November 30, 2022

Where Would We Be?

Great Question, Dick…

Dick Cheney says that “the fact is, the world is better off today with Saddam Hussein out of power” and that we should be grateful and “Think where we’d be if he was still there.”

Polimom, a Houston-area blogger of some note called gives an him answer I can’t take issue with.

I think that it’s highly unlikely that Iraq was ever a threat to the U.S. at all – certainly the WMD issue was a bald-faced lie on the part of the Bush administration – and now 50,000 people are dead.  Where is the right in that, Dick?  Yes, Saddam would have done some measure of his own people in during the last 3 years, but hardly in those numbers.  But that’s never been what this war has been about.

The fact is that the Bushes and the military wanted to take down Iraq to make up for the blunder they made by not doing it back in 1990.  They wanted to build a democracy in the desert and they thought that sanctions had weakened Iraq’s military to the point that they couldn’t fight back – correct.  They thought that the rest of the region would be too scared to do oppose us – incorrect.  They also thought that a bare minimum number of troops could handle whatever scum the Iranians and the rest could brainwash into committing their now-infamous suicide attacks – incorrect.  They thought that it would be possible to create order out of chaos by holding out the vision of a superior value system and a set of democratic ideals – also incorrect.

Cheney said, “I think there is no question but that we did not anticipate an insurgency that would last this long.”

The question is, did the administration anticipate that there would be any insurgency at all?  As I understand it, before the Iraq invasion the best military planners called for almost twice the number of “boots on the ground” as we put into Iraq.  These plans weren’t implemented, obviously, and a general, Tommy Franks, was found who was game to go ahead with what he was given.  Even then, a sizable number of troops he’d hoped to have at his disposal were not deployed.

We were going to win this thing practically unopposed because we have the better society and the better set of moral and social ideals.  We deserved to win, so we would – that’s the thought pattern that drove their plans, I believe.  But as Clint Eastwood once said, “Deserve’s got nothing to do with it.”

That the core American values of democracy/republicanism, capitalism, and individual freedom are superior to those of Islamic nations is true, I think, on almost every objectively measurable point.  That doesn’t mean, however, that we’re going to be able to force those ideals down the throats of people willing to blow themselves to bits over a cartoon in a newspaper.

The truth is that, as our troops have (re)discovered in Iraq, it only takes a few bad apples to keep our type of commerce-based society from functioning.  America wins, Mr. Cheney, because our way of life generates more new ideas, gives more people opportunities, and produces more individual wealth than any other system created to-date – not because of our military prowess.  This is especially true when that strength is shown, for all the world to see, to be lacking.

Are the mullahs in Iran shaking in their boots right now?  Hardly.  They’re emboldened by what’s happened in Iraq, because we screwed it up and can’t pull the fat from the fire now, and they know that we can’t touch them militarily.  Somehow I don’t think that’s what you had in mind at all, is it, Dick?

Or are you all smarter than I think and this situation is exactly what was anticipated and desired?

marc

Marc is a software developer, writer, and part-time political know-it-all who currently resides in Texas in the good ol' U.S.A.

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6 thoughts on “Where Would We Be?

  1. Funny you should mention Afghanistan as it would have been nice to have fully secured that country before flitting off to Iraq, to say nothing of doing away with the enemy that’s operating out of Pakistan even now.

    There are a couple of problems with Bush’s Axis of Evil analogy:

    1. North Korea is more of a threat to itself than anyone else
    2. Iraq was, as you point out, a potential future threat but was:
    * thoroughly contained
    * militarily weak
    * not affiliated with “the enemy of the moment”

    The AoE remarks also seem to have served to legitimize the hard-line Islamists in Iran and destroyed any chance that country had of becoming a progressive “democracy” in this decade.

    But as I recall the topic was whether Bush knowingly lied to the American people in 2002 about Iraq’s current possession of WMD, not whether the lie – if that’s what it was – was justified by other considerations, such as future potential development/use.

    Let’s call the administration’s statements “considered mistakes” if that will make it easier to accept. By making these CMs, the administration short-circuited the normal republican process of issue-debate-decision-action and jumped directly to the action stage with its own agenda. Would the normal process have led to an invasion of Iraq? I doubt it. That’s ultimately why the CMs were made, IMHO – so we could get Iraq. Why? Oil, revenge, the “retirement” of Hussein, the forcible creation of democracy into the Middle East – all of these things factored into the decision to go into Iraq.

    The invasion of Iraq may ultimately prove to be a good decision. Perhaps in 5 or 10 years we’ll know. But let’s not pretend that it was a clear-cut case and that the sale of the war to the public was done with full and honest disclosure.

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