Our victory in Iraq demonstrates several propositions:

  • The military knew what they were doing. I suppose it’s logically possible that a different plan would have achieved even better results, but with Coalition deaths around 150, Iraqi civilian deaths at well under 1,000, and the war essentially over in three weeks, it’s hard to imagine how. Never, as many others have pointed out, has an opposing force been more careful with the lives of enemy civilians, and even soldiers, than the enemy itself. Quagmire? What quagmire?
  • The Iraqis prefer us to Saddam. Well, duh. You would have had to be insentient to believe anything else in the first place. And anyone who can remain indifferent to the Iraqis’ overwhelming joy at the end of Hussein’s regime or scold them for lifting a few souvenirs from his blood-soaked palaces is morally depraved.
  • Iraq will be better off. Cf. Afghanistan. We still have no idea what the government will look like in Iraq, but really, it can’t be worse. The word “liberation” is fully justified.

    It does not, however, demonstrate that invading Iraq was a good idea in the first place. I think it was, and recent developments have done nothing to change my mind. But even as the bankruptcy of the anti-war left becomes apparent, the best arguments against the war retain their force. First, it will massively increase the size of the federal government, as all major past wars have, war being the health of the state (Arthur Silber has been making this point tirelessly). Second, we are letting ourselves in for years of foreign garrisons — although I can think of a few troops in, say, Germany that we can spare. Finally, Iraq is just our opening salvo in the Middle East, where Iran and Saudi Arabia are even more serious troublemakers, and how we deal with those countries remains to be seen.

    Just be a little careful with the “I told you so’s,” is all I’m sayin’.

  • Aaron Haspel | Posted April 12, 2003 @ 1:08 PM | Politics

    8 Responses to “Recap”

    1. 1 1. John Hinchey

      I would agree with your first 2 points but not your third. The jury is still out on that. I suspect Iraq will be at least somewhat better off, though even that is not a sure thing. A new Saddam could arise in the power vacuum created by the departure of the old one–especially if we (and the rest of the world) arent willing to expend the energy and time and money to help things get MUCH better.

      I’m also not terribly surprised by how things have gone, and I, too, say that as someome who was not in favor of the war. Buit I wasnt opposed to it, exactly, either. I was torn in boith directions–a situation in which I usually decide the best thing to do is to keep quiet and support our political leaders. But I don’t trust our political leaders–didnt then, don’t now–so in the end I was opposed to the war. I still don’t have a good feeling about how it will all look in, say, 10 or 20 years. I’ll be thrilled if my skepticism proves unwarranted.

    2. 2 2. jay mckee

      very few people are pro-war.You would have to be a damned fool to be "pro-war".
      but this war was justified and what is really hard for me to believe is how out of touch with reality democrats seem to be.
      Do Howard Dean, jfkerry etal really think they are going to succeed?
      God bless America

    3. 3 3. cas

      "Iraq will be better off. Cf. Afghanistan. We still have no idea what the government will look like in Iraq, but really, it can’t be worse. The word "liberation" is fully justified."

      with all due respect, as far as can be seen, the lack of support that afghanistan is getting from the us gov’t is astounding. c.f. increase in opium production, small influence of cental gov’t under karzai. iraq is lucky, it does not have to rely as much on the goodwill of the us–it has a fungible resource that is desperately needed, even if its infrastructure is a mess. if i am karzai, i must surely be seeing myself as a rabbit in the cross hairs. remember the way that the administration "forgot" (?) to include money for afghanistan in the budget? as for "it can’t be worse" give afghanistan some time. let us see what happens if the current administration continues to neglect it.

    4. 4 4. Aaron Haspel

      That the Administration "forgot" to include money for Afghanistan in the budget is a hoary and oft-refuted tale. Afghanistan is a mess and will likely be a mess for some time. But the Afghanis are better off than they were under the Taliban, and the Iraqis will be too.

    5. 5 5. Aaron's father

      I’m afraid that in a thousand years the only mention of this war in the history books will be the destruction by looting of the Iraq National Museum. American troops were briefed on the important cultural and historical sites and were asked by the museum staff to help. The troops did respond, but only stayed for less than an hour. In my view this makes us at least partly responsible for the greated cultural and historical loss since the great library in Alexandria.

    6. 6 6. Alex Knapp

      Given that some of the museum vaults were found open and not broken into, among other things, there’s a strong chance that it was an inside job.

    7. 7 7. jay mckee

      alex is certainly correct
      what makes these artifacts treasures is the esteem in which they are held by the local populace.
      the locals arent going to destroy them

    8. 8 8. Aaron Haspel

      Regardless of who destroyed them and I too agree with Alex we bear some measure of responsibility for not guarding them properly.

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