Thursday, March 23, 2006

Iraq - 3 articles

Real Clear Politics has three articles up today on the Iraq war written by, respectively, Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, and Sheila Kennedy. Because I'm cranky, I'll start with the worst of the lot.

Kennedy starts her article with this leftist template:
Some wars, regrettably, are necessary. Iraq was not such a war. It was a war of choice, impelled by ideology and sold to Americans (wittingly or unwittingly) under false pretenses. Worse yet, it was justified by appealing to our fears -- fears of "the other," fears of terrorism, fears of impotence.
Okay, let's play spot the tired cliches. We've got 1)war of choice, 2)this is a war of ideology, 3)the "selling" of the the war to the public through 4)"false pretenses," and 5)the playing upon of fears of the American people.

Now, at this point it's almost fruitless to continue because we're obviously dealing with an intellectually lazy individual. But let's continue to spot the misguided innuendos and outright misrepresentations.
It's obvious that none of the decision-makers in the Bush administration had bothered to learn what the region's history had to teach.
Really? it's obvious that this is a fact? Do you mean that former National Security Adviser and current Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, a woman of the keenest intellect and who possess more foreign policy knowledge than, say, Sheila Kennedy, completely refused to learn anything about the history of the region or its culture? So Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and others just sort of looked at a globe, said, "gee, that looks like a good spot to invade. Lets," and went on their merry way.?

We sent courageous and patriotic young Americans into a quagmire
How exactly do you send troops into a quagmire? Don't the troops themselves have to create the quagmire? Is Iraq arabic for quagmire, and I'm just not aware of this?
And thanks to criminally misplaced priorities, we sent them there without proper equipment and supplies. There has been plenty of money for Halliburton and other contractors, but not enough for bulletproof vests or Hummer armor.
I won't even address this because it's just too silly to be considered, but I have a simple question: does anyone reading this really believe that Sheila Kennedy even know what Haliburton is or does? Exactly.

Government experts wrote memos that warned about these dangers and many others in great detail. The administration was warned about precisely what has happened, just as it was warned that Hurricane Katrina could cause the dykes to fail.
You see, Sheila, when you write a sentence like that last one you lose all credibility. As was reported by many sources, there was a significant difference between what Bush was told might happen with the levies and what actually did happen. The levies were breached, but Bush was told they could be topped, which is a completely different thing. But I'm sure you knew that, just like you know that Haliburton is a company of some kind that does something with like energy or oil or whatever it is you think they do.
Our crumbling roads, our impoverished urban school systems, our embarrassing national health care system and our neglected national parks all could have benefited from the nearly $1 trillion his foolhardy, unnecessary and arrogant unilateralism has cost us.
Yeah, I'm always complaining about those dirt roads I'm driving on. We sure could use, like a trillion dollars to fix our ever deteriorating roads. And obviously our schools are underfunded. Why, how can we expect school kids in DC to learn when we're only spending around $10,000 per student? It's just such a bankrupt system.

I wonder if Ms. Jackson would have complained about liberating Europe during the 1940's because we were ignoring the all the poor people suffering the effects of the Great Depression.

We are less safe than we were; Iraq was not a sanctuary for terrorists before the war, but it is now.
Once again, this is just an out and out lie, but again I guess we shouldn't expect Ms. jackson to, you know, do any research whatsoever. She has important columns to write for the Indianapolis Star.
Our standing in the world community has never been lower. Our citizens are angrier and more polarized than ever. And worst of all, our belief in our own inherent goodness -- the belief that America is not an aggressor nation -- has been profoundly shaken.
This is just purely meaningless fluffery. We're more polarized now than we've ever been? Honey, ever heard of a thing called the civil war?

But you know what's most frightening about this drivel: the byline.

Kennedy is associate professor of law and public policy at the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs in Indianapolis.
There's a reason I decided not to go to law school.

