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"An evangelical vision of geopolitical redemption."
November 23, 2006 12:26 AM   Subscribe

Iraq: The War of the Imagination. "Anyone seeking to understand what has become the central conundrum of the Iraq war—how it is that so many highly accomplished, experienced, and intelligent officials came together to make such monumental, consequential, and, above all, obvious mistakes, mistakes that much of the government knew very well at the time were mistakes—must see beyond what seems to be a simple rhetoric of self-justification and follow it where it leads: toward the War of Imagination that senior officials decided to fight in the spring and summer of 2002 and to whose image they clung long after reality had taken a sharply separate turn." By Mark Danner. [Via Tomdispatch.]
posted by homunculus (83 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 




And, of course, there's the question of Iran.
posted by homunculus at 12:37 AM on November 23, 2006


Great article. Western mind, patriarchy, control. Now I guess it's onto the next stage, time to Partition Iraq ...
posted by wavejumper at 12:59 AM on November 23, 2006


Anyone seeking to understand what has become the central conundrum of the Iraq war—how it is that so many highly accomplished, experienced, and intelligent officials came together to make such monumental, consequential, and, above all, obvious mistakes, mistakes that much of the government knew very well at the time were mistakes

I'm wondering what highly accomplished, experienced and intelligent officials he's talking about? All I can come up with is Colon and he was just playing soldier and following orders.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:16 AM on November 23, 2006


Now I guess it's onto the next stage, time to Partition Iraq

Can we partition the US while we're at it? How bout it, say, 3 different countries, East US, Middle, and West US? Please?
posted by slater at 1:19 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


nah, if you going to partition the US you have to do it better than that. We need a state of Superior. NE MN, N WI, N MI, the rest of you can go hang. :P
posted by edgeways at 1:21 AM on November 23, 2006


Naw, see then you are going to get the ethnic cheese-heads trying to "cleanse" the yoopers while the Minnesuegians go fishing.

Yeah, Balkanization is a great solution to every problem. Just look how well it worked for Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

3 different countries, East US, Middle, and West US? Please?

Oh, god. I can definitely see a shooting war starting there. The Middle and East would go at it immediately, then they'd both turn on the West, it would be a bloodbath!
posted by Pollomacho at 1:31 AM on November 23, 2006


it would be a bloodbath!

So, you're saying it wouldn't make any difference?
posted by IronLizard at 1:44 AM on November 23, 2006


Oh, wait wrong country. I think?
posted by IronLizard at 1:45 AM on November 23, 2006


Astonishing!
After the [9/11] attacks, Wolfowitz talked to his friend Christopher DeMuth, president of the American Enterprise Institute, who gathered together a group of intellectuals and academics for a series of discussions that came to be known as "Bletchley II" (after the World War II think tank of mathematicians and cryptographers set up at Bletchley Park).[5]
What planet do these people come from..
posted by Chuckles at 2:18 AM on November 23, 2006


Blecchley II Department.
posted by stammer at 2:22 AM on November 23, 2006


America is the LAPD to Saddam's OJ Simpson..
The famous weapons of mass destruction are gone, most of them probably fifteen years gone, and their absence has likely damaged the United States and its power—the power, deployed daily, that depends on the authority of words and pronouncements and not directly or solely on force of arms— more severely than their presence ever could have. While no doubt convinced that Iraq had at least some chemical and biological weapons, Bush administration officials, like the cop framing a guilty man, vastly exaggerated the evidence and in so doing—and even as they refused to allow UN inspectors to examine and weigh that evidence— they severely undermined the credibility of the United States, the credibility of its intelligence agencies, and the support for the war and US policy among Americans, among Muslims, and around the world.
posted by Chuckles at 2:32 AM on November 23, 2006 [3 favorites]


Chuckles, that is one of the best analogies I've ever heard.
posted by Loudmax at 2:37 AM on November 23, 2006


Yeah, well said.
posted by Wolof at 2:58 AM on November 23, 2006


This struck me:

