It feels a bit odd to "recommend" something that will make you want to slit your wrists, but those of you with the intestinal fortitude should check out this Rolling Stone expert roundtable on the Iraq War endgame. It’s … grim.

Suffice to say — and I think Tom’s said as much on this blog before — it’s a little strange that we’re living through an American foreign policy disaster of unfathomable proportions, yet the country is completely unradicalized. It could barely bring itself to turn over Congress last year.

Even if the war were to end today, it would go down in history as one of the biggest cockups in American history. But it’s not over, and there are a whole panoply of ways in which it could get much, much worse.

Anyway, this exchange was of particular interest:

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Not to be crass, but what does that kind of conflict do to the global oil supply?

Juan Cole: During the war between Iraq and Iran, Saddam and Khomeini didn’t destroy each other’s oil-producing capabilities, because they knew it would make each of them a Fourth World country. But if you get a big multicountry guerrilla war, guerrillas could do what they’ve been doing in northern Iraq: Hit the oil pipelines. Guerrillas aren’t calculating it the way states are as far as mutually assured destruction. If you got pipeline sabotage in Iran and Saudi Arabia and southern Iraq, you could take twelve percent of the world’s petroleum production off the market. That looks like the second Great Depression.

Gen. Tony McPeak: 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.

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