Iraqis aren’t stupid — and they’re watching us

posted at 7:25 am on April 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Last month, Vets for Freedom visited the Twin Cities to talk about their experience in Iraq — and got rewarded by being booted from a local high school. Michael Honeycutt and I, along with hundreds of people from our community, attended their evening appearance at Fort Snelling Officers Club that same day to hear heroes like David Bellavia and Pete Hegseth explain what’s happening in Iraq and the importance of completing the mission successfully. Michael — better known to Ed Morrissey Show chatizens as Sgt_H — served sixteen months in Iraq and understands the need well. He writes in today’s Star Tribune that Iraqis understand it, too, and wonder whether we’ll betray them like we did in 1991:

I was on the ground in Iraq for 16 months, and in that time I talked to hundreds of Iraqis. Some didn’t like us; some wanted us to leave, but most did not. What they wanted was for America to live up to its word. They wanted us to rid the country of terrorists and militias so that they could live in peace.

They were willing to help us, but they are not a stupid people. They know that if they commit to the American side and the Americans abandon them as we did in 1991, it means death for them and their families. They know this, and it is real. It is not an abstract idea for them.

Most Iraqis don’t support Al-Qaida and the militias, but when our commitment to stay in Iraq and finish the job is in doubt — as it was when Sen. Harry Reid went on TV and said, “this war is lost” — Iraqis are going to hedge their bets. They may not support the militias, but when they are betting their lives, most of them are not going to commit to America unless they are assured that America is committed to them.

That’s why Vets For Freedom supports any politician who supports the mission in Iraq. We — all Americans, not just Republicans, not just President Bush — owe it to the Iraqi people to see this through.

As Michael reminds us, we can argue over 2002-3 all we want, but it doesn’t have anything to do with 2008. We are in Iraq, and al-Qaeda is arrayed against our troops. In fact, this is the best possible situation if we want to fight terrorists — to have them on a battlefield in straight-up fights against our military. It’s exactly what terrorists don’t want. If they wanted to fight our military, they wouldn’t use bomb commuter trains and fly civilian airplanes into their targets.

We have plenty of politicians who still don’t understand the strategic advantage this gives us. Instead of forcing them to defend ground and fight against the best military machine in history, these politicians want the military to retreat and allow them safe haven in Iraq. The best commitment they’re willing to offer is that if they get too comfortable in their new digs, we’ll stage another invasion of Iraq — without considering the costs involved, both logistically and in human lives, and that it depends on finding another country willing to host us after twice leaving the Iraqis twisting in the wind.

It also presupposes that we’ll get welcomed back for a third round of destruction by the people we would have abandoned twice. If we betray them a second time, don’t expect a third welcome. They already mistrust our honor after the 1991 bug-out that left them in the hands of Saddam Hussein. And it won’t just be the Iraqis who watch whether we keep our word; the Afghanis, the Saudis, the Jordanians all will take note of another retreat — and they will make their deals with radical Islamist terrorists accordingly.

We need to acknowledge the reality of today, not argue over the circumstances of 2002. We have the terrorists on the run and the Iraqi people on the verge of a historic transformation into a functioning, moderate Arab democracy. Now is not the time to show the world that America runs from its allies and its enemies.

Update: Let’s hear from David Bellavia one more time:


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Why can’t the Dems understand this simple point?

ArmyAunt on April 14, 2008 at 7:34 AM

Or like we abandoned the Vietnamese.

Let the Military fight the war. not the namby-pamby politicians.

Nevada, does us a favor vote out Reid. SD did it to Daschle; you can do it, too.

Here in DE, we’ll work on Biden.

davidk on April 14, 2008 at 7:37 AM

Now is not the time to show the world that America runs from its allies and its enemies.

Always a bad proposition, especially so in light of the Iraqi government starting to act like a functioning government. Long overdue it may be, but it is happening.

Once Iraq is secure and standing on their own two fee, I’m sure the majority of Iraqi’s will want our military to leave their country, and that’s perfectly OK, I would like to see that too.