'Woodward recounts how Michael Gerson, at the time Bush's chief speechwriter, asked Henry Kissinger why he had supported the Iraq war:

"Because Afghanistan wasn't enough," Kissinger answered. In the conflict with radical Islam, he said, they want to humiliate us. "And we need to humiliate them." '

It's official, as far as I'm concerned: Kissinger's a cro-magnon. No wonder he got along so famously with Nixon. Why does anyone listen to this savage simpleton?
posted by toma at 3:06 AM on November 23, 2006


And why, then, Iraq? It's the Saudis that are Wahabis. Sheesh.
posted by toma at 3:15 AM on November 23, 2006


It's also the Saudis who kept bailing out Dubya's failing businesses. You wouldn't want him to be an ingrate, would you?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:57 AM on November 23, 2006


toma, check out Gwynne Dyer's article on the Lebannon situation: Isreal trying to re-establish deterrent (I posted about it here). Different war, of course, but apparently standard doctrine. It also explains the Christmas Bombing of North Vietnam. Not that I understand the doctrine.. Understand in the theoretical sense, that is, because there is obviously no understanding it when you consider reality, and humanity. I'd like to learn more..

Actually, I just finished reading (well, listening, technically) to Keegan's A History of Warfare. A major theme is Clausewitz and the notions of real war (ala realpolitik) and absolute war (Keegan calls it true war). Viewed from that perspective, the first part of Danner's article is.. Very interesting..
Three years and eight months after the Iraq war began, the secretary of defense and his allies see in Iraq not one war but two. One is the Real Iraq War—the "outright success" that only very few would deny, the war in which American forces were "greeted as liberators," according to the famous prediction of Dick Cheney which the Vice President doggedly insists was in fact proved true: "true within the context of the battle against the Saddam Hussein regime and his forces. That went very quickly."[4] It is "within this context" that the former secretary of defense and the Vice President see America's current war in Iraq as in fact comprising a brief, dramatic, and "enormously successful" war of a few weeks' duration leading to a decisive victory, and then...what? Well, whatever we are in now: a Phase Two, a "postwar phase" (as Bob Woodward sometimes calls it) which has lasted three and a half years and continues. In the first, successful, Real Iraq War, 140 Americans died. In the postwar phase 2,700 Americans have died— and counting. What is happening now in Iraq is not in fact a war at all but a phase, a non-war, something unnamed, unconceptualized—unplanned.
The "real iraq war" being the military thinker's ultimate dream of true war, while what is happening in Iraq now, so called asymmetrical warfare, is real war..

Which brings me back to that Kissinger quote (repeated for clarity):
"Because Afghanistan wasn't enough," Kissinger answered. In the conflict with radical Islam, he said, they want to humiliate us. "And we need to humiliate them." The American response to 9/11 had essentially to be more than proportionate—on a larger scale than simply invading Afghanistan and overthrowing the Taliban. Something else was essential. The Iraq war was essential to send a larger message, "in order to make a point that we're not going to live in this world that they want for us."
Kissinger, the famed expert in realpolitik, is falling back on some idealized notion of true war to formulate a response to 9/11; the same as his response to losing in Vietnam. Well, like I said, I need to learn more..

But ya, cro-magnon works.
posted by Chuckles at 4:08 AM on November 23, 2006


Before 9/11 the US was invincible. 9/11 shattered that image. Afghanistan was a righteous battle, but it was "not enough" to scare the world into thinking that the US was still invincible, because it didn't really allow us to get a lot of expensive planes in the air and tanks and expensive machinery on the ground where many Muslims could see the extent of our might. This is what Kissinger is talking about, trying to reassert the position of invulnerability that the US lost the moment those towers fell.

I totally agree with partitioning, I remember seeing it first mentioned here years ago, at the beginning of the war. These three ethnic groups are not going to get along. They have been "not getting along" since before the United States existed. Split them up, I say into independent states. The traditional argument against independent states is that the Kurds and the Sunnis have no oil territories. Well, is that really so much worse than what they have now? I give the Sunnis enough credit that if they had a few years in which their country was not torn by terrorism and violence that they could probably figure out a way to get by without the oil profits.

