I am not much one for armchair quarter backing. However, I am speaking the non-partisan truth about a subject.
This one happens to be one, that was central to my foray in to the world of blogging.
The Iraq War.
It seems that there are some, that are really trying to put a “Tire Shine” on the Iraq War. In that process, they are basically trying to rewrite facts and basically distort realities. Which is quite common for the Neo-Right. They have been doing that since Buckley arrived on the scene many years ago.
Here is David Brooks basically either trying to recover any Conservative credentials that he might actually still have, either that or trying to suck up to President Obama….. again:
The U.S. venture into Iraq was a war, but it was also a nation-building exercise. America has spent $53 billion trying to reconstruct Iraq, the largest development effort since the Marshall Plan.
So how’s it working out?
On the economic front, there are signs of progress. It’s hard to know what role the scattershot American development projects have played, but this year Iraq will have the 12th-fastest-growing economy in the world, and it is expected to grow at a 7 percent annual clip for the next several years.
“Iraq has made substantial progress since 2003,” the International Monetary Fund reports. Inflation is reasonably stable. A budget surplus is expected by 2012. Unemployment, though still 15 percent, is down from stratospheric levels.
Oil production is back around prewar levels, and there are some who say Iraq may be able to rival Saudi production. That’s probably unrealistic, but Iraq will have a healthy oil economy, for better and for worse.
Living standards are also improving. According to the Brookings Institution’s Iraq Index, the authoritative compendium of data on this subject, 833,000 Iraqis had phones before the invasion. Now more than 1.3 million have landlines and some 20 million have cellphones. Before the invasion, 4,500 Iraqis had Internet service. Now, more than 1.7 million do.
In the most recent Gallup poll, 69 percent of Iraqis rated their personal finances positively, up from 36 percent in March 2007. Baghdad residents say the markets are vibrant again, with new electronics, clothing and even liquor stores.
Of course, to be honest, he’ll also have to say how fragile and incomplete this success is. Iraqi material conditions are better, but the Iraqi mind has not caught up with the Iraqi opportunity.
There is still very little social trust. Iraq is the fourth-most-corrupt nation on earth, according to Transparency International’s rating system. The role of women remains surprisingly circumscribed. Iraqi politicians clearly find it very hard to compromise (though they may be no worse than American politicians in this regard).
Human capital is lagging. Most doctors left Iraq after the invasion, and it is hard to staff health clinics. The engineers left too, so American-built plants lie dormant because there is no one with the skills to run them. Schools are suffering because of a lack of teachers.
Ryan Crocker, the former ambassador, recently wrote an article in The National Interest noting that fear still pervades Iraq. Ethnic animosities are in abeyance, but they are not gone. Guns have been put in closets, but not destroyed.
If he is honest, Obama will have to balance pride with caution. He’ll have to acknowledge that the gains the U.S. is enabling may vanish if the U.S. military withdraws entirely next year. He’ll have to acknowledge that bottom-up social change requires time and patience. He’ll have to heed the advice of serious Iraq hands like Crocker, Michael O’Hanlon of Brookings and Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations, and shelve plans to withdraw completely.
Such a move may rob him of a campaign talking point. But it will safeguard an American accomplishment that has been too hard won.
Okay, that is fine. But what about the Billions of dollars that were lost in Iraq, that cannot be accounted for? Plus, since when is nation building something that is a cool thing to do? I know, as a Tax Payer, that I am not too happy about my tax dollars going to build a Country that will most likely turn against us again in the future. What brooks also fails to mention is the person that was responsible for the entire Iraq debacle, and that is President Bush.
On the subject of Nation building; Some are trying to make the comparison to to Japan and Germany. That is ludicrous on its very face. The difference is, that the war on Japan and Germany were constitutionally declared wars, after the Empire of Japan attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. On the other hand, Iraq never attacked us directly, and there was not a constitutionally declared war on Iraq. Just a decision by congress to authorize Bush to use Military action on Iraq, based upon a few pieces of what is now known as faulty information. Oh, the Neo-Right will trot out some letter written to the second in command of Al-Qaeda about wanting to move against Kuwait. But there is no proof that Al-Qaeda even received the letter. Further more, Osama Bin Laden could not stand Saddam. Besides, that letter was written back in the 1990’s, after the first gulf war. So, that so-called evidence linking Saddam to 9/11 is weak, very weak.
Ed Morrissey also flirts with the subject as well, and also gets it wrong:
When the story of this war gets written, most will lay the responsibility on the President who fought it the longest, George W. Bush, and we will see a slew of analysis over the next week that insist he paid too high a price for his neoconservative adventure. However, perhaps later, cooler minds will prevail and put this in proper perspective. We had two choices in 2003: either remove Saddam Hussein or abandon Iraq to him. The coalition that imposed military limits on Saddam was falling away, and the sanctions regime had become so corrupt that it made Saddam a multibillionaire in his personal fortunes. His sons were poised to succeed him in this reign of terror. Our twelve-year truce had been repeatedly violated by Saddam, who also attempted to assassinate a former President, and we had done nothing to address any of it.
The follow-up nation building in which we engaged can also be debated, but again, we had little choice in the matter. We either needed to stay in Iraq to raise up a new government and army, or watch as Iran seized control through the Mahdi Army or Iraq became a Somalia in Southwest Asia. Either of those outcomes would have been orders of magnitude worse than our occupation over the last several years. The management of the occupation was certainly debatable, but once we invaded, we had no other choice but to see it all the way through.
In fact, the die was cast in this case twenty years ago when the George H. W. Bush administration stood up to Saddam Hussein and demanded his withdrawal from Kuwait. The decision to leave Saddam in place created the twelve-year Phoney War that followed, and left the choice of either surrender or victory to one of Bush’s eventual successors. In the end, the war removed a brutal dictator who was murdering his own people at a far faster rate than the war did and over a much longer period of time and who, left to his own devices, would have beaten the Iranians to a nuclear weapon with equally disastrous implications. The freely-elected but still dysfunctional government in Baghdad is at least a bright spot of hope in a dismal region, if we can remain committed enough to nurture it through friendship. That is what our men and women fought and bled to create, and it’s to their honor that it exists today.
Where he gets it wrong is here:
The coalition that imposed military limits on Saddam was falling away, and the sanctions regime had become so corrupt that it made Saddam a multibillionaire in his personal fortunes. His sons were poised to succeed him in this reign of terror.
We either needed to stay in Iraq to raise up a new government and army, or watch as Iran seized control through the Mahdi Army or Iraq became a Somalia in Southwest Asia.
See the problem with all that is this here. We overthrew a dictator, and broke up that Ba’ath Party leadership. However, we created a quasi-unity Government over there, which is very fragile. We also installed, or as the Neo-Right likes to call it; voted in, another basic dictator, who is friendly to the United States. The Iraqi Government, I personally predict, will collapse once all of the American military units, of all sorts, are out of Iraq come 2011. What will happen then, is this, there will be an all out civil war in that Country. The faction there that is loyal to Iran will win, and Iraq will align itself with Iran and will then begin the process to harboring terrorists to mount attacks on Israel and ultimately the United States.
So, in closing, we did not stop Iran from invading Iraq and creating havoc in the region. We just made it a little more difficult to carry out. But know this, it will happen and someday, someone is going to say, “Why didn’t we just leave that Country alone?” and when the next huge terrorist attack happens here in America, and we discover that the terrorists trained in Iraq. We will have no one to blame — but ourselves.