Now, onto columnists who actually possess innate intelligence. Jonah Goldberg tackles some of the administration's real problems, including its refusal to acknowledge that it was right to invade after all:
But what these documents — as well as other after-action intelligence gathering — demonstrate is that given what he knew at the time, George W. Bush was right to invade Iraq. We now know that the CIA bureaucracy was simply wrong to insist that "secular" Iraq would never work with Islamist terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and Abu Sayyaf. We know that Iraq harbored and very likely supported Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the suspected bomb makers involved in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993.

According to the Pentagon's definitive postmortem on the invasion, some of which was leaked to the New York Times, even many Iraqi generals were stunned to discover that Hussein didn't have WMD. Hussein practiced a strategy that one Republican Guard commander called "deterrence by doubt," in which he hoped to bluff the world into believing he had WMD in order to deter Iran and keep his rep as an Arab strongman with serious mojo.

And that's the point Thomas et al don't want to understand. For reasons that still baffle me, the WMD threat — never the sole reason to invade Iraq — not only became the only argument, it became a thoroughly legalistic one, as if foreign policy has rules of evidence and procedural due process. After 9/11, that kind of foreign policy by lawyers looked ridiculous, and rightly so.

The fact that Hussein turned out to be bluffing about WMD isn't a mark against Bush's decision. If you're a cop and a man pulls out a gun and points it at you, you're within your rights to shoot him, particularly if the man in question is a known criminal who's shot people before. If it turns out afterward that the gun wasn't loaded, that's not the cop's fault.
Mark Steyn doesn't even want to hear about the WMD (and I agree). That's not why he (or I) supported the war. Simply put, containment was not working.
That's easy for him to say, and committing other countries' armies to "contain" Iraq is easy for him to do. A quarter million soldiers cannot sit in the sands of Araby twiddling their thumbs indefinitely. "Containment" is not a strategy but the absence of strategy - and thug states understand it as such. In Saddam's case, he'd supposedly been "contained" since the first Gulf War in 1991, when Bush Sr. balked at finishing what he'd started. "Mr. President," Joe Biden, the Democrat Senator and beloved comic figure, condescendingly explained to Bush Jr. in 2002, "there is a reason your father stopped and did not go to Baghdad. The reason he stopped is he didn't want to be there for five years."

By my math, that means the Americans would have been out in spring of 1996. Instead, 12 years on, in the spring of 2003 the USAF and RAF were still policing the no-fly zone, ineffectually bombing Iraq every other week. And, in place of congratulations for their brilliant "containment" of Saddam, Washington was blamed for UN sanctions and systematically starving to death a million Iraqi kids - or two million, according to which "humanitarian" agency you believe. The few Iraqi moppets who weren't deceased suffered, according to the Nobel-winning playwright and thinker Harold Pinter, from missing genitals and/or rectums that leaked blood contaminated by depleted uranium from Anglo-American ordnance. Touring Iraq a few weeks after the war, I made a point of stopping in every hospital and enquiring about this pandemic of genital-less Iraqis: not a single doctor or nurse had heard about it. Whether or not BUSH LIED!! PEOPLE DIED!!!, it seems that THE ANTI-WAR CROWDS SQUEAK!!! BUT NO RECTUMS LEAK!!!!
And he gets to why we needed to invade Iraq:
So three years on, unlike Francis Fukuyama and the other moulting hawks, my only regret is that America didn't invade earlier. Yeah yeah, you sneer, what about the only WMD? Sorry. Don't care. Never did. My argument for whacking Saddam was always that the price of leaving him unwhacked was too high. He was the preeminent symbol of the September 10th world; his continuation in office testified to America's lack of will, and was seen as such by, among others, Osama bin Laden: In Donald Rumsfeld's words, weakness is a provocation. So the immediate objective was to show neighboring thugs that the price of catching America's eye was too high. The long term strategic goal was to begin the difficult but necessary transformation of the region that the British funked when they cobbled together the modern Middle East in 1922.
But don't tell that to Sheila Kennedy. She knows the truth. We invaded Iraq to help Haliburton acquire more steel for its car manufacturing.

Cross posted at the Cranky Conservative


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