. The British army is irrelevent, except to provide target practice for militias and briefings for visiting half-wits from London like Bernard Jenkin.
One could observe that Kurdistan is de facto an independent state. That the central government in Baghdad cowering in the Green Zone has essentially no political authority. That by no metric has the original war aim been achieved. Nor will it be. That it is too late to keep Iran out of the south. And that to propose that this war is about al-Qaeda is literally bonkers.
Authority, of course, is what Jenkin completely lacks.
Unlike Jenkin, whose qualifications to pronouce on the geo-politics of Iraq are non-existant, Peter Galbraith has spent much of the past 20 years working on the problems of Iraq, has been there a dozen times since 2003 and does not rely for his information on MoD scripts.
Galbraith is described by Max Hastings as knowing “maybe five million per cent more than any member of the Bush administration” about Iraq and he certainly knows at least this much more than the hare-brained Jenkin.
In the current New York Review of Books, Galbraith says:
The Iraq war is lost. Of course, neither the President nor the war’s intellectual architects are prepared to admit this. Nonetheless, the specter of defeat shapes their thinking in telling ways.
The case for the war is no longer defined by the benefits of winning—a stable Iraq, democracy on the march in the Middle East, the collapse of the evil Iranian and Syrian regimes—but by the consequences of defeat. As President Bush put it, “The consequences of failure in Iraq would be death and destruction in the Middle East and here in America.”
Tellingly, the Iraq war’s intellectual boosters, while insisting the surge is working, are moving to assign blame for defeat. And they have already picked their target: the American people. In The Weekly Standard, Tom Donnelly, a fellow at the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute, wrote, “Those who believe the war is already lost—call it the Clinton-Lugar axis—are mounting a surge of their own. Ground won in Iraq becomes ground lost at home.” Lugar provoked Donnelly’s anger by noting that the American people had lost confidence in Bush’s Iraq strategy as demonstrated by the Democratic takeover of both houses of Congress. (This “blame the American people” approach has, through repetition, almost become the accepted explanation for the outcome in Vietnam, attributing defeat to a loss of public support and not to fifteen years of military failure.)
Indeed, Vietnam is the image many Americans have of defeat in Iraq. Al-Qaeda would overrun the Green Zone and the last Americans would evacuate from the rooftop of the still unfinished largest embassy in the world. President Bush feeds on this imagery. In his May 5, 2007, radio address to the nation, he explained:
If radicals and terrorists emerge from this battle with control of Iraq, they would have control of a nation with massive oil reserves, which they could use to fund their dangerous ambitions and spread their influence. The al Qaeda terrorists who behead captives or order suicide bombings would not be satisfied to see America defeated and gone from Iraq. They would be emboldened by their victory, protected by their new sanctuary, eager to impose their hateful vision on surrounding countries, and eager to harm Americans.
But there will be no Saigon moment in Iraq. Iraq’s Shiite-led government is in no danger of losing the civil war to al-Qaeda, or a more inclusive Sunni front. Iraq’s Shiites are three times as numerous as Iraq’s Sunni Arabs; they dominate Iraq’s military and police and have a powerful ally in neighboring Iran. The Arab states that might support the Sunnis are small, far away (vast deserts separate the inhabited parts of Jordan and Saudi Arabia from the main Iraqi population centers), and can only provide money, something the insurgency has in great amounts already.
Iraq after an American defeat will look very much like Iraq today—a land divided along ethnic lines into Arab and Kurdish states with a civil war being fought within its Arab part. Defeat is defined by America’s failure to accomplish its objective of a self-sustaining, democratic, and unified Iraq. And that failure has already taken place, along with the increase of Iranian power in the region.
In a parliament of dunces, Bernard Jenkin is an outstanding example of stupidity and ignorance. His talk of jaws of victory is, quite literally, mad. In proposing that the debate in Washington and London threatens to snatch his fantasy victory from its jaws, Jenkin follows the Bush script exactly. Who to blame for this disaster? Certainly not the knaves like Jenkin who voted for this war, and continue to promote it. Instead, it is to be the fault of those who dare to question and debate it!
More evidence that Jenkin is bonkers here.