Zarqawi: Mission Accomplished?

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National Review's The Corner blog is staging a Zion-style rave to celebrate the killing of al-Zarqawi, and one of the most ironic cheers comes from Jonah Goldberg.

Where's Dean? [Jonah Goldberg]
A reader asks: "Isn't it about time for Chairman Howard to say something like 'I suppose it's a good thing that Zarqawi is dead…'"

That's a hell of a zinger, but what was it that caused Dean to make that gaffe in the first place? Oh, right.

When Baghdad was liberated, and Saddam removed from power, Dean came up with his most memorable line yet: "I suppose it's a good thing."

It's fantastic news that U.S. forces have killed a terrorist who murdered hundreds or thousands of Americans and Iraqis in cold blood. It's definitely not wise for pundits to take that news and bash Iraq War skeptics over the head with it. Doing so has become a ritual after every milestone in the war—the fall of Baghdad (and the Saddam statue), the killing of Uday and Qusay, the capture of Saddam, the transfer of power to the provisional government, the victory in Fallujah, the killing of al-Zarawi's deputies, the first election, the second election, the third election, and now the killing of al-Zarqawi. Every time, when victory didn't swiftly follow, support for the war and faith in America's Iraq policy ebbed a little further.

With a real victory to celebrate, why would a Iraq War stalwart's first reaction be to mock skepticism about the war that has, so far, proven correct? Nothing better underscores the difficulty of predicting the aftershocks of events in Iraq.

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  1. As far as “Good news out of Iraq” goes, killing Public Enemy #1 is probably better press than freshly painted schools or whatever, so I say let the Cornerites enjoy themselves for a few days. They know they’ll be back to explaining away the Administration’s various blunders, failures and fuck-ups within a week or so.

  2. Because Jonah Goldberg is more wart than stalwart?

    He cares more about how the Iraq war affects U.S. political horseraces rather than Iraqis?

  3. Dean went on to say that he didn’t believe the capture of Saddam made Americans safer or would end the insurgency. For which he was roundly attacked. I believe the deal total for US forces was under 1000 at the time.

  4. Is Lopez writing about the bulge in Bush’s flight suit yet?

  5. And what is the result of all these action?
    Civil war in Iraq?
    The world hating America?
    Halliburtan making billions?
    Will the terror/war stop now that al-Zarqawiis dead?
    The US govenment taking our civil liberties away?
    700 billion price tag/thousands of human beings dead for what?

    Show me one historical example of a sucssesful invasion and control of a country.

    Our country is following the route of all the other superpowers in history, marching down the road of folly and stupidy.

  6. Perhaps the thing to say is that in and of itself, it’s very good, it’s great even. But like the biggest and most glorious of drug busts, it may not make any noticeable difference.

    Isn’t it rather pathetic for these guys to still be kicking Dean at this point?

  7. Jess,

    I think it’s important to distinguish the between the useless, counterproductive invasion of Iraq, and the necessary war against Al Qaeda.

    This action was meaningless in the ongoing battle against the insurgency (itself a continuation of the useless invasion of Iraq), but is a real victory in the fight against international jihadism, on par with the capture of Zawahiri.

  8. Administration’s various blunders, failures and fuck-ups within a week or so.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, its all Bush’s fault, from Katrina to miners dieing, to Democracy not taking in Iraq without a fight.

    I suppose you can argue that we shouldn’t have gone to Iraq. And that choice was Bush’s.

    But I think that if you really think through all decisions that the administration has made about how to go about the particular war. Most the decisions have been the right ones.

    The State Dept think they could have done better. I submit to you that they are wrong. What they propose could not have been done, or would have been desastrous. Some generals think they could have done better, they are also wrong.

    All these lofty hindsight ideas on what coulda shoulda, are not 20/20.

  9. > Show me one historical example of a sucssesful
    > invasion and control of a country.

    Things seemed to go pretty well in both West Germany and Japan after World War 2.

  10. Our country is following the route of all the other superpowers in history, marching down the road of folly and stupidy.

    On the contrary it was necessary because Iraq had WMD and was responsible for 9-11.

    I think it’s important to distinguish the between the useless, counterproductive invasion of Iraq, and the necessary war against Al Qaeda.

