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It looks like this Minuteman thing is going to serve as the pretext for getting out of Iraq. Clearly, the Iraq war is lost and Bush will have to, as they say, “declare a victory and leave” before the mid-term elections. He will claim that the situation has stabilized, that Iraq is safe for democracy etc., and, of course, the Iraqis will play along with this, since about the only thing that unites them is their fervent desire to wish the last American soldier “God speed”.
The National Guard is “needed” on the border and as Governor Terminator says, if America can afford the war in Iraq (which, of course, it can’t!), it can afford to patrol its borders. Of course, it cannot do both, and everybody knows that, but nobody will be churlish enough to say so! Moreover, more young Americans may be willing to join the Guard if all it involves is, say, a month’s full-time service per year harassing the ever-polite Canadians or pushing Mexicans around. Indeed, a Swiss-style “draft”, making such service compulsory, could probably be introduced without too much opposition.
I have always believed that the psychological reaction to defeat in Iraq of Americans, still traumatized by the defeat in Vietnam, would be to withdraw into the homeland and circle the wagons. That, in fact, will be a blessing for everybody: for us in the rest of the world, who are thoroughly sick and fed up with American meddling, both public and private, in our affairs, and for Americans, who will then be able to get on with the job of taking back their country from the crazies and re-building it on a sound basis.
I also saw in the BBC website the other day a report that some conservative groups are starting to attack the gas-guzzling SUVs that Americans are so fond of on the basis that America’s profligate ways are making the US dependant on foreign oil and that should be corrected. Clearly, even the crazies are starting to realize that they’re crazy!
A final point. The EU official in me reads about this “Northern Wall” and says “Whatever happened to NAFTA?” You couldn’t build a wall between EU Member States, nor, indeed, have a system of work permits. All of this seems to amount to a tacit admission that NAFTA has failed and will now be quietly buried, although, here again, nobody will say that out loud.