Bush, et al, on Iraq, Three Years In…

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Bush, others, in the NY Times:

"I'm encouraged by the progress" [in Iraq, says Bush]….

"It's not just about Iraq, it's not about just today's situation in Iraq," [says Cheney.] "It's about where we're going to be 10 years from now in the Middle East and whether or not there's going to be hope and the development of the governments that are responsive to the will of the people, that are not a threat to anyone, that are not safe havens for terror or manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction."…

"Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis," [Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld] wrote in an op-ed article published in The Washington Post. "It would be as great a disgrace as if we had asked the liberated nations of Eastern Europe to return to Soviet domination."

"If this is not civil war," [former interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi says], "then God knows what civil war is."…

The war has taken more than 2,300 American lives, and those of 33,000 to 37,000 Iraqis, according to the estimates of the Iraq Body Count Project, an independent group that monitors the news media….When the war was launched, the Pentagon expected a short conflict. Its classified plans called for the withdrawal of the majority of American troops by the fall of 2003. Today there are roughly 133,000 still there.

As of Friday, 2,313 American military personnel and Defense Department civilians had died during the Iraq effort; of those, 1,811 were killed in action and 502 in non-hostile events, like accidents, a Pentagon spokesman said Sunday. The spokesman also cited statistics that 7,912 American military personnel had been wounded so severely in action they could not return to duty, and 9,212 had been wounded in action but could return to duty.

More here.

On Friday, we posted a survey of libertarian journalists, academics, and policy wonks about the war in Iraq. That's online here. Reader comments online here.

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  1. “Turning our backs on postwar Iraq today would be the modern equivalent of handing postwar Germany back to the Nazis…”

    And Rummy invokes Godwin right out of the box.

    Sorry guys, I know you watched Saving Private Ryan a hundred times by know, but 9-11 was not Pearl Harbor II, Iraq is not Germany, Osama and Saddam are not Hitler, and Dubbya isn’t FDR, Churchill, and Stalin all rolled into one. If I hear another conservatard from NRO, LGF, or Free Republic make one more gorram WWII/War Of Terror comparison, I’m going to hurl.

  2. EDIT: “…I know you’ve watched Saving Private Ryan a hundred times by now…

  3. and Dubbya isn’t FDR, Churchill, and Stalin all rolled into one.

    No, just FDR & Stalin rolled into one.

  4. =A few months back (October, actually) I was listening to NPR and a researcher was talking about a study he’d done in Iraq, where he’d tried to scientifically estimate the number of Iraqi deaths since the war began.

    Using the same techniques that he used in Ruwanda to get the “accepted” death toll there, he came up with an estimate of around 100,000 dead. (Obviously, it would be higher now.)

    Sorry, but it has been a few months, all I remember is the total and a bit of the story, but not any names.

    The press and government don’t believe these numbers because they’re so much higher than everyone elses, but I don’t believe any of the other estimates have used anything like a statistically valid sampling method to determine a death toll.

  5. I have heard the comment quite often that wars are lost because the commanders were busy fignting the last one instead of the one they had in hand. The French tried to fight World War II as it was World War I, and got bashed in.

    Bush is doing it one better, trying to fight World War II as if the US had not seen Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm…

    Please put him in a time machine to get him back to his proper era.

  6. Bush is more like Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini rolled into one, with a little sprinkling of Mao on top.

  7. From some guy named Gateway Pundit.

    We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction… Saddam may well hide his most lethal weapons in mosques, schools and hospitals. If our forces attempt to strike such targets, untold numbers of Iraqi civilians could be killed.”

    Senator Teddy Kennedy
    September 27, 2002
    And, so… After the “paralysed” UN body failed to hold Iraq accountable, America and it’s 30 nation Allied Coalition took action on March 19, 2003.

    But, the war has not been without its critics from the Left…

    * German politicians predicted: “Millions of people in Baghdad will be victims of bombs and rockets.”
    What happened: The antiwar Iraqi Body Count site lists an estimated 4,000-6,000 civilians and fighters were lost in the startup months of the War in Iraq.

    * Ted Kennedy predicted:”A war on Saddam might also cause an unprecedented humanitarian crisis with an estimated 900,000 refugees, a pandemic and an environmental disaster as Saddam lit the oilfields on fire.”
    Actual Result: The oil fields were not set ablaze, no pandemic.

    * The UN predicted… It is also likely that in the early stages there will be a large segment of the population requiring treatment for traumatic injuries, either directly conflict-induced or from the resulting devastation. Given the population outlined earlier, as many as 500,000 could require treatment to a greater or lesser degree as a result of direct or indirect injuries.
    What happened: Again, the antiwar Iraqi Body Count site lists an estimated 4,000-6,000 civilians and fighters lost in the startup months of the War in Iraq.

