Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Sunday, May 02, 2004
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Relax, Celebrate The Quagmire


Richard Perle in McPaper on May 2, 2003:

[The war] ended quickly1 with few civilian casualties2 and with little damage to Iraq's cities, towns or infrastructure3. It ended without the Arab world rising up against us4, as the war's critics feared, without the quagmire they predicted5, without the heavy losses in house-to-house fighting6 they warned us to expect.
...
In full retreat, the war's opponents have now taken up new defensive positions7: "Yes, it was a military victory, but you haven't found Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction." Or, "Yes, we destroyed Saddam's regime, but now other dictators will try even harder to develop weapons of mass destruction to make sure they will not fall to some future American preemptive strike."

We will find Saddam's well-hidden chemical and biological weapons programs8, but only when people who know come forward and tell us where to look. While Saddam was in power, even a hint about his concealment and deception was a death sentence, often by unimaginable torture against whole families. Saddam had four years to hide things. We have had a few weeks to find them. Patience--and some help from free Iraqis--will be rewarded.

The idea that our victory over Saddam will drive other dictators to develop chemical and biological weapons misses the key point: They are already doing so9. That's why we may someday need to preempt rather than wait until we are attacked10
...
Iraqis are freer today11 and we are safer12. Relax and enjoy it13.

Ah, would it were still the heady days of May, 2003.

ntodd

1 - Newsflash: with "coalition" troops still dying daily, and 137,000 US military personnel still in Iraq, it is clear the war isn't over.

2 - Upwards of 11,000 civilians have been killed according to Iraq Body Count. Also:

[A] count by The Associated Press found that around 1,361 Iraqis were killed from April 1 to April 30 [2004] - 10 times the figure of at least 136 U.S. troops who died during the same period.

The Iraqi tally was compiled from daily records of violence reported by AP based on statements issued by the U.S. military, Iraqi police and local hospitals. The count includes civilians, insurgents and members of the Iraqi security forces, though a detailed breakdown was not possible.

3 - Council on Foreign Relations:

Preliminary estimates by the World Bank indicate that the Iraqi economy suffered in 2003, with GDP declining to $480 to $630 per capita. The decline was largely related to the drop in oil production caused by the war—Iraq has the world’s second largest proven oil reserves, and most of the government’s revenues traditionally come from oil. Widespread electricity outages also hobbled many businesses. Other factors hurting businesses included post-war looting, increased crime, the ongoing insurgency, and damage directly caused by fighting.

SeattlePI:

The government has spent less than $2.8 billion of the $18.4 billion that Congress provided half a year ago for rebuilding Iraq, despite the cries of urgency that accompanied President Bush's request for the money.

4 - The Arab world still hated us back in March. Could this be the tipping point?

Graphic pictures showing the apparent abuse of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. and British soldiers in Iraq have sparked anger among Muslims across the world...

5 - When exactly does a quagmire begin? Regardless, Col. Daniel Smith (Ret.) agrees:

Yes, Iraq is not a quagmire. But at a time when U.S. budget deficits of $401 billion this year and $480 billion for 2004 are forecast, Iraq looms as an ever-expanding funnel into which human lives, human talent, and monetary resources are being poured, never to be recovered. That, by any measure, defines a veritable black hole.

BTW, 51% of Americans believe Iraq is likely to turn into another Vietnam.

6 - I'm sure Perle doesn't consider over 140 dead "heavy losses", but April 2004 was indeed the cruelest month, and we were pushed out of Iraqi cities like Fallujah:

Gunmen waved their weapons in Fallujah's streets and outside car windows Saturday, cheering what they called a victory as U.S. forces pulled back. But the Marines insisted they weren't going far and that a new Iraqi force taking the front line will root out die-hard insurgents
...
Scores of Iraqis gathered in the streets Saturday morning, some flashing "V" for victory signs and raising the Iraqi flag. Motorists drove through the streets, shouting "Islam, it's your day!" and "We redeem Islam with our blood!"

A senior U.S. military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Marine command was not alarmed by the gleeful reaction in the city, the Washington Post reported. Of more significance, the official said, is whether the militiamen will succeed in restoring security to a level sufficient enough for U.S. troops to enter the city without being attacked.

7 - Is there such a thing as pre-emptive projection?

8 - UNMOVIC: No evidence of either current or recent development or production of proscribed munitions was uncovered. David Kay: I don't think they existed...[A] combination of U.N. inspectors and unilateral Iraqi action got rid of them.

9 - Perle misses the point: they are already doing so because we have a hegemonic military presence throughout the world (e.g., Saudi Arabia, Korean Peninsula) and have shown we are willing to invade any country to get what we want (e.g., apprehend former strongman allies like Noriega and Saddam).

10 - Pre-emption requires an imminent threat, which we know Iraq wasn't. What we engaged in was preventive, and based on bad intel and lies, so it was really nothing more than gussied up aggressive warfare. We have rightly condemned and renounced this instrument of policy since the end of WWII, and continued talk of invading other sovereign nations only threatens world peace and stability.

11 - Are they? I guess they have freedom of speech, except when their papers publish something we don't like. They definitely have freedom to worship the way they want today, although if they choose to establish an Islamic theocracy, we'll veto that. Given current economic conditions, it appears that they don't have freedom from want, and the disastrous security situation means they don't have freedom from fear. They still haven't gotten to select their own government. We've given them reason to believe that we're no better than Saddam, and that we should leave their country. Yet we won't leave until we decide to--that hardly sounds like they're free.

12 - I didn't believe this crap last year, and I don't believe it now. After thousands of lives and billions of dollars, I want proof, not assertions.

13 - What was it we're supposed to enjoy? I've quite forgotten. 
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