This was the game box on which I was raised–most underrated/favorite game (Battle of Olympus). For those of you remember this bad boy prior to the great takeoff of video consoles, recall the reset button.
You hit it and it reset. Except if you held it in (and kept holding it in) in which case the screen went white and stayed so.
The US hit the reset button on Iraq. The Iraqi state, Iraq as a country was reset and is effectively gone. The US with the surge strategy particularly but with the occupation more generally is simply holding its finger on the reset button.
Politically. In terms of an end game/new equilibrium post-Saddam. The screen is simply white.
The destruction of the Iraqi police state under Saddam left a vacuum. Nature would like to see that vacuum filled. To add a second analogy. The existence of 150,000 or so troops in Iraq acts as a block or sealant around the vacuum. It itself doesn’t fill the vacuum but effectively prevents anyone from filling it either.
So when the news is that violence is down that is because no one is able to move into the vacuum and try to rejigger the system and gain political power. The country formerly known as Iraq is know simply run by warlords, militias, and fiefdoms. The Prime Minister and his crew being just one warlord among many. Just our warlord I suppose.
No doubt the sealant prevents violence because the characters would otherwise bum rush the vacuum would certainly come in Wild West Style guns blazing in all directions.
McCain to return to the original analogy is simply a continuation of holding his finger on the reset button keeping the country in a state of suspended political animation. It no doubt would help certain of the militias/warlords to relatively strengthen their position but not to any degree of lasting stability I would bet. Any government created via the US occupation is unsustainable and will not win the popularity of the people. It may become a de facto new dictatorship/strongman which is the only way the country known as Iraq (minus a federalization system) can be patched back together seems to me.
Obama will take his finger off the button. What will happen on the far side of the reset is anyone’s guess. Sometimes you will recall the game still didn’t come back on, other times it would and quickly freeze up, or play with lines running down/across the screen.
But for McCain since victory is defined solely in terms of military battles/casualties (theirs up, ours down) this isn’t an issue. The political is not an issue for him in Iraq. It’s a perfect closed-system and his crowd. They stay forever always winning battles (which the US army is going to do) and therefore victory is just within reach–never mind that victory in battles has nothing to do with political achievement/stability, has not this entire war and will not with a US occupation (see above). If Obama wins and lets his finger off the reset, undoubtedly some hell will be released and then McCain & Co. can blame the “loss” on the defeatist Democrats. In a war they (the Republicans) started and have never understood.
But no one knows what will happen on the far side of the finger being released–even slightly. There are guesses, some apocalyptic, some best case (me, somewhere in between but leaning more towards conflagration), but nobody knows.