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The Iraq War: One Big Fiasco,
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This review is from: Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2003 to 2005 (Paperback)
will admit that, in the beginning, I supported the War in Iraq. Saddam Hussein had demonstrated himself to be an enemy of freedom when he invaded Kuwait without provocation in 1990, he'd used chemical weapons against both Iranians and his own countrymen, and, at least as presented by the people who are supposed to know such things, it seemed pretty conclusive that in 2002-03, he was trying to develop WMD's once again.
Then, reality set in.
The initial invasion itself was a stunning success, but things quickly unraveled after that.
Washington Post reporter Thomas Ricks, in his book Fiasco: The American Military Adventure In Iraq chronicles what went wrong, and how we ended up in a world where the United States continues to occupy Iraq, three thousand American soldiers are dead, and we seem no closer to an end than we were on the day that Saddam's regime fell.
If nothing else, Ricks' book makes clear that there was a stunning lack of postwar planning on the part of those in the Pentagon and Bush Administration who were pushing for war. Whether they were just stunningly negligent, or whether they actually believed that American troops would be greeted as liberators and showered with rose petals is unclear, but the fact that nobody seemed to bother to plan for what might night to be done with Iraq after we deposed Saddam arises to a level of incompetence that is almost criminal.
Ricks does not limit his blame to the Bush Administration though (although there are plenty of targets there from Rumsfeld, to Wolfkowitz, to the President himself) but also points out the mistakes made at the operational level by military commanders who clearly didn't understand the type of war they were fighting. Singled out for especially severe scrutiny are Raul Sanchez, who commanded the troops in Iraq in 2003-04, and Raymond Ordierno, who commanded the 4th Infantry Division during its first tour in Iraq.
After reading Ricks' analysis of countless volumes of official military records and interviews with officers who served in Iraq, there are only several conclusions that one can reach.
First, the initial justification for the invasion of Iraq was entirely mistaken. There were no weapons of mass destruction in 2003. They didn't go to Syria. They just never existed.
Second, while the United States may have had a great plan to defeat the Iraqi Army and Republican Guard in 2003, there was absolutely no plan for what we would do with Iraq afterwards. Instead, we got the statements of people like Paul Wolfkowitz, who apparently believed that American troops would be greeted as liberators the minute the crossed the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, and refused to admit he was wrong years later despite all the evidence to the contrary.
Finally, whether we like it or not, Iraq is America's tar baby. Ricks argues that we can't just withdraw now and leave the Iraqis to sort things out themselves, at least not until the nation is stablized and there's a real Iraqi Army in place to defend the state. The consequences for the region and, by extension, American national security, of a fragmented Iraq are simply too great at this point. Iraq is not like Vietnam for one very important reason --- abandoning South Vietnam was not a significant strategic loss for the United States. Abandoning Iraq very well could be.
The unfortunate truth is that America has placed itself in a position that it didn't need to be in, and finding a way out will prove far more difficult that anyone really wants to admit.
Like it or not, this is a problem we've handed to ourselves, and one we're likely to be dealing with for some time to come.
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Initial post: Nov 11, 2007 6:26:56 AM PST
Inventor of the internet (CNN's Late Edition:"I took the initiative
in creating the Internet"), movie producer & global climatologist
(recipient of secular progressive Europe's tree huggers' political
award: Nobel prize), and now, as an expert on the psychology of
torture, Gore informs the world that if the U.S. violates the Geneva
convention, then terrorists can torture American prisoners of war.
Of course, the reality is that terrorists actually ignore the Geneva
Convention by torturing and cutting the heads off of American
soldiers around the world. In fact, terrorists by definition also
torture, cut heads off of and blow up helpless civilian men, women,
and children. Of course Gore - and secular progressive - live in a
theoretical world. Even if terrorists in reality ignore the Geneva
convention by torturing and slaughtering soldiers and civilian men,
women, and children, Gore - and secular progressives - will tell you
with a great deal of pride that we must nevertheless
take the morale high ground or the rest of the world (secular
progressive Western & Eastern Europe, Russia [led by KGB dictator
Putin who has assassinated 14 reporters and high profile protesters],
third world and Muslim countries, and China [butchers of Tienamin
Square] will not like us. Take for instance China, which has avoided
the moral high ground by burying prisoners in prisons for decades.
China has, indeed, paid a terrible price for not taking the high
morale ground and being disliked by the rest of the world: raking in
hundreds of billions from countries around the planet!
From an unemotional, practical viewpoint, two of El Presidente Bush's
great accomplishments are that he stole the Presidency twice(count
em, 1 & a 2). Second, in his eight years in office, he placed two
highly conservative Republicans on the Supreme Court. And they will
be around for several decades, GOD willing. Furthermore, he has
placed over 3,000 federal judges on the bench. GOD BLESS George Bush
and burn down all the bath houses in the Castro district while
you're at it.
Three things I love about Vice- President Cheney is 1) Liberals'
visceral hatred of Ann Coulter is rivaled by their hatred of Vice-
President(what a sw- e-e-e-e-t sound) Dick Cheney, 2) Cheney
skewered John Edwards during the Presidential debates, 3) Cheney
transformed the Vice-presidency from an impotent institution into an
institution not only co- equal to the Presidency but also separate
and independent of the Executive office as newly defined by Cheney.
If absolute power corrupts absolutely, Cheney is one depraved e-v- i-
l villain - S-w-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e- e-e-t!
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