Thursday, March 20, 2008


Happy Birthday Gulf War II

Cliff May at NRO has a no punches pulled critique of the Gulf War II for its fifth birthday. Money quotes:

[First we totally screwed the pooch for years during the occupation phase of the liberation. Then we switched to General Petraeus:]

The Petraeus strategy was nothing if not counterintuitive: He gave the enemy more targets and assigned them to more vulnerable positions — outside the well-guarded FOBs and in the shadowy streets. But once the Iraqis understood why the Americans were there — to defend them from terrorists — they provided a wealth of intelligence. Before long, Americans and Iraqis were fighting side by side against their common Islamist enemies.

That was historic. It should have been big news. But the media were not much interested. As one well-known reporter told me: “It doesn’t matter.” The important action, he said, was taking place not in Baghdad but in Washington, where politicians were reading the polls and finding Americans discouraged and ready to cut their losses.


One can say the invasion of Iraq was unwise. Before committing troops to battle, a president should have a realistic understanding of what can be achieved, in what time frame, and at what cost. One can say the occupation of Iraq was bungled.

What one can not say is that regime change in Iraq was unjustified: Not if you know Saddam’s record, his clearly stated intentions, and his ties to international terrorists — including, as a new Pentagon report reveals, a group headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, now al Qaeda’s second-in-command.

Good stuff.


"Before committing troops to battle, a president should have a realistic understanding of what can be achieved, in what time frame, and at what cost."

No one ever said Saddam was a good guy. What has bugged me all along is the claims of 6 months and $60 billion. I estimated $1 Trillion as early as 2004. Looks like I'm going to be right.

Of course the real point is not how bad Saddam was, but how good the future government will be. Will the upgrade be worth the cost.

We shall see.
A reasonable and helpful comment. The money doesn't bother me for no apparent reason. I disagree about Saddam versus pesent government. Despite the saying's troubled pedigree, sic semper tyrannis, I always say. We indeed shall see.

I think Mike has said in a few paragraphs what I have tired to say in multiple comments.

What I find most disheartening about most people who voice their opinion, one way or the other, is that few have an understanding of may be achieved b/c few are educated in the history and culture of Iraq.

I find your comments reasonable and helpful too, Tony, but a bit repetitive. You also seem so invested in the idea of Iraq as a failed state, you won't see the up trends here and there.
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