How Could We Have Predicted This ?

It still bothers me a great deal that conservative commentators like Andrew Sullivan still manage to criticize the motives of pre-war critics, even while apologizing for their part in the process. Quote :

Observing this, many of us have gone from denial to despair to grim hope to acceptance that the scale of the task was greater than even the pessimists foresaw and the means deployed to achieve it almost pathetically unequal to the goal. I guess a miracle may eventually emerge. Maybe a de facto Iraqi partition after more bloodshed and sectarian massacres may pave the way for a more peaceful future. We can hope. But Baghdad is fast turning into what Beirut once was – a cualdron of unrestrained sectarian hate and violence, fomented by a few empowered by the incompetence in Washington. I’m left with contrition at my own small contribution to the misunderstanding; and abiding, deep, and furious anger at the administration who conducted this war with such arrogance and negligence.

Day after day, Sullivan repeats the same, sad lines about how no-one could have predicted the situation in Iraq and that those who did predict it either didn’t understand what they were talking about – like these guys

In late 2002, Mr. Ricks reports, 70 national security experts and Mideast scholars met at the National Defense University to discuss the looming war and concluded that occupying Iraq would “be the most daunting and complex task the U.S. and the international community will have undertaken since the end of World War II.”

– or predicted it for narrow partisan reasons. This is the first time that he hasn’t hedged his apology with the one about how Iraqis are better off because Saddam is no longer in power so it was all worth it after all. I wonder when Blair, Rice et al will stop doing that too.

I have tried to stay away from books about the war because it is all too depressing but this one looks like it might be worth the read, if only to remind myself of the reasons for starting the war before they are redacted from the official history. I don’t think we’ll be hearing much about “Fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” during this election cycle. I hope it goes the way of “we’ll be greeted as liberators” and “the war will pay for itself”. That is, I hope people will stop saying it as though they believe it, but I hope the full list is on display somewhere prominent so that the voters can peruse its contents.

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Ragged Clown

Based in San Jose, California

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