We lose in Iraq, America go home.
posted by sophist at 4:09 AM on November 23, 2006


Balkanization will work fine, just like it did in the Balkans. Oh, wait. Fuck!
posted by stammer at 4:29 AM on November 23, 2006


America is the LAPD to Saddam's OJ Simpson

A very weak analogy. For one thing, the LAPD didn't help murder Nicole and Ron. For another, OJ wasn't charged only with resisting arrest and traffic violations so that the police force's culpability in the murders could be swept under the rug. Third, the police didn't choose the judge and the jury. Fourth, none of OJ's lawyers were murdered during the trial. Fifth, while OJ's trial was a media circus, no one orchestrated it specifically to win a national election.
posted by Clay201 at 4:48 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


I totally agree with partitioning

Well, that's nice and everyone's entitled to an opinion, but we're not supposed to have a vote in this, remember? Iraq is supposed to be a sovereign nation, free to chart its own course, yadda yadda yadda. Or have we now stopped pretending that?
posted by Clay201 at 4:51 AM on November 23, 2006


Good links Chuckles, I will continue to check those out.

My thinking on all this is colored by my reading of Karnow's "Vietnam:" When pols know little about a people or region, they think they're being sophisticated by taking it all as a generality.

Karnow recounted how American advisers and military leaders never understood the nature of Ho Chi Minh's 'Communism,' preferring to think it's universally the same sanguine evil everywhere. They never understood Ho's fiercely independent nature, his using Communism as primarily a tool to liberate his country. (He hated China and the USSR.) To this day, strategists and pundits are still trying to figure out how we could have won, never venturing to guess that Vietnam is a unique place, that it would have taken a much more particular and sophisticated group of strategies to prevail--assuming that they would have wanted to continue to pursue a conflict with a small, rebellious, non-conspiratorial nation.

The crudest perception is evident, again, in Kissinger's blunt reasoning: 'We just need to show them:' The war of imagination.
posted by toma at 5:06 AM on November 23, 2006


it would have taken a much more particular and sophisticated group of strategies to prevail

There's nothing particularly sophisticated about killing and torturing people.

We wanted them to accept US domination, they refused. Our method of persuasion - wholesale violence - was and is the most effective method for achieving this goal in most situations, but it does have its limitations. In this instance, we simply didn't kill and torture enough Vietnamese to completely break their will. The only real change in strategy that we could have made would have been to kill and torture more of them. That doesn't sound terribly sophisticated to me.
posted by Clay201 at 5:24 AM on November 23, 2006


Whatever the final outcome, useful to remem ber this:
1. The Iraq invasion/war is at this point the onbly thing that might "redeemn" theBush legacy in history should the US prevail--but we will not. Therefore he is not likely to leave when others suggest it.

2. While it is easy enough to put the total blame on Bush, it is Congress that went along with his every move in a lickstep fashion.

3. If somesmarties (see aboive comments) want to divvy up the nation, I suggest the following fomula: Those states that send in more tax dollars than they get back be one nation; those states that get back more money than they send in, a second nation.
posted by Postroad at 5:55 AM on November 23, 2006


How bout it, say, 3 different countries, East US, Middle, and West US?

I refuse to live in a nation with so pedestrian a name as "Middle US." Please refer to us as Tatervania in future.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:15 AM on November 23, 2006


How about "Jesustan"?
posted by Grangousier at 6:19 AM on November 23, 2006


Catchy, and then we wouldn't have to bicker over what pictures to put on the money.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:29 AM on November 23, 2006


The Iraq invasion/war is at this point the onbly thing that might "redeemn" theBush legacy in history should the US prevail

smart point, but you forget something: if he uses a nuclear weapon he becomes the second man in history to have done so (after Truman). that's a big part of one's legacy, people remember Truman more for Hiroshima than for Korea
posted by matteo at 6:40 AM on November 23, 2006


"The Iraqi death toll hit a record high in October"

And every time someone dies, it hits another record high.

