Thursday, March 20, 2008

8 lessons of a dumb war, Iraq in this case

Five years in i am not sure how you completely get out. There are good reasons to want out. Yet i still believe we can't leave the place to collapse or even flounder for years till they completely get it together. Not many people these days really have any clear and viable plans to rap up Iraq, I don't know if one can. Most of the talk at the five year mark are on what went wrong. I have talked of my frustrations, the long term effects of Bush and the incompetence and mistakes before, moving on. Over a Slate there is no exception.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, Slate has asked a number of writers who originally supported the war to answer the question, "Why did we get it wrong?" We have invited contributions from the best-known "liberal hawks," many of whom participated in two previous Slate debates about the war, the first before it began in fall of 2002, the second in early 2004.
Looking at the "Why did we get it wrong?" page of course i went to the Hitchens page "How Did I Get Iraq Wrong? I didn't,". Didn't find it all that informative. Reading on there is this "Rather than bore you with the answer, here are lessons from the experience." I don't agree with all or most if it. it is however much more informative than the usual and usually insane anti-war talk i read.

1. Question authority: ok

2. Suspicion can become gullibility.
"He was so suspicious of Saddam that he bought—and spread—rumors, lies, and exaggerations about Iraqi WMD."
Not so sure about that, but point taken.

3. Beware mission creep.
"But if that was the rationale for going in, why disband the Iraqi army? Remaking Iraq was more than the offense justified and more than we could handle."
Yes it was more than was justified by the U.N. and the WMD reasoning. I would argue that the whole Iraqi dictatorship was in part are wholly our creation, a necessity of the Cold War. At the beginning of the current conflict we had a chance to fix our mistake and that should be more than enough to justify the "remaking of Iraq". "More than we could handle"? With the current administration it couldn't be handled efficiently and is unknowable now if it really is. In the end if it was we will fail if not it won't.

4. See new evil. :ok

5. Human nature at home is human nature abroad. :
This is a broad point that I agree with. However a general point does not apply to all cases. In some parts and different times in Iraq help was very much needed. Did we do it to often, yes. If we had set them up for success from the start this would be largely irrelevant to Iraq.

6. Judge the warrior.
"Eventually, I realized that the idea of nonpartisanship meant little next to the lethal reality of incompetence. Corn was right: You have to decide whether you trust the administration, not just the idea of the war. Other Republican administrations have passed that test. Not this one."
I agree. We are where we are. I don't think anyone can say that they know that Bush would be this incompetent before we went in. There we signs but they didn't point to it being this bad. It doesn't change where we are now.

7. Know your limits. : I agree it is a lesson, but i don't think it would works in the case of Iraq or if it even applies

8. Consider the opportunity cost.
"Countries that might have supported us in a strike on Iran won't do so now, since we led them astray. Our coffers have been emptied to pay for the Iraq occupation. Our troops are physically and spiritually exhausted. In the name of strength, Bush has made us weak."
I agree with this as well. Just don't think it is quite that bleak. The situation can't be changed under Bush but can under a new administration and quickly. Unless the next president goes around with "we're so sorry", "we were so wrong" or "well if you don't think we should" type of statements it will only get worse.

I have the hardest time with "judge the warrior". As true as it may be I can't pull support now because of that. Is food for thought as always.

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