    They are one and the same.

  11. kwais, you are alone in your thinking. Very alone. Do you think this is the BEST result we could have achieved? That no decisions could have lead to better results?

    It’s one thing to say decisions were made in the right way…it’s another thing to say the right decisions were made.

  12. I’m disturbed by all the talk of “celebration”. The man probably needed to die, but do we have to debase ourselves by dancing in the streets, a la post-911 Palestinians?

    It may be occasionally necessary to kill another human being, but taking pleasure in the act kills two.

  13. Show me one historical example of a sucssesful invasion and control of a country.

    Are you kidding? A few that come to mind:

    The Turks conquering Asia Minor
    The Russians conquering Siberia
    The Saxons’ migration to Brittania
    The Union crushing the Confederacy
    Various European nations conquering the New World

    The key is that most successful invasions are also migrations. The one that wasn’t was the Civil War, and there wasn’t much in the way of cultural differences to complicate things. Even then, the North had to destroy the hell out of the South and then forcibly remake its institutions.

  14. Bush is the messiah. He has been sent by God to protect us from the terorists. He is the best pres we ever had, he’s figting for our rights in Iraq, protecting os from terorists, protecting our civil liberties, fixing the broken economy, cutting government spending and waste, protecting us from the gays and making jobs for us all. I believe the end of the world is near and US policy should be pursued in order to bring about armegedon and the end of the world so Jesus can return to save us.

  15. kwais, you are alone in your thinking. Very alone. Do you think this is the BEST result we could have achieved? That no decisions could have lead to better results?

    Based on previous Kwaid posts, it seems that Kwais has financial incentives to think the way he does.

  16. Defensive much, Kwais? For the record, I wasn’t even thinking of Katrina or mining disasters in the catalog of Bush-inspired fiascoes, but now that you mention it…

  17. Show me one historical example of a sucssesful invasion and control of a country.

    The moon landings?

  18. When I drink tommorow night I’ll have Zarqawi’s death to drink to.

  19. So can we declare victory and get out? Iraq is old news. The biggest threat to the US is immigrants getting gay married at flag burnings.

  20. Mark’s right–we totally kicked the Moon’s ass. Earth – 15, Solar System – Love.

  21. I’m disturbed by all the talk of “celebration”. The man probably needed to die, but do we have to debase ourselves by dancing in the streets, a la post-911 Palestinians?

    It may be occasionally necessary to kill another human being, but taking pleasure in the act kills two.

    Well ultimately the main reason I (and probably most people who are happy about this) “celebrate” this is because hopefully one less terrorist leader out there will mean fewer innocent people killed by terrorism in the future. So I would be happy if he were captured alive also. Some would dispute my optimism but it is at least plausible.

    Of course there is also the fact that one can argue he deserved to die unlike the 9-11 victims. (I am not claiming that you draw a moral equivelence between the two).

  22. Show me one historical example of a sucssesful invasion and control of a country.

    There’s those Roman fellows, too. And the Mongol hordes. Even the Macedonians held on to parts of their conquest for quite some time.

  23. It may be occasionally necessary to kill another human being, but taking pleasure in the act kills two.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever hippy.

    Your revolution is over! My condolances, the bums lost! I suggest you do what your parents did and get a job!

  24. I wanted to point out that Bush had several chances to kill Zarqawi before we invaded Iraq, and he declined. This was confirmed by the Wall Street Journal. Of course it is good that Zarqawi is dead. I only wish we had done it cheaply, with one round from an assault rifle, or a stab behind the collarbone into the aorta. Leaving out the inconvenient fact that Bush declined to eliminate him earlier is just more boot-licking from the Press lapdogs.

  25. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Whatever hippy.

    Your revolution is over! My condolances, the bums lost! I suggest you do what your parents did and get a job!

    LMAO

    That’s probably the first time I’ve ever been mistaken for a hippy. Thanks for that, you’ve really brightened my day.

  26. China’s invasion of Tibet seems to have been quite successful, to the extent you can call such things a success.

  27. Isn’t it rather pathetic for these guys to still be kicking Dean at this point?

    When the democrats elected this guy to be the face of their party, they brought it upon themselves. The way I see it, Dean will be fair game so long as he is relevant to the debate as DNC chair.