    * Ted Kennedy also predicted: “The U.S. could run through “battalions a day at a time” and that the fighting would look like “the last fifteen minutes of ‘Private Ryan.'”

    Actual Results: Although each fatality is a tragic loss for America, this is still one of most successful military campaigns the US has ever fought.

    * Medact Global Health: “A more contained conflict could cause half a million deaths and have a devastating impact on the lives, health and environment of the combatants, Iraqi civilians, and people in neighbouring countries and beyond.”
    Actual Results: Antiwar Iraqi Body Count says that 35-37 thousand deaths including bank robbers.

    * Hans Blix argued: The Iraqis were better off before the war

    The harsh truth: Before the War in Iraq, Saddam was filling his mass graves and keeping state hired rapists on his payroll. In those 20 years about 5% of the people of Iraq were killed or mysteriously disappeared. The red area in the graph above shows the estimated average deaths in Iraq under Saddam Hussein from 36 average deaths per day from mass grave discoveries, to 137 deaths per day from a different source. The yellow area shows estimated total fatalities since the beginning of the War in Iraq from Iraq Body Count, an antiwar website.

    * John Kerry insisted… “There are no-go zones in Iraq today (September 2004). You can’t hold an election in a no-go zone.”
    Results: Iraq held a very successful democratic election in January 2005.

    * Jimmy Carter predicted… “The Carter Center did, our 52nd election. All of our elections have been in troubled countries where the outcome was doubtful. But in every case there has to be a central government that can set up the constitution and bylaws and rules so that an election can be held peacefully. I don’t see that happening as long as the terrible violence continues in Iraq.”
    About those election results: Former President Jimmy Carter, who predicted that elections in Iraq would fail and in the past year described the Bush administration’s policy there as a quagmire, this week ended 10 days of silence to declare the historic Iraqi vote “a very successful effort.” (February 11, 2005)

    * Madeleine Albright observed… “It has long been obvious that the Bush administration lacks a viable plan for success in Iraq. The hardest political job ? drafting a constitution acceptable to all factions ? has not even begun…”
    Results: Iraqi Constitution drafted and accepted by 78% of the voters.

    * Madeleine Albright accused… The “coalition,” never robust, is shrinking.
    Reality: There Iraqi Allied Coalition consists of 30 nations. The Afghanistan Coalition consists of 35 nations.
    Bulgaria announced that it will be sending troops back to Iraq. (February 24, 2006)

    * John Murtha exaggerated… “Many say that the Army is broken. (Murtha did later, actually!) Some of our troops are on their third deployment. Recruitment is down, even as our military has lowered its standards.”
    Reality: The Army Guard is surpassing its goals and growing in strength despite Rep. Murtha’s campaign against military recruitment.

    And now they say this is a Civil War…
    We will see.

    The people who say it is a civil war have been uniformly wrong about everything they have said so far. But it is a civil war.

  8. The truth: the world was better off with Saddam. What a pathetic truth, but there it is.

    JMJ

  9. “Bush is more like Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini rolled into one, with a little sprinkling of Mao on top.”

    Oh, fer Chrissakes guys.

  10. “Bush is more like Stalin, Hitler and Mussolini rolled into one, with a little sprinkling of Mao on top.”

    Well, a year or two ago I would have hemmed and hawed at this statement like Jason just did, but there is a kernel of truth.

    While Bush hasn’t done half the shit that the aforementioned autocrats did (mostly because he couldn’t have gotten away with it), he does seem to place his own personal image above all else. This is why he refuses to admit failure in Iraq: he’d go down as probably the worst president in history. So he keeps up this charade, helping to bankrupt our country and kill thousands of our men and women in uniform.

  11. The 100k Iraqi death estimate was a bit flaky. A good site for Iraq casualtiy figures is http://icasualties.org/oif/. Unfortunately, they don’t have estimates of civilian deaths before 2005.

  12. johnl

    “flaky” isn’t really a fair statement.

    But it is another example of the media reporting on science without taking the time to understand it. Always take science reporting with a big grain of salt. Find the real study and read it. It will rarely look like the report.

  13. George Bush is an authoritarian, statist monarch; Harvey Mansfield praised him for that in one of the most putrid, stomach-turning articles The Weekly Standard ever published. Mansfield relishes — celebrates — Bush’s lawbreaking in the NSA warrantless wiretapping matter, and likens him to the “prince” every strong nation really needs. Powerline approvingly linked to that screed.

