Iraq: How bad will it be?

Rolling Stone convened a panel of experts and asked their opinions on what’s next for Iraq. The panel was comprised of:

  • Zbigniew Brzezinski – National security adviser to President Carter
  • Gen. Tony McPeak (Retired) – Member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Gulf War
  • Paul Pillar – Former lead counterterrorism analyst for the CIA
  • Richard Clarke – Counterterrorism czar from 1992-2003
  • Bob Graham – Former chair, Senate Intelligence Committee
  • Michael Scheuer – Former chief of the CIA’s Osama bin Laden unit; author of Imperial Hubris
  • Nir Rosen – Author of In the Belly of the Green Bird, about Iraq’s spiral into civil war
  • Chas Freeman – Ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War; president of the the Middle East Policy Council
  • Juan Cole – Professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan

In the article (Beyond Quagmire, written by Tim Dickin in the March 22, 2007 issue), they asked the panel members for: Best-Case Scenario; Most Likely Scenario; and Worst-Case Scenario.

For years we’ve been hearing “it’s gonna be really bad if we leave,” but I can’t recall anyone getting very specific about that. The Rolling Stone panel seemed to conclude it’s gonna be (is) a shit-story whether we stay or come home. But, finally, someone has provided an answer I can understand.

It’s too late for pounding the Bush administration but General McPeak concluded the article:

“This is a dark chapter in our history. Whatever else happens, our country’s international standing has been frittered away by people who don’t have the foggiest understanding of how the hell the world works. America has been conducting an experiment for the past six years, trying to validate the proposition that it really doesn’t make any difference who you elect president. Now we know the result of that experiment [laughs]. If a guy is stupid, it makes a big difference.”

That’s stinging for me because I was one of those smart-asses that thought/said it really didn’t make any difference who was in the White House. Now I know.

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