    Way to concede the fight, gang.

  28. Hey Other Mark,
    Based on the way Southern culture (NASCAR, evangelical christianity, jingoism) has somehow become synonymous with “real America” in the media I’m not sure the Civil War counts as an example of a succesful invasion and conquering of another country.

  29. >>Show me one historical example of a sucssesful invasion and control of a country.

    William the Conqueror. I could go on for a long time, but you only asked for one.

  30. “It may be occasionally necessary to kill another human being, but taking pleasure in the act kills two.”

    Does it? Which is more inhuman…to rejoice that an evil man is dead,…or to feel less emotion than one would feel in dispatching a cockroach?

  31. John P:

    From your linked article

    In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

    Iraq DID have WMD? Iraq WAS working with al-Qaida? Now I’m all confused.

  32. In Tom’s first post he touches on something I’ve been noticing.

    Something the “victory” celeberations over at NRO remind me of. How much we are beginning to look like the enemy.

    Cowardly, angry, scared, terrified. Ready to sell our birthrights to any corner huckster with fire in his soul.

    Using WWII as measuring stick, haven’t we essentially lost both the Afghan and Iraq conflicts?

    After this long in Germany, we had completly squashed not only the enemy, but we had controlled Germany completly, we had secured it completely, and were in the process of building a constitutional non-theocratic government.

    Use the WWII timeline next to the Iraq one, and the only positive light is the number of casualities. (which is positive)

    Well, all I can say is dance NRO, dance just like those Islamics you claim to hate so much, but sure do like to emulate.

    How long before they bring Ann, and her widow baiting tactics, back?

  33. Does it? Which is more inhuman…to rejoice that an evil man is dead,…or to feel less emotion than one would feel in dispatching a cockroach?

    I didn’t say we should feel nothing. To my thinking, our approach to this sort of thing ought to be more like the killing of a rabid dog. Grim and sad work, but necessary. As always, YMMV

  34. Show me one historical example of a sucssesful invasion and control of a country.

    William the Conqueror.

    Yeah, right. If he was so successful at invading and controlling a country, why was he called the Conqueror then?

    Um, wait. I have to think about this. Give me a minute. I’ll be right back. Talk amongst yourselves.

  35. Far as I can tell, them emperor penguins ain’t put up much of a fuss since we took over Antartica, either. ‘Emperor’ my foot!

  36. Yeeeaah!!! Up yours, Thomas Dewey!! Suck on it, Wendell Wilkie!!!!!!

  37. Sadly, even our conquest of the moon was a failure. We cut and ran a long time ago on that one.

  38. “As always, YMMV”

    What we have here is “failure to communicate”. So does YMMV mean “Your Mileage May Vary” or “You Mistake My View” ?

  39. or what?

  40. Your Mileage May Vary

  41. I thought it meant “You make me vomit”

  42. Okay just for you grade school level historians let me rephrase.

    “What sovereign nation was ever invaded that resulted on a long lasting fundamental cutural change that has withstood the test of time?”

    And WWII is differant because WE (ie. the Allies) were repelling the invaders.

  43. Tactically, obviously this changes very little to nothing. Zarqawi has probably been out of operational control for some time of large parts of the insurgency, so killing him now accomplishes only the task of taking a small band of terrorists under his control, and jumping Presidential approval points up a notch for a brief time.

    Even taking out Bin Laden at this point would only accomplish compensatory justice in executing a criminal, but do nothing to stop the raging wildfire of Islamic fundamentalist extra-national activities.

    That the insurgency is composed of many splinter groups and is systematically bigger than one man, seems to get missed by all the simple minded MSM talking heads who want to reduce all human activity to simple personality politics. Sort of like the people who blame Hitler for ALL of Nazi Germany, yet miss pointing fingers at the faceless numerous Germans that did the actually rounding up of Jews, manning of the gas chambers, and engineering of the trains to Dachau and Bergen-Belsen.

    I had drill the weekend that Saddam was captured. “This changes absolutely nothing, realpolitik-wise” I said to fellow Marines and sailors who looked at me as if I had made a seditious remark. Ditto for all my ignorant civilian co-workers who cheered when the Iraqis pulled down Saddam’s statue on CNN.

