Wednesday, November 08, 2006

# Posted 11:30 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

AN UNUSUAL "I TOLD YOU SO": The Nation is currently e-mailing out the text of its editorial, from mid-April 2003, calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. What's interesting is how much it emphasizes that the SecDef ought to resign because he didn't respect international law. Also note how the editors were careful to warn that success in Iraq might be imminent, but Rumsfeld should go nonetheless:
Together with Vice President Cheney, [Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Perle] were the principal architects of this venture, in pursuit of which they have deceived the American people, misled US soldiers whose lives are at risk, scorned the United Nations and defied international law...

We have unleashed a new era of nuclear proliferation and "pre-emption," and we have turned a majority of the world's people against us. These facts will not change even if Iraq's defenses continue to crumble and the war ends quickly.
I'm not so sure about the proliferation. Iran and North Korea were pretty determined to develop nuclear weapons well before 2003. Also note that there is no mention of chemical or biological weapons, either here or in the full text of the editorial. Dare one say that even The Nation expected the WMD to be found? Or were they, too, deceived by the same president they called a liar?
While carefully avoiding any reckless comments himself, Rumsfeld unleashed his subordinates and advisers to publicly make the case that the fight would be easy and the troops welcomed. Perle, for example, explained flippantly that "the Iraqi opposition is kind of like an MRE [meals ready to eat, a freeze-dried Army ration]. The ingredients are there and you just have to add water, in this case US support."
That's a pretty embarrassing quote. I guess it got overshadowed by "Mission Accomplished".
Rumsfeld and his coterie now dare to complain that Saddam is violating the laws of war and does not fight fair. But the "asymmetrical" tactics of the Iraqis should come as no surprise. The Vietcong did not wear uniforms either; they too hid among civilian villagers. "We are invading their country," Chief Warrant Officer Glen Woodard observes. "I'd be by my window with a shotgun too."
A potent reminder of how the war's opponents, drawing on their memories of Vietnam, expected a nationalist resistance movement to emerge in Iraq, directed at the US occupation. Instead, we have a sectarian war.
The central question in the minds of many millions around the world is whether the United States, in violation of the UN Charter and long-established terms of international law, is waging an illegal war. The brutality of that war becomes more apparent by the day, as the US military wreaks more death and destruction on Baghdad and other cities and the humanitarian crisis threatens to spiral out of control.
Ah yes, American brutality. And not a word about Saddam's atrocities.
Our indictment is ultimately not about logistics or tactics. Even if US military power prevails in Iraq, what must be ended is a failed foreign policy many of whose key proponents are in the Pentagon.
In the end, I'd have to say that the egg is still on the face of those of us who supported the war. Yet it is important to remember how the war's most vocal critics opposed it for reasons that were misguided and would have had little value in terms of avoiding the perilous situation we are in now.
(8) opinions -- Add your opinion

'In the end, I'd have to say that the egg is still on the face of those of us who supported the war.' OMG? Really?
With Rumsfeld gone, with Bolton's re-nomination permanently stalled by Chafee, with Richard Perle's kiss and tell in Vanity Fair, with the House, Senate, Governorships, and State Houses with Democratic majorities, with Bush showing some badly needed humility, I think we can issue a death certificate for neo-conservatism. It wouldn't be hard to imagine some Republicans wanting to drive a stake through its heart. And it would be hard to imagine any of its echoes being heard in 2008.
The alternatives to neoconservatism are not very appetizing. If you write for The Nation, you believe that US foreign policy should be made by the likes of Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac. We should show proper respect for Third World leaders like Saddam Hussein, and not call them names and overthrow them. Such is the policy advocated by the left wing of the Democratic Party. The trouble is that Mr. Annan, Mr. Chirac, the Russians, and the Chinese are looking out for themselves and place a low priority on the interests of the home of the brave and the land of the free. It strikes me as truly odd to want to allow countries with political traditions so different from our own, countries which see themselves as rivals rather than allies, to dictate our foreign policy.

If you are a member of the Old Right like Pat Buchanan you advocate putting up a wall around the country and having as little to do with the outside world as possible. This approach has a certain appeal, but it isn't very practical, given that only about two percent of the world's oil reserves are in the US.

That leaves realism, which is all the rage at the moment among moderate Democrats and Republicans. The problem is that realism has been tried and found incapable of dealing with the worldwide growth of stateless terrorism, aka Islamofascism.
One vote for realism is the spate of "good news" stories from Iraq in the liberal media since the election. They never did care about the war, but engaged in subversion to help the effort to elect Democrats. Now, however, they see there is no majority for cut and run, and that they jolly well better stop giving aid and comfort to the enemy, or their friends will be out on their ear in 2008. They know they must work hard to make people forget all the harm they have done on the war. From now until November 2008 you can expect to see one big happy family working for a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq--and my bet is such an Iraq will emerge.
From now until November 2008 you can expect to see one big happy family working for a free, democratic and peaceful Iraq

That sounds about right exguru.

--and my bet is such an Iraq will emerge.

The disgusting and deadly shame of it is we might have already been there if not for the division at home thanks to the obfuscation by the press to date.
A couple of loons mating.

If there was ever a chance to affect any positive change in Iraq, its time has long since past. What you have now is an ugly civil war. The Sunni and the Shia agree that they hate us, and the Kurds don't trust us. The best thing that we can do now is withdraw and hope that Iraq doesn't become a failed state.

It will be interesting to see what Baker has in mind.
withdraw and hope

Yea, there's a plan.

We made, as far as I'm concerned, the right move in going in. It is our responsiblity to the vast majority of Iraqis to see it through to success -- abandoning them again, as we did in the first gulf war is immoral, it was then and it is now.

America needs to re-grow a spine, if we don't, it is at our peril. How many more times can we cut and run before we bring down the full wrath of our enemies on our mainland? Answer, none, including in Iraq right now.
Well, if I believed in a god, I'd have said withdraw and pray. But I don't, so I said withdraw and hope.

And I wouldn't call it a plan. Rather, I'd call it an admission. Basically, there is nothing good that we can do there now. When both sides in a civil war see you as a foreign occupier, then it really is time to leave.

I think Baker will come to the same conclusion. It is post-election. W has destroyed whatever he accomplished in the Middle East. It will be interesting.

We have a spine. What we lack is a brain. W and Rove have measured their success on winning domestic elections instead of on getting things done. People wised up to that on Tuesday.
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