Hog Wild on April 14, 2008 at 7:42 AM

As Michael reminds us, we can argue over 2002-3 all we want, but it doesn’t have anything to do with 2008.

I’ve been arguing this very point with people for a few years now. The question over whether we should have invaded in the first place is a fair one, but has nothing to do with what we should do now.

To take the position that because we shouldn’t have invaded Iraq we should now abandon the country to its fate is childish and petulant in the extreme.

flipflop on April 14, 2008 at 7:44 AM

They know that if they commit to the American side and the Americans abandon them as we did in 1991, it means death for them and their families.

Yes that line nailed it and the MSM has totally ignored this fact when they talk about the Iraq people getting behind the US.

JeffinSac on April 14, 2008 at 7:47 AM

Well said, Ed. The Dems don’t get this because they don’t want to get it. They are, as usual, acting like children. These are people who are terrified of the weather in the form of Climate Change, but well funded, organized fanatics who think the fastest way to heaven is to die killing us? Bah, don’t worry about them, we’ll just sit down and chat with them.

The other aspect that the Dems will never admit to, is that many think we deserve to lose. As sick and twisted as it is, they think the war was illegal, even though it’s approved annually by the very UN they scrape and bow towards. They think Bush is a war criminal, even though they prefer to have meetings and negotiate with war criminals. In short, the Dems are petulant and blind, which is why they’re so darn annoying, and more than a bit dangerous when they’re in charge.

trubble on April 14, 2008 at 7:48 AM

This is the type of information that should be heard and debated in high schools. The stuff my kids come home and report on is all Liberal talking points that their teachers harp on all day. They come home, read Hot Air and head back to debate the next day. Bless them…..

Hening on April 14, 2008 at 7:54 AM

Excellent point, Ed. Not only is America’s credibility with the Iraqi people on the line, but with the rest of the Arab states as well. If America bugs out, none of them have the wherewithal to stand up to Iran and al Qaeda, so they are keeping a wary eye on our intentions.

The Democrats want to hand over the entire Middle East to the Islamists, as does the isolationist wing of the Republican party (Ronpaul, Pat Buchanan). The question for November is: Can we elect someone who will stand up to these suicidal fools?

MrLynn on April 14, 2008 at 8:07 AM

For this, and pretty much only this, very reason I pray McCain is elected. If he’s not elected, is there any hope in the Democrats becoming vested in victory since they would be the party in power? Is it possible their rhetoric will change because they won’t want to be responsible for the genocide that will occur once they leave? Surely they get this. No?

sheesh on April 14, 2008 at 8:11 AM

Small note: Vets for Freedom, not Veterans for Freedom.

E5infantry on April 14, 2008 at 8:15 AM

The Democratic Party has been selling out this country for its entire history.

Democrats have done nothing for this country besides steal from it and loot from it.

It’s a tribute to the incredible resiliency of this country that it has been able to withstand the corrupt, incompetent criminal traitor politicians in the absolutely worthless “democratic” Party.

NoDonkey on April 14, 2008 at 8:24 AM

Saddam attacks…

http://archives.cbc.ca/dossier.asp?page=1&IDDossier=593&IDCat=385&IDCatPa=264

1991, the Highway of Death…

http://archives.cbc.ca/war_conflict/1991_gulf_war/clips/593-3127/

The Marsh Arabs…

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2807821.stm

Did George H.W. Bush actually abandon them…?

Decade of Shame: The U.S. War on Iraq
http://www.rwor.org/a/v22/1080-89/1086/iraq.htm

“…They were willing to help us, but they are not a stupid people. They know that if they commit to the American side and the Americans abandon them as we did in 1991, it means death for them and their families. They know this, and it is real. It is not an abstract idea for them…”

“Or like we abandoned the Vietnamese.”

News Flash… After 53,000 plus American and two million plus Vietnamese dead; we got run out of Ho Chi Minh City in the last departing “Huey”!

