Tuesday, July 24, 2007

# Posted 1:03 AM by Taylor Owen  

10 LESSONS FROM IRAQ: Hilzoy, commenting on TGA's LA Times column this week (which is also worth a read).

I think about this, and about the absolutely puerile debate that preceded our decision whether to go to war, and I ask myself: how did it happen that everyone who actually predicted these sorts of consequences was successfully portrayed as a defeatist, a person who just didn't care about the children who died at Halabja or their parents who vanished into Abu Ghraib and were never heard from again, a wimp who preferred staying on the good side of the French (quel horreur!) to facing down bin Laden, or a traitor who must have secretly welcomed 9/11, if indeed s/he had noticed it at all?

The consequences Timothy Garton Ash describes -- or at least, consequences broadly like them -- were predictable at the time. Of course a war against Iran's deadliest enemy in the region would strengthen Iran, especially if it kept American troops pinned down within handy reach of Iranian operatives. Of course a democracy would be hard to build in Iraq, not because "Arabs are not suited for democracy", but because the habits of mind that constitute respect for the rule of law and a willingness to work within an established political system do not spring into being overnight after being crushed for decades. Of course this would play into bin Laden's hands, both by diverting resources and attention away from Afghanistan and by making the story he had been telling about America and its designs on the Muslim world come true.

So why were the people who warned us about this -- James Webb, Brent Scowcroft, and others -- at best ignored, and at worst mocked by people without a fraction either of their experience or of their judgment? Why did so many people choose to listen instead to the likes of Michael Ledeen and Jonah Goldberg? I don't really know, but here are a few lessons I hope we learn.

He then lists 10 lessons from Iraq, they are very much worth a look.


(8) opinions -- Add your opinion


Minor correction; Hilzoy is a woman. Otherwise, I found it a very useful post, also.

Clearly many of the warnings of those opposed to the war at the time were wise. Clearly those of us who eventually put trust in the Bush Administration made an error of judgement.

But I'm growing a little weary of the tone of self-pity and selective memory of some who opposed it:

"This was, if memory serves, a pretty standard move back in 2002: the fact of someone's opposition to the war was taken to be conclusive evidence that that person was not serious about the war on terror, and their supposed lack of seriousness meant that their arguments did not have to be taken seriously."

Maybe, but there was and is plenty of hysterical ad hominem abuse about those who could see the point of removing a genocidal and aggressive fascist from power and creating the chance for an alternative.

People on that side of the argument were accused of being blood-crazed, sinister, chickenhawk servants of dark neoconservative/oil-grabbing/(even Nazi!) power figures. To be in favour of removing Saddam was to be a fanatical ideologue and intellectually unserious etc.

The fact is that in this argument, too many people like to present themselves as an embattled minority speaking truth to power and being persecuted etc.

So maybe its time everyone gave up the game of posing as victims and acknowledged that there were good folk on either side with good intentions trying to deal with a difficult issue.
President Bush has invested $340 billion in Iraq while the program to end global poverty is under funded by $19 billion annually. The Borgen Project is a non-profit organization that is working to apply pressure to the political organizations (Congress and the White House) that can inact change. Something needs to be done!
Regardless of the reasons (if there were real reasons at all) why the United States chose to invade Iraq or even why a US presence remains there today, it is clear that the Bush Administration is putting too many of its resources—OUR resources— into remaining there. To date, the war has cost over $340 billion dollars—money which could have been spent much more wisely and with better end results. It is estimated, for example, that the expenditure of a mere $19 billion would eliminate starvation and malnutrition worldwide. In a time when the current defense budget is $522 billion, the goal of eradicating world hunger is clearly well within reach. Thus, it is clear that the occupation of Iraq needs to end, and it needs to end now without regard to what this will do to United States interest in Iraq’s oil. There are simply much more important issues that need to be addressed.
President Bush has invested $340 billion in Iraq

Dear Patrick, each time I heard these words of “invested $340 billion in Iraq” or the billions that cost of this war, I really troubled with this sorts of words, it’s looking there is some thing missing in reading between the lines.

Patrick, what did President Bush invested in Iraq?
What sort of investment done to Iraq or inside Iraq?

If I can answer this with my poor knowledge of this man made disaster, the US billions in reality where transferred from one location to another!, to be more clear these $340 billion went for the payment for troops for military weapons and those consultant and US administrators who worked in Iraq, the money went from right packet to the left pocket.
Nothing done to Iraq as a state and as a country, Iraq now a failed state as reported by many references.

Moreover Iraq’s money from the cash that hunted from the regime ~$5.0 Billion, in addition to the past four years of Iraqi oil money no one knows where all these billons goes.

So please we need to be more accurate when we talking about US billions and the cost of war and the investment in Iraq.
Dear Anon 4:19am,

I didn't say anything about Bush's spending, it was anon 6pm, who was reminding us (again) of the magic $19 billion.

Dear Patrick,

Apologies I got your name mistankenly
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