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Old 03-21-2006, 10:13 AM   #1
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Iraq: regrets, i've had a few ...

one of the blogosphere's biggest pro-war supporters offers this assessment of the war and it's progress, or lack thereof, now that we stand three years post-conflict:

[q]I'm just back from a panel discussion at Columbia on the Iraq war. I was out-classed by my fellows: Victor Davis Hanson, Ken Pollack, Joe Klein and Noah Feldman. The crowd was large but not too hostile. The general atmosphere was one of intense sadness at so much incompetence after so much potential. I learned a few things. I was not as aware as I should have been about how much Iran now controls the Ministry of Interior in Iraq; which makes dealing with them all the more necessary. Noah, Ken and I remain at some level befuddled by what can only be called the irrationality of the Bush administration's policies. I'm still amazed that, according to Joe, there are six times as many analysts devoted to China in the D.I.A. as devoted to Iraq. I'm still staggered that, despite insistence from Bush appointees on the ground, the administration refused to provide more troops when they were desperately needed. I still find baffling the enormous gap between the stakes the president enunciated and the casual, on-the-fly, on-the-cheap way in which this war was waged. I can see why it might provoke conspiracy theories and paranoia. I have come to the provisional conclusion that it is a function of the president himself. He is interested in the grand idea but utterly bored by its execution. He is also incapable of good management. The more you read about the screwing up of Iraq, the more you see that a lot of it was due to internal administration squabbles that the president was unwilling or too personally uncomfortable to resolve. He seems terribly awkward in the face of complexity and difficulty, of grappling with his own errors, as if he can simply will them away, rather than actually grapple with them.

I found out that John Kerry focus-grouped the question of whether he should bring up Bush's legalization of torture in the presidential debates. I discovered (and should have known) that VDH opposes torture and supported the McCain Amendment. Feldman believes that the law itself was riddled with loopholes. VDH still won't criticize this administration. His response to every factual elaboration of staggering ineptitude is to point to other wars and larger errors. At this point, the only thing defenders of Rumsfeld can do is direct attention elsewhere or sigh and hope that in the long view, everything will turn out okay. Maybe they will. But it seems to me that the American public is rightly losing patience with this crew - and that itself will affect the war. Patience is essential to pulling through. But is it at all reasonable to expect the American public to be patient with an arrogant, dismissive incompetent like Rumsfeld? There are limits to what human nature can accomplish. If the president wants the country to hang in there, he needs to replace his defense secretary - preferably with a tough-minded Democrat. If Iraq needs a national unity government to get through the next three years, then America needs a least a little bit of one itself. Over to you, Mr Bush. Are you serious about winning this war? Or are you still winging it?

http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/

[/q]



how about you? were you pro-war, and now regret it? were you anti-war, and now regret it? what did you get wrong, and what did you get right? what do you think should have been done, and what would you have done differently?

looking for a real discussion here, not a repetition of security council resolutions.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:40 AM   #2
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I agree with this guy. The Bush Administration botched the post-war planning. I read in Time magazine where an Iraqi said that Saddam had to go, but he said the Bush people mismanaged the hell out of the post-war planning. They thought the Iraqis would greet them with flowers and candy. Come on, you don't gut their ministry of culture and lose thousands of priceless artifacts and then get greeted with flowers.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:52 AM   #3
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Simply saying GWB "botched" the post-war planning is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking. The numerous factors and fierce sectarian division (which was previously controlled by the brutal hand of a dictator) are clearly elements lost on the public at large.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
The numerous factors and fierce sectarian division (which was previously controlled by the brutal hand of a dictator) are clearly elements lost on the public at large.