J_Gocht on April 14, 2008 at 8:39 AM

We are in Iraq, and al-Qaeda is arrayed against our troops. In fact, this is the best possible situation if we want to fight terrorists — to have them on a battlefield in straight-up fights against our military. It’s exactly what terrorists don’t want. If they wanted to fight our military, they wouldn’t use bomb commuter trains and fly civilian airplanes into their targets.

Al-Qaeda chose to be to Iraq after the war began. I don’t see how you can argue that this is not what they want. I’m not for pulling out yet, but I did want to point out this logical fallacy.

greggish on April 14, 2008 at 8:41 AM

Why can’t the Dems understand this simple point?

ArmyAunt on April 14, 2008 at 7:34 AM

I believe I have the answer why they refuse to listen to this point. They are stuck on their kindergarten logic. First, the leftists believe that if you be nice to someone they will be nice back to you. Bullies in middle school provide convincing argument to the falseness of that belief, but most adults seem to forget everything they experienced as teenagers. (I don’t understand why they do, but it cuts across the political spectrum.) Second, the leftists value diversity for its own sake. In response to this idiocy, I’ve made a t-shirt that is quite similar to the t-shirts you see around that have the words “Embrace Diversity” with the symbols of the major religions underneath. I just add in a swastika and a hammer and sickle.

thuja on April 14, 2008 at 8:43 AM

Everyone knows that the focus is Iran. They are the target. They have to be dealt with. We’ve accomplished a lot by positioning ourselves on either side. Iran knows this and is frantically trying to prevent us from doing this. Sanctions are not working and the obvious is only a matter of time. The Iranian government, military and nuclear program has been in the computer for quite a while and when it happens it will only take a couple of hours to take it all out. Very little of the civilian population will be harmed. The nuclear program will be hit with weapons that burrow deep into the ground and they will collapse on itself leaving it buried under enough so that there will be no leakage. It has to be done, it’s the only thing that can be done to deal with islamorabies.

John Cunningham on April 14, 2008 at 8:49 AM

mjk’s biggest irritation with drive-by historians is that they spend forever saying what should have happened in particular historical situations such as:
1. The Allies should have bombed the crematoriums/train tracks in the concentration camps during WW2.
2. The Israelis should have drove the Hezb’allah up to the Litani River in 2006.
3. The coalition should not have invaded Iraq.
4. The US elections in 2000 and 2004 – period.

Well, guess what, none of the happened. We live with decisions, good or bad, all the time. Things happen, you either learn from them and try your best to make the situation better or you spend forever and a day harping about the past should have gone a completely different way. Well, until a time machine is built, TS.

/rant off.

P.S. The coalition in Iraq should stay until the job is done, not run off like a bunch of little girls because the governments are scared…

mjk on April 14, 2008 at 8:59 AM

Why can’t the Dems understand this simple point?

ArmyAunt on April 14, 2008 at 7:34 AM

The short answer: They’re simple.

Kowboy on April 14, 2008 at 9:18 AM

Why can’t the Dems understand this simple point?
ArmyAunt on April 14, 2008 at 7:34 AM

Its not about wining, its about whining.

2klbofun on April 14, 2008 at 9:42 AM

News Flash… After 53,000 plus American and two million plus Vietnamese dead; we got run out of Ho Chi Minh City in the last departing “Huey”! – J_Gocht

Wrong. Study some history. Operation Linebacker 2 in particular.

Tony737 on April 14, 2008 at 9:58 AM

Wow, Thanks Ed.

Sgt_H on April 14, 2008 at 10:21 AM

The Democrat do understand.
They understand that if Iraq is save, secure, successful, and decent, they have lost the war of politics and will be replaced for MANY,MANY,MANY years.

Their next move could be arming Al-Qeada because it has come down to that.

Mike Mose on April 14, 2008 at 10:49 AM

I don’t view the Left as being stuck in kindergarten. I think they are a bit older than that. I see them more as acting as “battered spouses”. Despite the number of times the other person beats them they make endless excuses for the beater–including blaming themselves for being beaten.

Faith1 on April 14, 2008 at 11:17 AM

I think the Iraqis would have a right to be “bitter” if President Barry were to eff them over…

Liberals are insane…

benrand on April 14, 2008 at 11:18 AM

Why can’t the Dems understand this simple point?