I saw that headline yesterday and thought "They do know it's not actually going to go lower, don't they?"
posted by mr_crash_davis at 6:58 AM on November 23, 2006


The fact that no trace of clue has been found in the Bush Administration is proof that they're deliberately concealing it.
posted by flabdablet at 7:13 AM on November 23, 2006 [2 favorites]


From the article: I traveled from polling place to polling place in that city of rubble, listening as the Fallujans told me of their anger at the Americans and the "Iranians" (as they called the leading Shiite politicians) and of their hatred for the constitution that they believed was meant to divide and thus destroy Iraq

This stood out for me, among many others things. We're fighting Saudia Arabian and Egyptian extremism by giving Iraq to Iran?

Oh to be a fly on the wall of the Oval Office as Bush, falling off the wagon for good, starts to make up an Enemies List. With whom will he start? Rumsfeld?
posted by bardic at 7:17 AM on November 23, 2006


Before 9/11 the US was invincible. 9/11 shattered that image.

I think the word you wanted was "invulnerable." What shattered any claim to invincibility was the boneheaded invasion of Iraq, and the subsequent helpless floundering.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:37 AM on November 23, 2006


matteo:

If Bush uses a nuke, there's a good chance that no one will remember him at all.
posted by Clay201 at 7:40 AM on November 23, 2006


It's interesting to see how the Administration built a "coalition" of conservative forces, each of which was joining for its own reasons. Evidently Wolfowitz thought that going after Iraq was a good idea because it was so weakened and without serious arms (hinting at knowledge that there were no WMDs; you wouldn't think of amassing tens of thousands of troops at the border of a country that you believe has chem/bio/nuclear weapons, really), and Iraq had always been a PNAC pet project anyway. People like Kissinger thought it was important to have a massive show of force in the middle east -- his motivation seemed to be little but "showing the Muslims that we can kick their asses more than they kicked ours" (not an actual quote, but that's what it boils down to; it was never that important who bore the brunt of the response, as long as it was a Muslim country). Oil people like Cheney and Rice probably drooled at the opportunity of Halliburton & others being able to openly buy and sell goods and services to and from the country with the second biggest proven light oil reserves in the world, instead of going through the three-card-monte system companies like Halliburton used during the embargo years.

And of course you had the "shoot from the hip" people like the President who saw the opportunity of "spreading democracy" and imagined that everyone had the same simplistic motivation that he did. Fascinating, really. I've been putting off reading Woodward's book because I'm busy reading other things, but it seems like it would probably be worth putting my other reading on hold for now...
posted by clevershark at 7:46 AM on November 23, 2006


Fourth, none of OJ's lawyers were murdered during the trial.

I think this sentence needs an unfortunately in there someplace.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:47 AM on November 23, 2006


Why not partition the U.S. into seperate nations along state boarders? At least New Orleans would survive its next hurricane!

Group "self determination" (partition) always means ethnic cleansing, yes. But we're just making it worse by fighting it.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:48 AM on November 23, 2006


I've read most of the major books out there on the invasion (The Assassin's Gate, Fiasco, COBRA II, State of Denial, etc) and I would say this is easily the most cogent and succint summary of the incredible failure that is the Iraq war. It's a great article... thanks for the FPP.

It's time for the US to pack up our shit and go home... turn this problem over to the UN and admit that we're not as great and clever as we've always thought we are. The rest of the world knows it, and it's time for America to catch up in that opinion.

Also, the senior members of the executive, State and the DoD need a long stretch in prison to reflect on their crimes against the American people.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 7:50 AM on November 23, 2006


me distrusts the evangelists; all evangelists.
posted by coldhotel at 8:04 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


So Danner is attempting to tease out an answer to "the central conundrum of the Iraq war—how it is that so many highly accomplished, experienced, and intelligent officials came together to make such monumental, consequential, and, above all, obvious mistakes, mistakes that much of the government knew very well at the time were mistakes [— . . . ] the most painful and intractable question about the Iraq war—how could US officials repeatedly and consistently make such ill-advised and improbably stupid decisions."