    Someone else mentioned the bulge in Bush’ flysuit. Enjoy it while you can CinC, as the Saltpeter of Reality kicks in tomorrow morning when Iraqi insurgents NOT tied to Zarqawi go on as if nothing ever happened ….

  44. kwais, you are alone in your thinking. Very alone.

    Well, perhaps not. Kwais’ perspective on the war may deserve a little bit more thought, since he’s seeing all of this firsthand, unlike most of the rest of us.

  45. Far as I can tell, them emperor penguins ain’t put up much of a fuss since we took over Antartica, either. ‘Emperor’ my foot!

    Do not mock my people…

  46. kwais: You are not alone.

    I agree with the sentiment of Tom, that it is bad to celebrate a death. I also agree with anyone who wants to cheer that there is one less head-sawing pigf*cker infecting our planet, and I have gratitude for all those who helped make it happen.

    BAI: This changes nothing iff we dismiss the importance of USA opinion and resolve. Since this enemy cannot win by force, it seems that opinion points are worth more than body count.

  47. Something the “victory” celeberations over at NRO remind me of. How much we are beginning to look like the enemy.

    We entered Pogo territory around 1980 when the Religious Right and the Ayatollah both took over their respective countries. Not news to anyone but the reactions of Islamic and Christian fundamentalists to 9/11 were very similar, blaming our supposedly permissive culture for thousands of deaths. And how about our new “crusade”?

  48. “What sovereign nation was ever invaded that resulted on a long lasting fundamental cutural change that has withstood the test of time?”

    South Vietnam by North Vietnam. (I suppose you could quibble about that one.)

    Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam by the U.S.

    The soverign Native American tribes west of the thirteen colonies by the U.S.

    Texas by the U.S. (Inside job.)

    Canada and Australia (At least.) by Britain.

    And WWII is differant because WE (ie. the Allies) were repelling the invaders.

    Not after we got to Germany and Japan.


  49. Using WWII as measuring stick, haven’t we essentially lost both the Afghan and Iraq conflicts?

    Why use WWII as a measuring stick?

    After this long in Germany, we had completly squashed not only the enemy, but we had controlled Germany completly, we had secured it completely, and were in the process of building a constitutional non-theocratic government.

    That is what happens when you have the Soviet Union coming in the other direction. I am not so sure that the East Germans felt that they had much of a government for quite a while.

  50. Wars without blunders only happen in Libertarian utopia. A nice place to visit. It has only minimal contact with the real world.

  51. joe at June 8, 2006 10:40 AM,

    Evidently the useless war in Iraq attracted the Zman there so he could be more easily captured or killed.

  52. SmokingPenguin:

    I assumed you were from a different species ’cause I say that movie and not one of them birds lit up once the entire time.

  53. Wars without blunders only happen in Libertarian utopia.

    Come again? What libertarian utopia is that?

    (I assume you mistakenly capitalized Libertarian…or maybe I just haven’t read their party platform, which calls for “wars without blunders”.)

  54. Bush is the anti-christ. With the new national ID program we will all bear the mark of the beast.
    Good luck fundies!

  55. Something the “victory” celeberations over at NRO remind me of. How much we are beginning to look like the enemy.

    I am not convinced. Very few Americans are in favor of deliberately targeting innocent civilians and most agree with the policy of taking substanitial measures to minimize civilian casualties when engaged in military action in areas populated by civilians. There may have been a few military operations ordered by military leaders which were unjustifyable due to risk of harm to innocent bystanders, insufficient precautions against it, lack of a compelling necesity for that particular strike. If so those activities deserve criticism. It is certainly true however, that our government and military, for all thier faults, do a hell of alot more to avoid harming innocent people than bin Laden and his jihadist cohorts would if they possesed the same power.

    Also, as I noted above, there are reasons that celebrating Zarqawi’s death is significantly different than celebrating the death of innocent people.

    Using WWII as measuring stick, haven’t we essentially lost both the Afghan and Iraq conflicts?

