Friday, August 27, 2004
President Bush said for the first time on Thursday he made a "miscalculation of what the conditions would be" after U.S. troops went to Iraq, The New York Times reported. The insurgency, he maintained, was the unintended result of a "swift victory" that led to Iraqi troops disappearing into the cities and mounting a rebellion.
On vacation as I am, I haven't taken the time to read the underlying interview. If, however, Bush admitted that the insurgency was the "unintended" result of the "swift victory" in Iraq, he is making a correct statement of fact while failing to appreciate its significance.
The insurgency in Iraq is the result of the American failure to define the victory conditions for that war and the 1991 Gulf War properly. In both cases we declared a limited objective (the liberation of Kuwait the first time, the remove of Saddam the second time). In neither case did we think it necessary actually to destroy the enemy's capacity to fight. In both cases that failure to include among our war aims the complete destruction of the enemy led to subsequent and unnecessary bloodshed.
The correct admission for Bush to have made was that we should have included among our victory conditions the complete destruction of the enemy's ability to wage war. If we do less than that in the Islamic world, what have we actually accomplished?
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