but many people voiced this as an objection to going to war in the first place -- i've heard more than one person, back in 2002/3, refer to Iraq as an "Arab Yugoslavia" and that a strongman was the only thing that has kept this manufactured, young country together. one only has to look at history and the nation's creation after WW1 to see this, and shouldn't it have been a crucial part of post-war planning to have prepared for such sectarian strife? why was this lost on the public? should the administration, since they obviously should have prepared for and anticipated this, have warned the American public that such a low-level civil war based upon religious differences was inevitable? and, if so, why did they not send in more troops to begin with?
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:26 PM   #5
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Wouldn't GWB and his cronies have known that the only thing holding Iraq together was that dictator and all hell would break loose amongst those groups after Saddam fell?
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Simply saying GWB "botched" the post-war planning is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking. The numerous factors and fierce sectarian division (which was previously controlled by the brutal hand of a dictator) are clearly elements lost on the public at large.
Those factors were never lost on Bush Sr. and Clinton which is why Iraq was left intact after 1991. There wasn't a clear exit strategy then, there wasn't in 2003 and there isn't one now.
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Old 03-21-2006, 01:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
Simply saying GWB "botched" the post-war planning is nothing more than Monday morning quarterbacking. The numerous factors and fierce sectarian division (which was previously controlled by the brutal hand of a dictator) are clearly elements lost on the public at large.
I had misgivings about the wisdom of going to war in the first place, and it had nothing to do with any love of Saddam. The Iraqis hated him. But I had a feeling that once you took him out, other problems would rear their ugly heads--instability and terrorism on the part of roaming Wahhabis. Well, look what happened. It's enough to make me feel like Cassandra. The Bush people didn't take into account the postwar mess because they underestimated the difficulty of replacing Saddam. They thought it would be so easy to set up a democracy there. I argued then, and still believe, that it's much harder. Just because democracy is a good idea doesn't mean it's going to work. This is indeed a scenario a hell of alot like Yugoslavia.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76

The Bush people didn't take into account the postwar mess because they underestimated the difficulty of replacing Saddam.
I don't really believe that. I just think the decision was made that the benefit for initiating the war outweighed the cost of prolonged military presence.

The Bush administration just hasn't been able to maintain credibility for the reasons given for that decision.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:11 PM   #9
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Re: Iraq: regrets, i've had a few ...

Quote:
Originally posted by Irvine511
were you pro-war, and now regret it?
I WAS pro-war before it began, and even did a presentation in Global History 12 class as to why it was a good idea - but I think that had more to do with the fact that I was 15/16 years old at the time and just thought "War! Smart bombs! Live on CNN! Cool!" rather than of the consequences or underlying situation behind the conflict.

Needless to say, I greatly regret that one.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:28 PM   #10
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Was against this war to begin with, didn't change my mind. Although I'll admit I thought it would be a bloodier affair (more civilian deaths) but at the same time I couldn't have imagined this level of incompetence.

The problem is that many people who were pro-war have a lot of reservations about this or that. Bush's extreme hubris however prevents him from EVER admitting he's made a misstep. What an awful, terrible leader he is.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy


I don't really believe that. I just think the decision was made that the benefit for initiating the war outweighed the cost of prolonged military presence.

The Bush administration just hasn't been able to maintain credibility for the reasons given for that decision.
They underestimated the cost of the prolonged military presence, I will agree with that one. I will acknowledge that Sistani seems to be a force for democracy and he carries alot of clout in that predominately Shi'ite country, so perhaps I overestimated the difficulty of setting up a democracy and didn't understand the tension between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites mainly because I didn't know a damn thing about what differentiates those two schools of Islam. I now have a somewhat better understanding of the two schools, but it's still imperfect.
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Old 03-21-2006, 03:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76

They underestimated the cost of the prolonged military presence, I will agree with that one.
No, I don't think they underestimated the cost at all. Those projections are pretty simple. What I'm saying is, for some reason, the benefit is outweighing the cost.
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Old 03-21-2006, 04:08 PM   #13
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I was pro war on the basis that containment was failing and too many innocent people were dying under sanctions. In retrospect we know that the Oil for Food program was rotten to the core, Saddam did believe that he had WMD and that there was full intent on furthur development when sanctions were lifted. It was a choice of least death - if we looked at alternative options all I can see is either removing sanctions and letting Hussein reactivate WMD production or just letting the slow grinding death power on and kill another million people.

The recently declassified documents are yielding info on things such as Saddam bankrolling Islamic terrorism by Abu Sayaf and some tantalising hints at cooperation with other groups - something that I naturally assumed wouldn't be what Saddam Hussein would do.

Regrets? Not putting a bullet into Muqtada al-Sadrs head, not locking down the Syrian border, allowing Islamic fascists to hold Sunni towns in 2003 / 2004.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by AliEnvy


No, I don't think they underestimated the cost at all. Those projections are pretty simple. What I'm saying is, for some reason, the benefit is outweighing the cost.
OK, you think it was worth it? I'm not so sure, but I'll agree with the pro-war people that it's only hindsight that the Shi'ite mosque was bombed and thus destabilized the country. There was no way to plan for this sort of thing. You can't. It has the Iraqi PM claiming that Iraq is in a civil war.
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Old 03-21-2006, 05:35 PM   #15
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never mind...........
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