    After this long in Germany, we had completly squashed not only the enemy, but we had controlled Germany completly, we had secured it completely, and were in the process of building a constitutional non-theocratic government

    The fact that the conflicts are still occurring is not the same thing as the US having lost. It does however raise the question of what exactly would constitute victory or defeat. In both Iraq and Afganistan the military defeated the governments of those countries but now is fighting non-governmental militias in Iraq and the remnants of the taliban near the pakistan border. If US troops witdraw from Iraq and the country ends up being kind of free with a decent government that is not hostile to the US, but still plaged by terrorism and civil strife for several years, would that be victory?

  56. “What sovereign nation was ever invaded that resulted on a long lasting fundamental cutural change that has withstood the test of time?”

    Again, the Norman conquest of England. But that has already been mentioned.

  57. jf,

    “Iraq DID have WMD? Iraq WAS working with al-Qaida? Now I’m all confused.”

    Please read the article more closely. They were based in NORTHEN IRAQ, the area in which the Iraqi government had neither control nor presence. In fact, they were operating in an area nominally controlled and governed by our allies, the Kurdish government. Not that the Kurds were “working with Al Qaeda” – they were out in the boonies, sort of like the tribal areas of Pakistan.

    M. Simon,

    As has been pointed out, “Z Man” was in Iraq before the war (ie, was not drawn there by the war) and could have been eliminated before the war (ie, the war did not make it possible to kill him). In fact, the White House made the decision NOT to kill him, as part of its strategy to gain support for the war – which means that the war, rather than being the cause of his death, in fact delayed his death, and made it possible for him to kill countless innocents.

    Some people view the war against Al Qaeda as important. Others, like those who control our government, view it as a great opportunity to carry out their longstanding, unrelated plans.

  58. aspendougy, please stop. You’re hurting the cause.

    “Approximately 30% of those interviewed in the affected areas displayed symptoms of radiation sickness.” Depleted uranium isn’t radioactive – that’s why it’s DEPLETED uranium. It is a toxic heavy metal, not a radiological threat.

    And, pray tell, what is a “citizens court?” Is that anything like the “people’s courts” they had in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia?

  59. aspendougy, please stop. You’re hurting the cause.

    “Approximately 30% of those interviewed in the affected areas displayed symptoms of radiation sickness.” Depleted uranium isn’t radioactive – that’s why it’s DEPLETED uranium. It is a toxic heavy metal, not a radiological threat.

    And, pray tell, what is a “citizens court?” Is that anything like the “people’s courts” they had in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia?

  60. Capturing a terrorist is great but what else is there to cheer about from that quarter? It means very little to the war effort in Iraq, which was doomed to failure as long as the Bush administration and its minions and troubadors merely composed paeans to democracy forgetting that without a republican blue-print for limited government, democracy will just lead to theocracy in that region, and/or endless violent tribal jockeying for power. But we couldn’t impose republican principles either at the point of a gun. That had to come from within. NRO is just silly.

  61. Right on joe! Way to police your own! 🙂

  62. I, for one, am glad that Zarqawi can no longer hurt anybody. What else is there to say?

    Is there some sort of domestic political point that I should attempt to score in response to this good news?

  63. And, pray tell, what is a “citizens court?” Is that anything like the “people’s courts” they had in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia?

    We can be pretty sure it isn’t anything like this People’s Court.

  64. “What sovereign nation was ever invaded that resulted on a long lasting fundamental cutural change that has withstood the test of time?”

    I assume you are excluding any invasion where the invaders moved in for good and became locals. Thus William the Conqueror would not count, nor would Rome, neither would the centuries long Ottoman invasion of Asia Minor, nor the US annexation of Hawaii. It is interesting in US history that when the US did not move in large amounts of white Europeans, the local culture pretty much resisted fundamental change – i.e. Phillipines or even Puerto Rico. Unless someone has some good counter-examples the sad but inevitable conclusion I draw is that a sovereign country’s cultural trajectory can only be changed through a massive change in that country’s population. Either through killing most of the agressive males (Germany & Japan in WWII) or by displacing them with an imported population (most of the sucessful examples previously cited). In Iraq we are doing neither, although a cynic might argue that by encouraging the civil war in all likelihood we will end up with an Iraq with a substantially lower Sunni population in 10 years. In that sense the war has not been in vain – what Bush has unleashed will almost certainly result in a fundamental cultural change in what is now Iraq. Whether that is a good thing for the Iraqis or the US I guess only time will tell.