Excuse me while my eyes roll so far back in my head they'll stick. Jeepers, that's some intractable conundrum, all right, especially when you start with such an unassailable premise. In my day, we applied the Occam's Hoofbeats principle, and *trumpetfanfare*Wars of Imagination*trumpet fanfare* were called "delusional psychotic breaks" and "wilful, criminal, arrogant, preening idiocy."
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:06 AM on November 23, 2006


by providing too few troops to secure Iraq's borders they helped supply its forces with an unending number of Sunni Islamic extremists from neighboring states

Foreign fighters only make up 4-10% of the insurgency.

And every time someone dies, it hits another record high.
It's a monthly total.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:10 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


Which is not to say that the article doesn't also contain a lot of useful info and analysis. Fascinating.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:11 AM on November 23, 2006


Zuzu: Daddy, Teacher says, "Every time someone dies, the death toll hits another record high!"

George: That's right, honey. That's right.
posted by FelliniBlank at 8:18 AM on November 23, 2006 [1 favorite]


What actually needs to happen is for the US to pay massive war reparations to Iraq, but of course they need a stabl government of some sort in place first. Wishful thinking on both counts, sigh.
posted by Vindaloo at 8:39 AM on November 23, 2006


Oil people like Cheney and Rice probably drooled at the opportunity of Halliburton & others being able to openly buy and sell goods and services to and from the country

It's more fundamental than that. Once the sanctions regime was lifted, Saddam & Sons were going to go with Russian and French investment and thumb their noses at the US & USD$. Blair, the Italian PM, and Koizumi thought they saw a good access on the backend so pitched in too.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:08 AM on November 23, 2006


oh yeah, I forgot Poland.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:08 AM on November 23, 2006


Rumsfeld: It is very clear that the major combat operations were an enormous success. It's clear that in Phase Two of this, it has not been going well enough or fast enough.

This is something that has bothered me for a long time. In 2003 the Americans invaded a country that had been subjected to devastating sanctions for over 10 years, and had been subjected to bomb-at-will aerial surveillance by the USAF, RAF and others. Further, the country had been largely disarmed of its most effective weaponry by the UN. Then it was invaded and crushed by the most powerful military in the world (if by powerful, we mean, capable of producing pyrrhic victories). Something about defeating your enemy, weakening your enemy for 10 years, disarming your enemy, and then kicking the shit out of your enemy seems intensely dishonourable, regardless of what a scumbag your enemy's leadership was.

And in this context, a fading away of the Iraqi army, a campaign of attrition through guerilla warfare, a refusal to be completely annihilated on the battlefield was completely predictable and inevitable.
posted by Rumple at 9:10 AM on November 23, 2006






If Bush uses a nuke, there's a good chance that no one will remember him at all.

there's definitely a chance: what is he going to do if America gets hit again before January '09, when the next guy/gal comes in? he lacks the troops to do much else, I think he'd drop the bomb somewhere -- anywhere but Pakistan, essentially -- and go back to Texas with all (nucular) guns blazing.
posted by matteo at 9:26 AM on November 23, 2006


Rumple : "). Something about defeating your enemy, weakening your enemy for 10 years, disarming your enemy, and then kicking the shit out of your enemy seems intensely dishonourable, regardless of what a scumbag your enemy's leadership was. "

You know, sometimes, when I am watching American TV series, I get pretty impressed by how pervasive the school bully tradition seems to be. Every school, every grade seems to have its own large, brainless and insensitive kid whose sole function and joy is to humiliate and to beat the crap out of other, smaller kids. Sometimes the bully will even have some friends whose job is to hold the already doomed smaller kid while he is beaten up. Maybe there is a correlation here.
posted by nkyad at 9:31 AM on November 23, 2006


Nothing but woes for Baker group
posted by homunculus at 9:46 AM on November 23, 2006


It's official, as far as I'm concerned: Kissinger's a cro-magnon. No wonder he got along so famously with Nixon. Why does anyone listen to this savage simpleton?

