Saturday, October 16, 2004

Good point

Andrew makes the point:

"...Would like everyone to please stop trying to defend or undermine justification for invading Iraq. It doesn't matter. Really. The deed is done, and there are more pressing concerns that have far overshadowed the invasion's legitimacy."

To that I say, ok, if certain people would stop bring up the issue of the invasion's legitimacy I might consider stop talking about it. We ALL know from our experience as children, that when you tell your sister that you will stop hitting her if she stops hitting you, that those types of agreements are doomed to failure. So with that gleeful remake, I would like to bring this up.

This article points out something that I feel is interesting to the Iraq war argument. It was something that needed to be done, but was politically expensive.

"Because Saddam was one of those things Tony Blair called a "tricky issue." And by tricky, Blair said he meant and I'm quoting now "something you know has to be done" that would be getting rid of Saddam but, quoting again, "you want to have the luxury of criticizing" Bush and the Americans for actually doing it."

What did bush have to gain from attacking Iraq? It was expensive, it alienated our allies, and it is costing America lives. It has driven up the price of oil, which is beginning to threaten our economic recovery. It pushes America into being the policeman of the world. Which no one likes the cops, though you do respect them.

There are some strategic gains that will be made by America, but the political cost to get them was large. It could cost him this election.

Why? Is he evil? Does he have a god complex? Is he a freedom whore spreading freedom like an STD? Or some other unnamed option?



Andrew said...

So this is what you appear to be saying: Knowing what we know now, invading Iraq would have had negative personal/political consequences for Bush-America. Therefore, he must not have done it for personal, political reasons, but for sound and idealistic reasons.

But the problem is that first clause: "knowing what we know now." The president didn't know what we know now, becuase his preferred assessments were from the rather optimistic neocon side of the administration. According to the neocons:
*the topple-Saddam mission would be a cakewalk for our vastly superior military. And they were more than right. Good for us all. (invasion: cheap)
*the post-Saddam Iraqis would welcome us with open arms, plus or minus any power struggles at the conference-tables. But even the Founding Fathers managed to settle those kinds of power struggles peacefully. (transition: cheap)
*the access to oil would compensate for what minor costs were incurred by the invasion and transition. (oil > costs)
*the administration's resolve would be redeemed by a fledging and starry-eyed Iraqi democracy. (diplomatic standing: repaired retroactively)
*as we were closing our military bases in Saudi Arabia, we would be able to move our strategic center to Iraq. (ME strategic issues: resolved)
*reconstruction contracts to American companies would boost the American economy and provide good, noble jobs.

If they were right, that would have been awesome. The war would be cheap, it would pay for itself, and it would justify itself retroactively. That's not a political tragedy, that's a political windfall. Every president would love to be the next global hero, putting democracy in places it wasn't, and doing so on the cheap. In fact, one of the reasons we didn't need to invest in more global support was because the administration thought it would be a waste. If the war's only going to costs a few billion dollars, you don't want to spend twice that on treaties that win over another ally or two. It'd just be a waste. Especially if you expect your ally to learn a lesson from you after the war plays through.

Unfortunately... it didn't work out. The looting right after the fall of Saddam, and the general anti-Americanism of Iraqis moved us from the neocon scenario to the state department, and now CIA, scenario that we live in. This is the scenario that would have wanted Colin Powell to build more international support ahead of time and that would have been more prepared for a potential insurgency.

It's all about what analyses people were listening to, and when. The neocon ideology is a very optimistic one--so was it's analysis of Iraq. The state department's analysis was a more conservative one, and the one that happened to be more accurate.

But before you guys try to represent this post as Bush bashing: it's not. If current-Kerry had been in the president's seat, and the invasion had gone as well as the neocons hoped, we'd have wasted a lot of money in coalition-building and preperation, and the large post-Saddam force could have been intimidating and frightening to the Iraqi people. He'd be seeing a lot of shit as well.

The fact is that Bush happened to expect the wrong scenario. Was that scenario one that would reflect positively on Bush? Yes. So does that mean he's evil, has a god compex, or is a freedom whore? Absolutely not. It means he chose to do something that didn't work out the way he planned.

Should someone be held accountable for choosing the neocon model over the state department one? I say yes, because I feel the state department model was grounded in more and better intelligence and that the administration shouldn't have its head in the clouds. Better safe than sorry, after all.

By the way:
when you tell your sister that you will stop hitting her if she stops hitting you, that those types of agreements are doomed to failure.unless you turn the other cheek and let her hit you a few times without retaliating. Then she just looks like an idiot.

Dave Justus said...

when you tell your sister that you will stop hitting her if she stops hitting you, that those types of agreements are doomed to failure.unless you turn the other cheek and let her hit you a few times without retaliating. Then she just looks like an idiot.

Unless she really packs a punch and you end up on your ass. Then you look like the idiot.

Cubicle said...


I was not nessecarrliy referring to the situation that you were talking about with sisters.

I was referring to the i-must-have-the-last-hit-slash-word syndome.

Each person wants the last hit\word, so the cycle of violence never ends until you parents come pull you apart. I am thinking that you may have never had sisters or maybe i was not clear enough.


i can see all you had was fat sisters.