The uncomfortable truth is that many Democrats and their colleagues on the left understand this point all to well. The simple fact of the matter is that one simply can’t have it both ways. Either (as you suggest) they have the military and strategic intellect of a five year old or they are completely amoral and simply fighting a myopic political battle in which they hope a failure of the military mission translates into political gain. I’m afraid it is as simple as that.

The Democrats are fearful of success and have sought to move the goal lines. En masse the Democrats claimed a military victory was unattainable and that we must sue for a negotiated peace. Most recently, we are told we must begin to stand down because the Iraqi government has been slow to move speedily towards a transparent democratic society. Lest the Democrats forget, the US constitution was not ratified until 1887.

Last night 60 Minutes re-aired a program that focused on high levels of corruption within the Iraqi government. One surmises that this is part of a new effort to suggest that Iraq is not only incapable but unworthy of continuing our efforts. It will be interesting to see the 60 Minutes piece is a precursor to a new MSM front.

moxie_neanderthal on April 14, 2008 at 11:49 AM

Now is not the time to show the world that America runs from its allies and its enemies.

But.. but.. but.. leaving Iraq .. “messy” is going to restore our reputation in the world… Pelosi, Reid, Obama and Clinton … and just about every D that has an opinion.. (ok all of them)… told me so!

Honestly I don’t understand how any intelligent person can now look back at the situation with Saddam pre-invasion and not grasp the necessity for removing him. And once that was done not to be able to understand that a new governmental system would need to be built is rather naive to me.

And yes I agree this war could have been over a long time ago, but not because of an administration that wasn’t heavy-handed enough but because of an enemy that found allies in our own MSM and traitors in the Pentagon and State and CIA who leaked information to undermine the CiC and elected congress members whose prime interest is the next election cycle.

Good points Ed and thanks to VFF for their dedication to continue their service to our county.

Texas Gal on April 14, 2008 at 12:17 PM

Hooray for Democratic Islam!

BL@KBIRD on April 14, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Readers here may not be aware but David Bellavia is running for the House of Representatives in NY. He announced it friday I believe. Blackfive has the info.

Just A Grunt on April 14, 2008 at 1:56 PM

“Democracy” and “Arab” in the same sentence. Oh man, stop! My stomach hurts. You might as well write that locusts are about to embark on their first mission to Mars.

In addition, no country is a “Democracy.” Unless the bastardized and dumbed-down version is used. The United States is a Federal Republic … it is not a Democracy. That a member of Congress could “represent” millions flies in the face of the term.

OhEssYouCowboys on April 14, 2008 at 2:08 PM

I was on the ground in Iraq for 16 months, and in that time I talked to hundreds of Iraqis. Some didn’t like us; some wanted us to leave, but most did not.

After five years, what have we won?

Anything?

Listening to Gen. David Petraeus low-ball the much-vaunted surge’s effect — “I wouldn’t ever use the word success or victory or anything like that,” he recently told Voice of America — and express frustration at the pace of Iraqi “reconciliation” to The Washington Post, it’s hard to say yes. And especially not after sifting through the more disturbing findings of a recent BBC poll of Iraqi opinion. For selective optimists, the poll does indeed reflect an increasing Iraqi optimism, which has cheered conservatives as happy anniversary news. What has gone more or less overlooked (or dismissed) are the survey results indicating a shocking Iraqi hostility to America’s efforts on Iraq’s behalf.

For example, 79 percent of Iraqis have not much or no confidence in U.S. forces; 70 percent think U.S. forces have done a bad or very bad job; and, most appalling, 42 percent think attacks on U.S. forces are acceptable. Acceptable! This last figure is down 15 points from six months ago, so I suppose we should applaud the “progress.” But just imagine if, after D-Day in 1944, 42 percent of the French believed attacking Americans was “acceptable”; or if after the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in 1950, 42 percent of South Koreans did, too; or if 42 percent of Grenadians after being liberated by Ronald Reagan in 1983 were of the same violently anti-American mind.
- Diana West (JWR)

MB4 on April 14, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Hooray for Democratic Islam!

