Monday, March 17, 2008


Hitchens On Iraq--5 Years On

Christopher Hitchens is, like a great many British subjects, an odd duck. There's no doubt he's brilliant and well educated. He is an unrepentant Trotskyite who happens to have traveled widely and had his eyes open and come to the right conclusions about the various monstrous regimes in the Middle East and Far East. (He can also do 40 minutes straight each on why Mother, soon to be Saint, Theresa and the Dalai Lama were and are terrible people). He has a good, short article over at Slate on what the war in Iraq has accomplished. He doesn't use the term Gulf War II, but he's thinking it. Hitchens also lists the good things from the war's resumption reader Tony has demanded these past years.


...incompetence doesn't condemn the enterprise wholesale. A much-wanted war criminal was put on public trial. The Kurdish and Shiite majority was rescued from the ever-present threat of a renewed genocide. A huge, hideous military and party apparatus, directed at internal repression and external aggression was (perhaps overhastily) dismantled. The largest wetlands in the region, habitat of the historic Marsh Arabs, have been largely recuperated. Huge fresh oilfields have been found, including in formerly oil free Sunni provinces, and some important initial investment in them made. Elections have been held, and the outline of a federal system has been proposed as the only alternative to a) a sectarian despotism and b) a sectarian partition and fragmentation. Not unimportantly, a battlefield defeat has been inflicted on al-Qaida and its surrogates, who (not without some Baathist collaboration) had hoped to constitute the successor regime in a failed state and an imploded society. Further afield, a perfectly defensible case can be made that the Syrian Baathists would not have evacuated Lebanon, nor would the Qaddafi gang have turned over Libya's (much higher than anticipated) stock of WMD if not for the ripple effect of the removal of the region's keystone dictatorship.

I think the battlefield defeat of al Qaeda and its surrogates is by far the most important and so important right thinking individuals cannot sit out the next election and allow the Democrats to snatch defeat from victory.



I am not sure if you are being fair to the rest of the odd ducks.

The issue is not whether the invasion of Iraq accomplished any good things. The issue is whether the costs of the invasion outweigh the benefits.

Given the deteriorated state of his petroleum infrastructure, would Qaddafi have ultimately rejoined the community of nations? Probably although I have allowed that his timing may have reflected an unintended consequence of the ivasion. As for Syria, that is a tenuous proposition.

So the marshes in southern Iraq are recuperating? Let us revisit that ecosystem in about 50 years.

The good news is that violence is back to 2005 levels. Not very much political reconciliation though, which is why we surged to begin w/. No oil legislation.

It may have been in Fareed Zacharias' column in the RMN today, but in the past few days I read that of Iraq's 34,000 doctors, 20,000 are no longer in country.

What huge fresh oil fields? Who has been doing exploration?

Al Qaeda has been defeated? I fail to recall Gen. Petraeus proclaiming "Mission Accomplished." We have inflicted defeats upon them but they are still present.

Please do not forget that AQM was non existent until the invasion.

Tony, I hate to have to twig you to this fact, but we won't be alive in 50 years. Let's stick with the now. And about the original question--no, the context may have been the cost of the good, but you kept demanding any good thing besides the big three dead. I can refer you back to your comments if you can't find them yourself. There is oil legislation contained in the budget they passed a few weeks ago. The rest of your points are a little nit picky. Regarding the defeat on the battlefield of al Qaeda, I'm not quoting Petraeus but the dead al Qaeda leaders themselves. Just as we knew after Midway the Japanese would lose, after Stalingrad the Nazis would lose, after Atlanta fell, the Rebs would lose, we know now that al Qaeda in Iraq will lose. It's not done yet, but its not in doubt, except for losers like Hillary Clinton who continues to say we can't win the war in Iraq. I'm so glad we're finished with her.
You are mistaken about AQM. It's not a dispute about the future, which is generally unknowable, or about which is good or best or most cost effective, it is merely a fact. It existed before liberation but it won't survive it.

AQM existed b/f the liberation in Iraq? I require so authority and not just the fact athat al Zarqawi was in Iraq erecovering from wounds and ahrrying the Kurds.

Check my comment today. Yes, the future is the unkown country, but that is no excuse to ignore history and the present.

You sound suspiciously like W himself. Faith based foreign policy. The result is what we hope, just ignore the facts.

Anyone who read history and studied Iraq would have or did give an opinion that the removal of Saddam Hussein would result in what Iraq is experiencing today: an irronciable political situation caused and exaccerbated by: sectariarism; ethnic differences; and outside aggitation.

Look, I am not a fan or supporter of Hillary, but the statement; "We can't win the war in in Iraq" is true on its face, unless you are limiting the concept of "war" to killing the bad guys. In that case, we can win the war but not the peace.

Yeah, I have to admit that when I use the word 'war' I mean 'war' and not 'peace.' Lord knows what Hillary actualy means when she uses many words. So Iraq, because of the mix of Sunni/Shia, Kurd and
Turcoman, etc., will, absent a tyrant, be doomed to a hot or cold civil war? What is it that the other similarly mixed nations around the gulf are doing that prevents such dire results? It couldn't be that their success is a faith based denial of an inconvenient fact on your part, could it? I'll post on AQM in the near future.
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