We were disappointed that Saddam's defeat did not break his hold on power, as many of our Arab allies had predicted and we had come to expect. President Bush repeatedly declared that the fate of Saddam Hussein was up to the Iraqi people. Occasionally, he indicated that removal of Saddam would be welcome, but for very practical reasons there was never a promise to aid an uprising. While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in "mission creep," and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.'s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different -- and perhaps barren -- outcome.
I find it a little creepy that it really appears that Bush's opponents are actually happy that Iraq is an enormously expensive disaster that has cost tens of thousands of lives.
The people of England have been led in Mesopotamia into a trap from which it will be hard to escape with dignity and honour. They have been tricked into it by a steady withholding of information. The Baghdad communiques are belated, insincere, incomplete. Things have been far worse than we have been told, our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows. It is a disgrace to our imperial record, and may soon be too inflamed for any ordinary cure. We are to-day not far from a disaster.
"We had controversial wars that divided the country. This war united the country and brought the military back."
(Newsweek's Howard Fineman--MSNBC, 5/7/03)
...and 3 years from now we may look back and laugh at the quotes of today.
"TIM RUSSERT: If you were to be asked whether things in Iraq are going well or badly, what would you say? How would you answer?
PACE: I’d say they’re going well. I wouldn’t put a great big smiley face on it, but I would say they’re going very, very well from everything you look at."
"Along with the contention that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, President Bush, Vice President Cheney and other top administration officials have often asserted that there were extensive ties between Hussein's government and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network; earlier this year, Cheney said evidence of a link was 'overwhelming.'"
"March was supposed to be the month when the U.S. commander in Iraq made a recommendation to pull more troops out of Iraq. Instead, he has asked for more troops to be sent in."
[CBS News | March 14, 2006]
Only 3% of Americans believe Bush decided to go to war to free the Iraqis or promote democracy.
Only 25% of Americans believe the Iraq war was worth the costs.
White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday that such a conflict could cost $50 billion to $60 billion.
There's a lot of money to pay for this that doesn't have to be U.S. taxpayer money...We are dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction and relatively soon
I'd say they're going well.
"A majority of Americans, 56 percent, believe Bush is 'out of touch,' the [Pew Research Center's latest] poll found. When asked for a one-word description of Bush, the most frequent response was 'incompetent,' followed by 'good,' 'idiot' and 'liar.' In February 2005, the most frequent reply was 'honest.'
'The transformation from being seen as honest to being seen as incompetent is an extraordinary indicator of how far he has fallen,' [Andrew] Kohut, [director of the Pew Research Center] said."
[Reuters | March 16, 2006]
"There are some who feel like that, you know, the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is bring them on."
...according to a colleague of mine from TIME who traveled up there today on a U.S. embassy-sponsored trip, there are no insurgents, no fighting and 17 of the 41 prisoners taken have already been released after just one day.
As noted, about 1,500 troops were involved, 700 American and 800 Iraqi. But get this: in the area they’re scouring there are only about 1,500 residents. According to my colleague and other reporters who were there, not a single shot has been fired.
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