BL@KBIRD on April 14, 2008 at 1:26 PM

And hooray for #uckin for chastity!

MB4 on April 14, 2008 at 2:42 PM

“We haven’t turned any corners. We haven’t seen any lights at the end of the tunnel.” – Gen. Petraeus to the Senate Armed Service Committee on April 8th, 2008.

aengus on April 14, 2008 at 3:40 PM

most of them are not going to commit to America unless they are assured that America is committed to them.

…and I wish I could truthfully tell them that we are committed (the politicians anyway, I know troops are), but with Obomba on the horizon…

labrat on April 14, 2008 at 3:42 PM

As Michael reminds us, we can argue over 2002-3 all we want, but it doesn’t have anything to do with 2008

I agree.

We are in Iraq, and al-Qaeda is arrayed against our troops. In fact, this is the best possible situation if we want to fight terrorists — to have them on a battlefield in straight-up fights against our military. It’s exactly what terrorists don’t want.

This ‘strategic advantage’ argument emerged once the nation’s original goals in Iraq started to drift out of reach. After 9-11, no one in the military seriously said that in order to protect the US, the best strategy was to invade Iraq to engage foreign fighters in a war abroad. In fact, many military leaders reminded us in the aftermath of 9-11 that the war against terror would not be won through traditional conventional warfare- a fact that this nation still needs to accept.

Anyway, if the US did eventually leave Iraq once its own security forces are strong enough to defend the country, wouldn’t we continue to engage foreign fighters in Afghanistan? Who said the theatre of conflict needs to be in Iraq? This is a very hollow argument.

bayam on April 14, 2008 at 3:47 PM

Who said the theatre of conflict needs to be in Iraq? This is a very hollow argument.

bayam on April 14, 2008 at 3:47 PM

You know how a lot of folks used to believe that the earth was the center of the universe, well now some folks believe that it is Iraq.

It is called the Church of the Iraqi-Centric. It has many similarities to the Church of Global Warming although niether congregations would ever admit it.

MB4 on April 14, 2008 at 4:03 PM

Honestly I don’t understand how any intelligent person can now look back at the situation with Saddam pre-invasion and not grasp the necessity for removing him

Do you know much about the Middle East?

a) US efforts to transform the Middle East ended up elevating Iran to the position of prominent power. Prior to the invasion, the US and its allies were prominent- a far better scenario.

b) Transforming Iraq from a secular state (alcohol, sexual freedoms, no beards) into a Islamic ‘democracy’ under Shiite law will lead to much warmer relations with Iran. Iraq is no longer able to maintain any balance of power against traditional US enemies.

c) Containment was working.

d) It was clear that if the US had waited another 2-3 months before invading, Saddam would have been overthrown by a coalition formed by one of his sons that was in the final planning stages.

e) Most conservative estimates place the effect of the war on oil prices at $15 – $20 per barrel. Most experts now agree that OPEC can no longer control the price of oil.

f) According to the WSJ, Bush’s most powerful legacy may be the redistribution of worldwide wealth to the Middle East; the amount of wealth flowing into the region now and over the next 20 years is staggering.

g) Most Iranian experts agree that Ahmadinejad would have been forced out of power by now if not for hitting the oil jackpot. His ruinous economic policies would have otherwise caused extreme pain to the Iranian people and widespread unrest.

h) Are there more or less terrorists in the world as a result of the war in Iraq? America has lost credibility and stature. The inability of the US to convincingly win in Iraq has given terrorist recruits a believable cause to support.

i) In addition to lives, a massive amount of treasure has been committed to Iraq and politicians continue to hide its true cost and fail to finance it with taxes. The soaring budget deficit, combined with trade deficits, have been key drivers of the dollar losing about 40% of its value. Americans have lost a significant amount of purchasing power. If this trend continues, the dollar will lose its status as the world’s primary currency. And if the Euro replaces the dollar, Wall Sreet will most likely lose its primacy in the world’s financial markets. This will result in a serious loss of economic power for the United States as a whole.

bayam on April 14, 2008 at 4:11 PM

Everyone knows that the focus is Iran.

