Between Iraq and a Hard Place

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Uncategorized
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BOB BURNHAM, host: Welcome to this week’s Moron Quotient. I’m your host, Bob Burnham. On Friday, October 21, President Barack Obama announced that all remaining U.S. troops will return home from Iraq by the end of the year. After the nearly 40,000 American casualties—5,000 dead and over 32,000 wounded—hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed or wounded, and millions more displaced, the United States finally ends an eight-year war, leaving behind a more stable and secure Iraq.

Or does it? Joining me today to talk about the American withdrawal from Iraq and its implications is our strategic analyst, Cap’n Horatio Crunch. Cap’n, welcome to the Moron Quotient.

CAP’N HORATIO CRUNCH, strategic analyst: Thank you for having me.

BOB: Also joining the conversation, from our Panel of Morons, is Ben D. Over of WCRP radio, and Professor Stewart Gumbie, whose new book, Brand Manager: The Marketing of Self-Identity. Ben, Professor, welcome to the Moron Quotient.

BEN D. OVER, syndicated radio talk-show host: Bob.

PROFESSOR STEWIE GUMBIE, BS, MS, FOS, NCCM, ETC.,: Thanks for having me back.

BOB: Cap’n Crunch, let me start asking the obvious question. Is this withdrawal the right thing to do?

CAP’N CRUNCH: Well, let me begin by–

OVER: I’ll answer that. Of course it was the wrong thing to do. It’s an absolute disaster, a precipitous retreat in front of an enemy who wants to destroy us!

BOB: Please, Ben, I believe the question was directed towards the Cap’n.

CAP’N CRUNCH: The United States has to be very prudent. The Sogmaster is always trying to make breakfast a soggie mess; that is why my cereal has crunch power that locks taste in so it’s tough to sog out. In a similar manner, a residual force would act just like my crunch power.

BOB: But the American people are tired of war. The Iraqi people are tired of war. We went in under false pretenses—the existence of WMDs and the alleged link to al-Qaeda. Can’t the argument be made that we have done all that we can do, and that it is now to come home?

OVER: Bob, don’t be duped by this Administration’s propaganda. The President is fulfilling a campaign promise, nothing more. Obama is either utterly and hopelessly incompetent, or he is secretly harboring such deep-seated Kenyan anti-colonial sympathies that he is willing to help our mortal enemy!

BOB: I’m not really sure what “Kenyan anti-colonial sympathies” means. Professor Gumbie?

GUMBIE: I think there is another factor to consider here as well. We have to consider our brand. Foreign policy is nothing more than a national marketing campaign. Now, the Bush Administration instituted something that I refer to in my new book, Brand Manager, as an aggressive branding campaign. By abandoning that campaign too soon, we risk diluting our national brand.

CAP’N CRUNCH: Regarding the WMDs, that is a legacy of this war that will always stick with it, like crunch sticks with my my Cap’n Crunch cereal. You can’t get away from the crunch, because the crunch always gives you away! It was a mistake to go into Iraq. But is it prudent to leave now?

BOB: In both Iraq, however, and in the United States, the people seem OK with this decision. The Iraqi’s clearly don’t want us there. Polls show that the vast majority of the American people favor the withdrawal, as do many of the rank and file service men and women who served.

OVER: It’s called leadership, Bob. Polls should not dictate national security. Soldiers follow orders, not give them. And why should we give the Iraqi’s a veto over our security?

GUMBIE: That does not fit the American brand image at all.

OVER: It was Obama’s job to end this well. Once again, he failed. And who wins? The Iranians.

BOB: But is the Iranian issue a red herring? The real issues that affect Iraq—the Kurdish issue, oil revenues, and the lack of basic services—how can these issues be solved? We didn’t solve them with 100,000 troops; they weren’t solved with 40,000. Why would another 3, 5, or 10,000 troops be expected to accomplish this?

OVER: What a stupid question and you are stupid for asking it! We need to keep troops in Iraq so we can exercise the military option, if we need to. Not in Bahrain, not in Kuwait, not in Saudi Arabia, but in Iraq!

BOB: But are we too reliant on the “kinetic” option; that is, are we too quick to use military force to pursue and defend our interests? And, if that is the case, what does that say about our interests if they can only be defended or promoted by force.

GUMBIE: As I said, it’s about maintaining a consistent brand image.

CAP’N CRUNCH: You have to a multi-dimensional approach, and you are correct, the United States is becoming too one-dimensional. That is why my Cap’n Crunch is made with corn and oats—Corn gives it crunch, and oats gives it punch!

BOB: We will have to end the conversation here. Thank you, Cap’n Crunch, for your time.

CAP’N CRUNCH: The pleasure was all mine. Don’t forget to make Cap’n Crunch a crunchy part of a balanced breakfast!

BOB: And, as always, special thanks to our panelists, Ben Over and Professor Gumbie.

OVER: May God forget that you are my countryman.

GUMBIE: Thanks for having me, Bob.

BOB: Thank you for joining the Moron Quotient today. And may you continue to be blessed with peace and goodness as we try to create a more just and fraternal society based on love and solidarity!


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