Cost of the War in Iraq
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Wrote this a While Ago

November 17, 2006

Dear Mr. Krauthammer:

I am writing to you because I feel your views are influential in conservative circles. I am concerned that your recent commentary, “Why Iraq is Crumbling” is far too eager to place the blame for the failure of our Iraq policies on the Iraqis themselves.

With the exception of Ahmed Chalabi, and other exiles the Bush administration paid for the intelligence it wanted to hear, there was little homegrown resistance to the brutal tyranny of Saddam Hussein. We had our opportunity to assist a homegrown revolution in Iraq during the first Gulf War, and we sat back and watched Saddam Hussein destroy it; using weapons we sold him.

Many argue that invading Iraq in the first place was a mistake, and I am inclined to agree. During our own Revolutionary War, France did not invade us to free us from the British, and they did not occupy us afterward. However, we are obligated to clean up the mess that we have created in Iraq. An essential part of that cleanup is acknowledging our own stupidity, and learning from it.

First, it was stupid to invade Iraq over the objections of the United Nations. This robbed us of almost all international legitimacy from the outset. If we wanted to stage a “revolution” to depose Saddam, we should have taken a page from Teddy Roosevelt’s book and extended diplomatic recognition to an independent Kurdistan. We could have easily given security assurances to Turkey, and bought lots of oil cheaply from the Kurds. They also would have encouraged us to establish military bases there, thus giving us our democratic toehold in the Middle East and a way out of Saudi Arabia. We would have been able to take the moral high ground by giving the world’s largest homeless minority its own country, and possibly provoke Saddam into attacking us at the same time. Or, we could have gotten real intelligence on what WMDs were and weren’t in Iraq.

Instead, we marched in and conquered Iraq. The Iraqi army surrendered faster than any country in history, even France. In other words, they largely didn’t fight us, reasonably expecting to be given the reins of authority once Saddam and his cronies were toast. Instead, we disbanded them, BUT LET THEM KEEP THEIR GUNS. That is so monumentally stupid that it merits the bolded capital letters I have assigned it.

Then there were all the other massive blunders, like the looting, “bring it on,” Abu Ghraib (which you conveniently neglected to mention), our Whack-a-Mole approach to fighting insurgents, and so forth. Additionally, having men with guns come to your home and tell you to dip your fingers in some purple ink does not a republic make.

Your entire attitude that the Iraqis are incapable of self-government smacks of colonial arrogance. This is the same arrogance Britain exhibited when it first forged these battling tribes into one country. On that note, how is Czechoslovakia doing these days?

I think Senator Biden might be on the right track with his 3 state solution, provided that the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds can agree to share the oil wealth and treat each other with respect. I hope it is still possible for them to create some kind of loose Iraqi confederation that gives each party enough of what it wants.

But the current truth is that we have not really given the Iraqi people security, an actual functioning republic, or even the illusion of security, and it is fundamentally dishonest to say otherwise. We have merely turned it into a devil’s playground so that terrorists can fight us “over there.” After nearly four years, we still haven’t rebuilt the schools or restored electricity, but we have spent billions of dollars and destroyed countless lives. I am grossly offended that you now choose to blame our failures on the Iraqi people rather than the idiocy of our policymakers, whom you still support. Our troops deserve better than this, and the Iraqi people deserve better than this. While you certainly have the right to change your mind and suddenly endorse “cutting and running,” I believe you must first apologize for endorsing this misadventure in the first place.

Kevin E. Cleary


Blogger KTC said...

It is funny how intelligent and righteous people get AFTER the fact...

3:42 PM  

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