Sep
11
2015

Let us stop pretending that the Iraq War was the Worst Thing Ever.

(Via Instapundit) This is a pet peeve of mine, and it got triggered by this otherwise not-as-bad-as-it-could-have been article on Obama’s Syria debacle (the NYT prefers the term ‘nightmare’):

American interventionism can have terrible consequences, as the Iraq war has demonstrated. But American non-interventionism can be equally devastating, as Syria illustrates.

Stop. Freeze-frame. Rewind.  Look at those two sentences. Also look at that word ‘equally,’ which means that the author of this piece wants his readers to conclude that there are two separate military situations here, each one of which was, well, equally disastrous.

But that’s not even remotely true. We have one situation here. To wit: from 2001 to 2003 the United States did some long overdue corrective actions in the Middle East.  First, we went into Afghanistan and broke the neck of the regime that hosted the group that attacked us on 9/11. Then we went into Iraq and broke the neck of the regime that had been an active danger to the entire region for the previous two, three decades – and that we had unfinished business with, too. Kind of important, that. After all of that we had an insurgency develop – which is something that happens when you occupy nation-states – and then we proceeded to beat that insurgency without resorting to the usual rule of slaughtering the population*.

In short, we had a rather unremarkable brush war. People didn’t want to say things like that at the time, because while it was still going on there were plenty of raw nerves going around because of the casualty lists.  Which is something that the antiwar movement took full, and quite malignant, advantage of; but contrary to modern sensibilities you can’t always change something by changing its name. The truth of it is, under George W Bush we won the wars.  And under Barack Obama we deliberately lost them again. Letting Syria disintegrate was a conscious choice. Letting Libya disintegrate was a conscious choice. Letting Islamic State put together a proto-Dark Empire** from the ruins was a conscious choice. Rewarding the Iranians for supporting terrorism in Iraq was a conscious choice. Deciding that the Kurds didn’t need our support was a conscious choice. All of these things were deliberately done, and I will leave it up to history to decide if they were done through malice, incompetence, or a devil’s mixture of the two.

But again: let us stop pretending that what happened today is equally as bad as what happened between 2001 and 2009 – or, or that matter, that it is separate from what happened then. No. What’s happened since then is worse, and it all happened because the people running this country are incompetent at waging wars. I know that saying this will upset people; which is a shame, because apparently poison gas attacks against civilian targets apparently don’t.

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Fetid fever-dreams of the antiwar movement aside. And despite the predictions of the NYT author himself, I should note.

8 Comments

  • KAF says:

    You got a typo there, Moe. “Letting Libya disintegrate…” should be changed to “Causing Libya to disintegrate…”

  • Luke says:

    Hey, I was in full support of the traditional method.
    Of course, I was also in favor of installing Chalabi as the new strongman, rather than taking a gamble on the dream of democracy.

  • Robert Mitchell Jr. says:

    You are soft-selling it a little, sir. Iraq declared War on us. They violated the cease-fire and shot at our planes. Casus Belli, no matter which way you’re standing……

    • Luke says:

      You’d be amazed at how many people told me that didn’t count, because we’re so much stronger than they are.
      .
      Let’s also not forget trying to assassinate Bush I.

  • Dan says:

    The left, the press, and the Democrats (but I repeat myself) have worked tirelessly to bring defeat and disgrace to the United States for quite some time now.
    I’m a Vietnam vet. I’m STILL pissed at the way the Democrats in Congress threw that away by denying RVN what we had agreed to provide.
    And I’m a Persian Gulf War vet. We left a lot unfinished there, but the left, the press and the Democrats (or should I say fifth columnists) did their best to create a bad situation out of a win.

    I was retired by the time Gulf War II came around in 2003, but the same fifth columnists did their best to destroy the credibility of the US leadership. Despite having a bunch of UN resolutions violated by Iraq. (Go ahead and add the UN to the list of those being fifth columnists.) Despite having intelligence regarding WMD (and Saddam’s repetitive boasts about an ongoing nuclear program).

    And the fifth columnists continue to do their work.
    Open the borders. Don’t prosecute lawbreakers. And while we’re at it, let’s let a few hundred thousand more moslems into the country.

    I’m so fed up with this bunch in Washington (and even more p.o.ed at Boener and McConnell for becoming part of the fifth column).

    The bozo Donald is doing well, in part, because he gives voice to the pent-up anger and disgust many folks have because our “leaders” don’t speak truth. They speak from both sides of their mouth. With forked tongues. They lie. And we, like battered spouses, go back to them time and time again. “I know they love me. They were just provoked into betraying me.”

    Humbug.

    • Luke says:

      They’ve read Plato’s Republic, and have taken it to heart.
      As far as they’re concerned, it’s their job to lie to us, and our job to believe them.
      They’re quite cross with us for not playing our role.

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