    This guy, and this book he just announced on King George, will hopefully bring us back to an understanding of true patriotism. It does not entail an embrace of a monarch.

  14. Jason & andy – I was being facetious comparing Bush to Stalin (but not with FDR). He is a very, very bad president, but he has a long way to go before reaching Stalinesque notoriety.

  15. I can’t link anything for some reason. This is the url on the forthcoming Bush book:

    http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2006/03/how-would-patriot-act_20.html#links

  16. No, just FDR & Stalin rolled into one.

    Right-o! Bush is on the wagon, unlike Churchill.

    That and Churchill was a great orator with lines like:
    “All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”
    “He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.”
    “Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.”

    Instead of lines like:
    “I’m the commander ? see, I don’t need to explain ? I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.”
    “I just want you to know that, when we talk about war, we’re really talking about peace.”
    “We look forward to analyzing and working with legislation that will make?it would hope?put a free press’s mind at ease that you’re not being denied information you shouldn’t see.”

  17. The people who say it is a civil war have been uniformly wrong about everything they have said so far.

    This is a silly thing to say. There are a lot of people who supported the invasion who believe there’s a civil war and that Iraq is a bigger mess than it ought to be. There are a lot of people who were against the invasion, but who didn’t make dire predictions about the negative consequences, who also believe there’s a civil war and that Iraq is a bigger mess than it ought to be.

    What do the failed predictions of politicians have to do with the sorry state of Iraq? What prevented you from posting the equally wrong (and equally numerous) predictions of politicians who supported the invasion?

  18. The people who say it is a civil war have been uniformly wrong about everything they have said so far.

    This is a silly thing to say. There are a lot of people who supported the invasion who believe there’s a civil war and that Iraq is a bigger mess than it ought to be. There are a lot of people who were against the invasion, but who didn’t make dire predictions about the negative consequences, who also believe there’s a civil war and that Iraq is a bigger mess than it ought to be.

    What do the failed predictions of politicians have to do with the sorry state of Iraq? What prevented you from posting the equally wrong (and equally numerous) predictions of politicians who supported the invasion?

  19. Havent seen comments on this article which is unusual for H&R

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/19/international/middleeast/19abuse.html

  20. What’s so civil about war, anyway?

  21. Fact: A highly conservative person high up in the CIA told me to not bother with the news or other media because it is, at best, only a tiny part of the picture and mostly way off of the mark. This person sees the same daily briefing as the President.

    How’s that for the future of the informed citizen?

    You want news. You want to know what our glorious “freedom loving” empire is really doing? Go to Uzbekistan and poke around.

    Stop quoting jack asses like Kennedy. We all know his game. Get off your high horse and go to Uzbekistan. Poke around. If you can come back without puking your morals out of your nose, then you have the right to wave a flag.

  22. Andy, thank you for clarifying my comment, that was exactly what I meant. Bush has achieved a cult like following with rabid supporters that no longer care about the quality of his leadership or the ramifications of his decisions, they simply refuse to accept that their chosen leader has made mistakes and will support him without question. Bush and his staff continue to sound like “Hitler in the bunker” whenever they talk about the war. Despite all evidence to the contrary, the war is going just as planned and victory is just around the corner. Substitute Jews for mainstream media and the excuses for failure are pretty much the same.

  23. The French tried to fight World War II as it was World War I, and got bashed in.

    Bush is doing it one better, trying to fight World War II as if the US had not seen Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm…

    There’s a grain of truth here, but I think the analogies are a little off. From the looks of things, it seems that the Bush Administration went into Iraq expecting a ground campaign similar to Desert Storm (though on a larger scale), followed by an occupation similar to Afghanistan (or rather, what the Afghan occupation looked like at the time). Well, they got the first part right.

    Basically, the lot of them were just on too much of a military/foreign policy high (thanks to a chain of events going from the end of the Cold War, to Desert Storm, to Kosovo, to Afghanistan) to think that the situation would end up being notably worse.

  24. Formatting error again. Second paragraph should also be italicized. I ought to get this right next time.

  25. Eric II,
    I have to agree with you on the Bush Admin’s assesment of the Iraq invasion. It becomes all too evident when you compare the following quotes.

    “Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.” — GW Bush May 1, 2003

    “The U.S. military said on Thursday it launched its biggest air offensive in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to root out insurgents near a town where recent violence raised fears of civil war.” Wash. Post March 16, 2006

  26. Bush is way too much like FDR to be considered a conservative but he’s not a dictator either. He’s a guy with lotsa power who used it to order our government’s soldiers to fight and die in a needless war whose chief motivators had long advocated it as something that would be beneficial for the Israeli state.

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