A fair question. Maybe he really as as brilliant as everyone has long claimed, but given that he was a central figure in the two biggest blunders in the history of US foreign policy, you'd think it'd have some impact on his influence. How often do your strategies have to end in complete failure before the people you advise begin to question the genius of your strategic thinking?
posted by gompa at 9:47 AM on November 23, 2006


Something about defeating your enemy, weakening your enemy for 10 years, disarming your enemy, and then kicking the shit out of your enemy

and then back-patting yourself interminably for triumphing against all odds over such a daunting and wily adversary

seems intensely dishonourable. . . .

S'ok, it's all part of The War of the Imaginary.
posted by FelliniBlank at 9:50 AM on November 23, 2006


Heywood Mogroot writes "oh yeah, I forgot Poland."

Don't forget Poland :-)
posted by clevershark at 10:27 AM on November 23, 2006


What we need are some leaders who don't try to roll a rock up the hill to get it out of the way. Trying to save Iraq in its present state is to ignore its previous failure as a unified state, as if we are preserving it for the next Saddam.
posted by Brian B. at 10:32 AM on November 23, 2006


Re: partition, Northern Iraq has plenty of oil. It happens to lie along the boundary between Kurdistan and Sunni interest areas, so hardly likely to be the kind of oil that reduces friction.
posted by Rumple at 10:41 AM on November 23, 2006


In 2003 the Americans invaded a country that had been subjected to devastating sanctions for over 10 years, and had been subjected to bomb-at-will aerial surveillance by the USAF, RAF and others. Further, the country had been largely disarmed of its most effective weaponry by the UN.

This probably explains why Saddam never did much to dispel the notion that he had an arsenal of WMDs. He wanted to scare his neighbors. He knew we knew he didn't have anything and never figured we would invade, at least on that basis.
posted by coldhotel at 11:45 AM on November 23, 2006


People in the White House Administration may be smart, but they are not wise.

Myself, I'll take wisdom over smarts any day.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:54 AM on November 23, 2006


In 2003 the Americans invaded a country that had been subjected to devastating sanctions for over 10 years, and had been subjected to bomb-at-will aerial surveillance by the USAF, RAF and others. Further, the country had been largely disarmed of its most effective weaponry by the UN.

Yeah, I made that argument to some pro-war people: It was basically picking on someone we knew we could beat easily. If it's suddenly our moral duty to go after anyone with a lot of weapons and a less than perfect government, why not Russia? Why not China? Apparently it's only morally right when we know we can win (the invasion, not the occupation that is)

I think some of the biggest mistakes the democratic "opposition" has made is accepting Bush and the neocon's terms: the idea that if Saddam HAD had WMDs, then the invasion would somehow have been justified. And, even more critically, the idea that, if they had "welcomed us as liberators" and everything had gone great, that spreading democracy by force is somehow a moral and acceptable thing. The implications of these ideas are awful and frightening, and everyone seemed to accept them completely uncritically.

The democrats may have won the argument in the short run, since there were no WMDs and the invasion is a total failure, but by allowing Bush to frame the debate on his terms they have set an awful awful precedent for the future.
posted by drjimmy11 at 12:04 PM on November 23, 2006


Trying to save Iraq in its present state is to ignore its previous failure as a unified state, as if we are preserving it for the next Saddam.

So we can do this again in, oh... say 2040?
posted by Talanvor at 12:22 PM on November 23, 2006


I think it's a big mistake to forget that the invasion was planned out years ago. Remember PNAC? If you keep in mind that neocons had this planned out in advance as a strategy to secure the Iraqi oil reserves, it makes sense that there wouldn't be an exit strategy - they don't want us to exit, on the contrary, they want us to stay there as an occupying force and hang on to the oil reserves. There's no way we could guarantee a U.S.-friendly government if we pull out. If we leave, if we give the Iraqis sovereignty, that frees them to cut deals with our competitors, especially China. The demand for oil is rising every day - hell, the rate of increase in demand is increasing. China's economy is becoming more industrialized by the day. There's only so much oil to go around, and our continued presence guarantees that we get it. We have to consider the possibility that the lack of exit strategy was not a mistake, that the invasion and occupation were engineered to be permanent.
posted by RylandDotNet at 12:28 PM on November 23, 2006