Agreed and to those that fail to grasp this reality and offer no alternative to confronting the spread of Islamic totalitarianism, what ya gonna do when they come for you?

Surely an isolationist policy derived on a calculus based on ignorance of intent, a denial of observable actions and a deliberate choice to disregard the historically record sounds appealing. All Hail the Messiah!

dmann on April 14, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Everyone knows that the focus is Iran.

Someone forgot to tell George W. Bush as he sure thinks that it is Iraq.

MB4 on April 14, 2008 at 4:27 PM

bayam, many of the points you offer are flawed, but this is the worst.

Are there more or less terrorists in the world as a result of the war in Iraq? America has lost credibility and stature. The inability of the US to convincingly win in Iraq has given terrorist recruits a believable cause to support.

Total BS, in no time in history has the terrorist really had to consider the afterlife. They are being slaughtered while wearing out there welcome using the indiginous people of the lands they wish to conquer as a murderous political statement.

If we pull out and let these animals off the hook, no bigger recruiting tool would be required.

Sonosam on April 14, 2008 at 4:30 PM

Iraq is like a bug zapper for terrorists.

Tantor on April 14, 2008 at 4:54 PM

Someone forgot to tell George W. Bush as he sure thinks that it is Iraq.

Saddam provided the US with a unique opportunity to establish a significantly belligerent,forward deployed military presence on the Iranian doorstep with the “blessing” of the world community visa via the UN. GW’s failure to use this gift and prosecute an overtly hostile policy against the Iranian military and nuclear facilities is unforgivable! Why Bush screwed the pooch on this is still a mystery.

dmann on April 14, 2008 at 5:27 PM

bayam on April 14, 2008 at 4:11 PM

Thanks for the laugh.

Like I said: Honestly I don’t understand how any intelligent person can now look back at the situation with Saddam pre-invasion and not grasp the necessity for removing him

Texas Gal on April 14, 2008 at 6:28 PM

“News Flash… After 53,000 plus American and two million plus Vietnamese dead; we got run out of Ho Chi Minh City in the last departing “Huey”!
J_Gocht on April 14, 2008 at 8:39 AM


Hot Air Moderator…Dear Madam or Sir,

When I initially posted the above comments and they didn’t appear almost instantaneously in the general “thread of the post” I assumed …
They “[You] can’t stand the truth!”

It would now appear that my initial “lack of faith” has been reconsidered and as only a lonely “bird in the wilderness” my faith in the wisdom and the truth and the American Way has been reestablished!

Drive on!
Thank you…

J_Gocht on April 14, 2008 at 6:30 PM

Gentlemen, the General appreciates all your thoughts.
He especially will consider those that run contrary to his own!
For in diversity may be found victory..?

J_Gocht on April 14, 2008 at 8:31 PM

I figured this one out years ago. We have a recent history of abandoning our allies; Vietnam in 1975 was the beginning. Millions died because of it. I have heard no apology from those that cut off aid and support for South Vietnam. Senator Kennedy was a leader in the effort in 1975 and is so in today’s effort to abandon allies. We abandoned Lebanon to Syria, the Shah of Iran to the radical Islamists, and twice stabbed the Kurds in the back. Why the Kurds like us so much is beyond my understanding. Now we see the same thing being tried in the whole of Iraq. In 1991 we encouraged the Iraqi’s to rise up and when they did in the southern portion of Iraq we stood by and watched Saddam slaughter them. But, hey, we did the same thing to the Hungarians in 1956.

We are fortunate that anyone supports us in Iraq. President Bush has more political courage than President Ford had in 1975, but he will be gone from the scene in 9 months. To abandon Iraq will make al Qaeda the winner by default and we will just have to fight them elsewhere on their terms with probably worse casualties. With both Democratic candidates advocating leaving Iraq, regardless of the situation on the ground, that alone is sufficient for me to vote Republican.

amr on April 14, 2008 at 8:55 PM

“…I figured this one out years ago. We have a recent history of abandoning our allies;”

Right on…!

