Monday, March 17, 2008
Hitchens On Iraq--5 Years On
...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.
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.
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.