Anatomy of a Civil War--Iraq’s descent into chaos (Nir Rosen/Boston Review)--... it became clear that clerics were filling the power vacuum created by the war. ...

digby on the Danner piece: ...Others have gone further, asserting that an aggressively evangelical foreign policy to bring democracy to the Middle East and elsewhere is a noble idea.
I think it is a deeply immoral idea.
It is an indication of how dangerously stupid our discourse has become that opposition to democracy evangelization is almost instantly labelled as a form of Kissingerism. It is not, by a long shot.
In the interest of keeping this post short and sweet, here are two reasons I'm opposed to such a policy. First of all, it is ignorant. Evangelization rests upon the same "black box" assumptions as realism, that what goes on inside the country to be transformed is far less important than the supposed benefits that will accrue once the people in that country experience American-style democracy.
Second of all, it is racist, in a white man's burden sort of a way.
...


And a different take: Glenn Greenwald: ... What the failure of Iraq demonstrates is not -- as Kaplan so earnestly suggests today -- that the rosy-eyed, slightly naive but well-intentioned neonconservative idealists just need to be a little more restrained in their desire to do Good in the world. It demonstrates that they are deceitful, radical and untrustworthy warmongers who led this country into the worst strategic disaster in its history and should never be trusted with anything ever again. And it equally demonstrates that starting wars with no justification and with no notion of self-defense is an idea that is as destructive as it is unjust. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:22 PM on November 23, 2006


You finish it ...
posted by Rumple at 5:01 PM on November 23, 2006


This probably explains why Saddam never did much to dispel the notion that he had an arsenal of WMDs. He wanted to scare his neighbors. He knew we knew he didn't have anything and never figured we would invade, at least on that basis.

That's not entirely correct. Iraq was always open to inspectors from the IAEA. In the run-up to the war they explicitly stated that they didn't have any WMD's.

It was the Western political and media establishment who claimed that this denial was just some kind of high-stakes mind-game on the part of the Iraqis.
posted by prost at 5:09 PM on November 23, 2006




Of course in Russia rabid gangster-capitalism trumps everything.
posted by Artw at 10:39 PM on November 23, 2006


Fantastic article. Watching the news from Sadr City last night after reading it made me f'n sad.
posted by Onanist at 12:06 AM on November 24, 2006


I spent a number of hours on a bus yesterday sitting next to a reservist who had done two tours in Iraq and was heading back-- reluctantly, to say the least-- next March. He said, among other things, that Rumsfeld should be in prison. Meeting him was a sobering reminder that such "idealism" is carried out on the backs of fragile, vunerable human beings, and that imperial ambition is written in blood. "I'm not doing so good," he said, pinching the bridge of his nose to stop the tears.
posted by jokeefe at 8:11 AM on November 24, 2006






I always compared the neocons to Don Quixote. They all read way too much WWII to history. They all thought they were Churchills standing up to Hitler. They were living in fairy tale land. It was all Don Quixote, but with mass murder.
posted by Buck Eschaton at 5:29 PM on November 24, 2006






"An evangelical vision of geopolitical redemption." A Perfect Storm of Stupid, these folks.
posted by zoinks at 9:23 PM on November 24, 2006






War in Iraq has outlasted U.S. role in WWII

Al-Sadr loyalists take over Iraqi television station

U.S. Finds Iraq Insurgency Has Funds to Sustain Itself
They set two lurchers... They're dogs, before you ask. On a hare. And the hare has to outrun the dogs.

So, what if it doesn't?

Well, the big rabbit gets fucked, doesn't it?

Proper fucked?

Yeah, Tommy.
posted by kirkaracha at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2006




Here's the complete article.
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on November 27, 2006


Whatever Happened to Statecraft?
posted by homunculus at 1:16 PM on November 27, 2006




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