Sunday, March 3, 2013

As We Near the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War - James Fallows - The Atlantic

Americans have long grown accustomed to threat inflation.  In fact they are so accustomed that it is part of the national character, right there with this is the greatest country on earth meme.  By what measure?  Health care - no.  Upward mobility - no. Racial justice - please.  Gender equality - not even close. 
But let's stick with war.  In early 2003 it was obvious to anyone with open eyes that the G.W. Bush administration had nothing on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.   A U.N. team had been searching for months and found nothing.  Aluminum tubes - please. The war was the product of the macho meme that George H.W. Bush should have finished the job and taken out Saddam Hussein back in 1991.  Of course the coalition assembled to drive Iraq out of Kuwait was built on the premise that reversal of the Iraqi conquest was the objective.  But the 41st President was widely slammed for keeping his word.  
When the willful not too bright son became President the father's advisers - like Brent Scowcroft - told him not to invade.  And the father agreed.  Yet...we know the end result.  Much ventured, much lost, and an Iran-friendly regime in Baghdad.  Speaking of which - Iran - the latest big threat inflation hype.  They have no nuclear weapons and wouldn't attack if they did.  Of course a nuclear free mid-east would be a great idea.  But no one here would dare suggest that because no one would suggest the Israelis give up their unacknowledged arsenal.  Because they are - for reasons readily identifiable - the world's most paranoid nation. And Congress members bend over backwards to display their fealty to whoever is in power in Israel.  We will never be rational about Israel and the Arabs until the Israelis are.  I used to think the odds favored that.  But now I just don't know.  - GWC
As We Near the 10th Anniversary of the Iraq War - James Fallows - The Atlantic: 'via Blog this'
"This month marks ten years since the U.S. launched its invasion of Iraq. In my view this was the biggest strategic error by the United States since at least the end of World War II and perhaps over a much longer period. Vietnam was costlier and more damaging, but also more understandable. As many people have chronicled, the decision to fight in Vietnam was a years-long accretion of step-by-step choices, each of which could be rationalized at the time. Invading Iraq was an unforced, unnecessary decision to risk everything on a "war of choice" whose costs we are still paying. "

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