Sunday, March 07, 2010
According to the BBC, which has never shown enthusiasm for Operation Iraqi Freedom or its aftermath, the good guys won. Or rather, they proved they won today.
These elections will certainly be seen as a big success - despite the depressing level of violence, which demonstrates that it is still altogether untrue to suggest that Iraq is now a country at peace.
But it is reasonable now to include Iraq in the world's list of democracies.
This is the second parliamentary election in seven years which has been properly conducted.
The threat to the polls here does not come from government interference with the voting system or the count.
We did something great there, and its consequences have only begun to be felt. They may yet turn ugly, but our war there has not only been a huge victory for freedom in the Arab world but -- if we do not deny it and apologize for it -- a geopolitical triumph for the United States. That second assertion particularly is, obviously, in the deep minority, but if the present trajectory sustains itself history will respect it.
It bugs the hell out of me to see people still questioning our move into Iraq. There were no WMDs, the oil went to China, Sadaam was the rightful ruler, etc. Bullspit! Millions are now free to choose their leaders instead of being routinely selected for (real!)torture for belonging to the wrong sect, tribe or family.
Could we have done it better. Hell yes! But we were slow to acclimate to the political conditions on the ground and slow to tell the polical foes here at home to stuff it.
Like Purple Avenger I would love to see how the history books tell this story in 30/40 years, but I fear I won't have that much time. I know how it should be told but with the current leftist leanings in academe I'm not holding my breath.
One small fact of those times.
When American troops captured the palatial home of Saddam's sons they found a room plastered with images of women from all over the world. Featured prominently on the walls were numerous images of President Bushes daughters. There are people out there who would have been happy for those creeps to continue Saddam's legacy, and many of them are in the United States.
If you have never read it, I highly recommend reading "Republic of Fear" by Samir al-Khalil (pseudonym) /Kanan Makiya.
The hideous nature of Iraq under the Baathists/Saddam Hussein cannot be emphasized enough. Sometimes, it is not just about "us". The vanity and childishness of the modern media is truly something that is stomach turning.
The men and women who bravely served in MNF-Irag have turned the page of history.
Yeah, but at what price? If you're willing to spend over a trillion dollars, you can benefit humanity a lot more than this war did. And that's setting aside the loss of life, both of our soldiers and Iraqis.
I think we need to see at least two more such elections before we can be sure that democracy has taken root in Iraq. There are still many Iraqis exiled in Syria and elsewhere who bitterly resent the whole process, as well as the religious fanatics who believe democracy is forbidden by Islam.
But this election was still a great accomplishment.
Democracy is not measured just by having fair elections. It is more truly measured by having the ins lose to the outs and subsequently having a peaceful turn over of power without the new ins persecuting the old ones.
This is something of which the current administration should take note. Former President Bush's incoming and outgoing transitions showed what a gentleman he is and what scum the Clinton and Obama Administrations were/are.
If you're willing to spend over a trillion dollars, you can benefit humanity a lot more than this war did.
As long as you could sleep well at night knowing Saddam was systematically murdering ~20,000 of Iraqi citizens/year, and were willing to pay for a never ending deployment to keep a lid on him and enforce various UN resolutions.
We already had a 10 year ongoing deployment that lasted all through the Clinton years. Here's a clue -- that wasn't done for free either.
Q: We've had 30,000 in Korea since the 1950's, so what level of "keeping the lid on" costs were YOU PERSONALLY willing to tolerate with Saddam? 15 years? 20? 30? 50?
Please justify your answer and provide estimated long term dollar costs.
I'm working on my Plan C -- everyone should have a Plan C these days in case the US totally goes to hell (my current odds have it 10% to 20%). Thus, my short list of places to emigrate to has Australia, the south coast of Belize and the mountains of Mexico.
Now that Iraq is a democracy, should I add it to my list? Would I be greeted as a liberator? They do owe us, don't they?
"featured prominently .... numerous images of President Bushes daughters"
The home sex tape of Vancouver-born Pam Anderson is still on Kim Jong-Il's regular rotation, I'm told. Can't wait for the Canadians to take out North Korea.
The following beliefs are not inconsistent:
1) Invading Iraq was a strategic mistake, especially because of its domestic effects.
2) The first months of the war were brilliantly executed. Patton would have been proud.
3) We seriously screwed up the occupation, until the Surge.
4) Iraq was/is too strategically important for us to have walked away from. We broke it, we owned it. Thank god for the Surge.
5) We should be hopeful for Iraq, and do what we can. It doesn't have to go the way of Yugoslavia -- although that's what I expect to happen within 20 years.
6) The Democrats and MSM are culpable for #1 too. If they had had their way, #4 wouldn't have happened and things would be worse.
That's what I believe -- but I'm just another a-hole with opinions. But I also believe that I could get most Americans to agree with each one of these points.
Most here would likely agree with me on all but #1. I hope I'm wrong re #1 -- honestly I do.
I agree the military invasion was a great success--Rumsfeld was right that a small, mobile army would run rings around the Iraqi army.
After the invasion, though, all authority disappeared--no police, no mayors, no army, nobody. It was complete anarchy. Now the Powell strategy of overwhelming force was correct. (I read somewhere that to maintain order you need something like 1 policeman/soldier for each 200 citizens). It took us awhile to recognize that all legitimate authority was gone and was not coming back quickly. So, we had to rebuild the police, the army, and legitimacy in the regime.
"The Democrats and MSM are culpable for #1 too."
Most Americans may not get this. It shouldn't be lost to history.
From his role on intelligence committees, John Kerry, among others, got to see the secret stuff we didn't. If he had a problem he should have spoken out in 2002, not 2004.
You couldn't find a bigger cheerleader for the Iraq War in 2002 than Joe Biden. He made sure that the American members of the UN weapon searchers couldn't even testify before his committee back in 2002 -- they instead went public on their own to say that they were 90% certain Saddam had no WMD but were ignored, including by the NYT and WaPo.
Obama gave one speech to an obscure anti-War rally. When he later joined the Senate he didn't speak out on the War until later when he saw his opportunity to outflank Hillary with the issue.