“…We abandoned Lebanon to Syria, the Shah of Iran to the radical Islamists, and twice stabbed the Kurds in the back. Why the Kurds like us so much is beyond my understanding

.

Right on…!

“…In 1991 we encouraged the Iraqi’s to rise up and when they did in the southern portion of Iraq we stood by and watched Saddam slaughter them. But, hey, we did the same thing to the Hungarians in 1956…”

Right on…!

amr on April 14, 2008 at 8:55 PM
Holy J…M…& J…!

amr… How about the “slit trench” we dug in Vietnam and Laos?

YOUR’RE SPOT ON..!

Oss…!

J_Gocht on April 14, 2008 at 10:16 PM

Iraqis aren’t stupid — and they’re watching us
posted at 7:25 am on April 14, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

OK eddy..!
If they aren’t stupid — and they’re watching us …question is…?

Has Newt Gingrich, professor extradinore of history had a sit down with Maliki?

Explaining our past history of politicians that don’t have providence to “hoe their own rows”?
We loose a little and they loose everything!
Eventually “a little” becomes “a lot”… pass my extraordinary mistakes on…!

President George W. Bush, President of the United States of America.

J_Gocht on April 14, 2008 at 10:47 PM

c) Containment was working.

d) It was clear that if the US had waited another 2-3 months before invading, Saddam would have been overthrown by a coalition formed by one of his sons that was in the final planning stages.
….
bayam on April 14, 2008 at 4:11 PM

I was reading your post in all seriousness until I got to these two points. You seem to have deluded yourself into thinking it would all just work out without any effort on our parts.
Containment was definitely not working. Saddam had already managed to turn Oil-for-Food into a cash cow, corrupting virtually the entire UN. (Insert joke here) The longer the sanctions lasted against Iraq, the more money Saddam made.

And while I’m quite sure there were plans to overthrow Saddam, it requires a great deal of gullibility to be certain his overthrow was just around the corner. Iraq was always full of plots to overthrow Saddam. But Saddam was a great survivor.

Your particular delusion is exactly why we stopped short during the first Gulf War. We hoped Saddam would be overthrown without us having to do any work. In our defense, it seemed plausible at that time. But nearly a dozen years later, to make the same mistake again would have been inexcusable. Basically, if we didn’t want Saddam to be in power in Iraq, it was up to us to get rid of him.

Which we did, for better or worse.

theregoestheneighborhood on April 15, 2008 at 1:02 AM

As Michael reminds us, we can argue over 2002-3 all we want, but it doesn’t have anything to do with 2008. We are in Iraq, and al-Qaeda is arrayed against our troops. In fact, this is the best possible situation if we want to fight terrorists — to have them on a battlefield in straight-up fights against our military. It’s exactly what terrorists don’t want. If they wanted to fight our military, they wouldn’t use bomb commuter trains and fly civilian airplanes into their targets.

This is indeed the core of the issue. We’ve had a bad habit of abandoning our allies, from the Hungarians revolting against the Soviets, to abandoning Lebanon to Syria, to cutting off the South Vietnamese after promising to support them, to the Shah of Iran, to urging Iraqis to revolt against Saddam at the end of the first Gulf War, then standing by while Saddam waded through blood to put down the revolt.

Both Republican and Democratic administrations have been responsible for some of this, but the Democrats do excel at giving everything away to their enemies while stabbing their allies in the back. Obama continues the tradition, promising to negotiate with Iran and North Korea, but suggesting he would run roughshod over Pakistan if needed.

If we turn our backs on Iraq, we lose all credibility as an ally. Every nation in the world will have to know they’re best off to ally themselves with our enemies, because they can’t trust us to be loyal to them.

theregoestheneighborhood on April 15, 2008 at 1:13 AM

If the argument about Iraq were re formed to include this important element (hanging out the Iraqis to dry TWICE) I think the dynamic would really change. Now it’s a matter of injecting it into the MSM’s bloodstream.

ikez78 on April 15, 2008 at 1:37 PM