Thursday, July 07, 2005

Was George Bush Right About Iraq?

In light of today's bombing in London, does anyone want to argue that the war in Iraq has made us safer, as the Bush administration repeatedly insists?


Jess said...

Those schmucks will tell you we're "bringing the fight to them." Actually, at this point, they've made Iraq into an Al Qaeda fun park, so maybe we are now tangling with Al Qaeda a bit, but we're also fighting with plenty of pissed off Iraqis.

Of course, Al Qaeda wouldn't be there at all, if not for us. Iraq never attacked us, so our attack on them was a violation of international law. That's the bottom line. Nothing excuses the terrorist animals, but we're not helping anything.

Anthony said...

I'd like to hope not.

Renee Wagemans said...

Iraq is a perfect training camp in bitter agony for people that were at first not planning to attaq anyone. The y have a reason now

rob adams said...

(this post was even better comment-bait)

Here's what nobody is saying, because it isn't marketable enough for American consumer-sloths:
Our MidEast vassal states, especially Egypt and Saudi, are within 5-10 years of a coup/revolution. We went to war in Iraq to install a democracy, and an accompanying trend, within the MidEast to avoid this eventuality.
A democratic Iraq, and a democracy-growing MidEast, will most certainly make the West safer, far safer.

It's either naive (or disingenuous) to think that jiffy-pop wars exist, where instant benefits are realized mere months after a democracy sets up shop.

(Remember, a WGermany or Japan without Soviet tanks and ships at the ready, would have most certainly been just as unstable as Iraq is today. Fear of your occupiers' enemy has a crazy way of instilling peace.)

Unlike a tv-miniseries, this is gonna take a number of years to sort out, not weeks, and definitely not months. But, hey, maybe a democratic MidEast ain't worth the price. Maybe we should start negotiating conditions with UBL?

When you engage the enemy (Islamic Extremism), as we have now done in Iraq (a honey pot to these flies), you should logically anticipate actions like those on 7/7. That's how wars operate.

Abandon your notions of jiffy-pop wars, and expect more, closer to home. The West will win this war, but not by invading just one country, or two, but by transforming an entire region.

That takes time, patience, sacrifice, and an understanding that American ideals belong to the world as much they do to the USA.

Andy said...

I strenuously disagree with all attempts to compare the reconstruction of Iraq to Japan and Germany following WWII, for the singular reason that both of those countries contained homogenous cultures. Furthermore, while there are certainly some differences, German culture and American culture share a common heritage, so we understand each other a lot better than Americans and Iraqis understand each other. American soldiers in Germany weren't faced with this whole delicate but crucial set of social customs that they face in the Muslim world.

Iraq has always been ready to tear itself apart along its Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish faultlines. This was a nonexistent issue in WWII.

Furthermore, both Japan and Germany launched wars of aggression, and we won decisive victories. There weren't German and Japanese guerrilla insurrection campaigns against the American occupational forces, AND, the US had a clear timetable and specifically outlined goals for the postwar period.

No, the only remotely apt comparisons to Iraq would be the ethnic strife of the Balkan wars and the Vietnam disaster.

This was not MY notion of a jiffy-pop war; that's what Bush promised the American people. Do I need to remind you that Rumsfeld told the public before the invasion that troop withdrawal would begin within 6 months and that the general who insiste the occupation would require "hundreds of thousands" of troops was forced into resignation?

I support wholeheartedly the basic conceit that democracy is good for the Middle East, and that it doesn't happen overnight.

I reject categorically that democracy can be installed at gunpoint.

Andy said...

Oh yes, WWII was not a religious war. Yes, anti-semitism played an enormous role, but Hitler didn't bomb London or invade Paris because of anti-Semitism. It was a political war, pure and simple.

Iraq is not. Regardless of what George Bush says, it's a religious war. It is because most of the Arab world believes it is. Religious wars cannot be won. Battles, sure, but wars of ideology last for centuries. This by far has been Bush's greatest blunder, that every step he's taken has played right into the stereotype set up for him by bin Laden and others. We have done next to nothing in the name of altruism for these people, and what little we have done has been grossly outweighed by the atrocities of torture and incompetence.

rob adams said...

I wonder what type of governments might exist in either Germany or Japan without US military intervention. I think that's an easy question.

We have in the past installed democracies at gunpoint and shall, probably, continue to do so when vital to the world's stability, never mind the West's.

We can spend hours (and hours ;-) debating how instrumental, or not, the US military's role was in either post-war WGermany's or Japan's then truly nascent democracies. But, i think we all know, democracy would have never existed in either state without US military intervention.

(And we all know Japan's rich, rich democratic history prior to WWII, making such a transformation practically instinctive to its inhabitants. ;-] )

The fact of the matter is this:
We *have* created a democratic Iraq. (That's so non-PC in NYC, i know, but hey...) The largest, first internationally certified, free election in the MidEast's history was recently held in Iraq, albeit under the protection of US guns. We have most certainly created a democracy in the MidEast, and possibly two-to-three more by years end by indirect "influence" -- and example.

Eventually, a non-democratic, theocratic-oligarchic MidEast, either controlled by one, or maybe two opposing state(s) is not in the US, or West's interests. If you look forward to working on a farm all day to feed yourself in 30 years, then you might think otherwise. I do not. Few Americans understand that this is exactly where a non-democratic MidEast would stear our economy, given enough time.

Never mind the moral implications of further tolerating such non-democratic states, or our obligation to correct the injustices of our State's forefathers.

Sometimes dramatic changes require dramatic methods. We're at just such an historic junction.

Andy said...

Rob, you intelligent conclusions, but from faulty premises.

Yes, when Hitler became Chancellor of Germany he burned the Reichstag and dismantled the Parliament, but his initial rise to power came through purely democratic processes. Hitler did not really enjoy broad national support, but his subsequent actions made it impossible for people to express dissent without losing their lives and families.

And yes, while Japan was a hereditary empire, you have to understand that since the 1600s Japan was torn between its fidelity to tradition and its fascination with and desire to modernize, which continues today. There was in fact tremendous desire to democratize in Japan following the war, and the country as a whole was pretty cooperative.

I refuse to give George W. Bush any credit at all for the blossoming democracy in Iraq. I think the more correct viewpoint is that democracy is appearing there DESPITE Bush. Yes, we removed Hussein, who was clearly the principle obstacle. But we didn't have to do it through a catastrophic invasion and disastrous occupation. I will always believe there could have been a peaceful, diplomatic resolution.

The recent Iraqi election was a great success, but it could have happened much sooner had we not destabilized the entire country. Furthermore, the security situation deteriorated to the point where candidates ran anonymously and it wasn't clear to the voters exactly who stood for what. In fact, a great many Iraqis voted for candidates that they believed were going to toss the Americans out. If Bush is going to tout the success of the elections, he should be honest about what the salient message from the Iraqi people was: they resent America's presence.