  65. “I, for one, am glad that Zarqawi can no longer hurt anybody. What else is there to say?”

    That he might not have existed in the first place?

  66. “when the US did not move in large amounts of white Europeans”

    It probably would be more accurate to say “non-locals,” as I don’t think whites ever made up the majority of the Hawaiian population, but the addition of substantial numbers of Chinese and Japanese immigrants drove the share of pureblood natives down to less than 10%.

  67. I don’t think the new overlords have to be a majority of the population to effect change – they weren’t in the case of William the Conqueror, the Romans or the Ottomans either. But the invaders have to at least kill off or entirely displace the old elite (which we did in Hawaii) and make a commitment to sticking around as the new elite population. You’re right about Hawaii but I was thinking of the elites. Also hadn’t we already effectively taken real control of Hawaii even before we started importing Asian immigrants?

  68. “Also hadn’t we already effectively taken real control of Hawaii even before we started importing Asian immigrants?”

    Significant Asian immigration actually started before the overthrow of the monarchy. In the 1850s, IIRC.

  69. WRT successful Ancient World conquerings:

    Wasn’t it the hallmark of a lot of these cases that the conqueror didn’t make radical changes in the day-to-day affairs of the general populace? I thought that Rome, for instance, generally replaced the existing regime with a client aristocracy or simply forced the existing regime to pledge fealty and called it good. Then they collected taxes, built roads and amphitheaters and whatnot, but left local law and custom mostly unchanged. And didn’t medieval (e.g. Conquering Bill) land grabs typically change life significantly for the ousted rulers but very little for the peasantry?

  70. Since 9/11 wa staged by the U.S government in collaboration with Mossad and Osama bin Ladin is either a creation of or being held by the CIA, why would anybody believe that Zarqawi ever existed?

  71. There’s also the entire Muslim Middle East, all of which was conquered by the sword resulting in a large cultural shift that persists to this day.

    As for Rome, one can always count Carthage – it’s culture was permanently changed by the Punic Wars.

    Colonial Africa would seem to be another good example.

    But to get back to the original point, the reason skeptics get mocked is because so many of them make bizarre, easily disproved statements like Jess’.

  72. Smappy, it depended. In the West the Romans gave retiring soldiers land grants in Gaul, Iberia, Dalmatia and Dacia resulting over time in a large influx of Latin speakers to those territories (and eventually Spanish, Portuguese, French and Romanian). The East was more “civilized”, and local rulers and local elites were mostly left in place as long as they didn’t cause trouble (like the Jews did), so there were very few Roman immigrants and hence very little cultural change.

  73. In regards to becomeing those we fight against, I also find it gross to celebrate killing some loser terrorist, but does that only makes the Corner superficially similar to those rabid dogs.

    If they were really acting like those nutjobs, they’d be calling for the nuclear destruction of all population centers with Muslim majorities and converting any survivors to seculaar humanism.

    While that might be Mann Coutler’s schtick, they did drop her like a hot potato after her column.


  74. f US troops witdraw from Iraq and the country ends up being kind of free with a decent government that is not hostile to the US, but still plaged by terrorism and civil strife for several years, would that be victory?

    If US troops can draw down troops to around 70,000 and we end up with an iraqi government that is reasonably non-brutal, reasonably secular, reasonably democratic, not expansionstic, not anti-US (it doesn’t have to be pro-US), and not an economic basket case, and is still governing a single country, then I would say that the net impact of the Iraq war has not been negative.

  75. Ship Erect at June 8, 2006 12:57 PM,

    For all its faults (and they are myriad) the American religious fanatics are not proposing hanging of gays for being gay or stoning women for adultry.

    They may be of the same kind as the Islamic Imperialists. They are far from being of the same degree.

    In addition we can point to our nutters and claim they are not adhering to their founder’s ideas of separation of religion and state. The same can not be said of Islam. In Islam religion and state are one. Not very libertarian. Or is it?

    BTW the DU cannard has been totally debunked so many times I’m surprised such intelligent folks as can be found here still fall for it. Science must not be a lib strong point. What will be the next to go? Reason?

  76. joe at June 8, 2006 02:22 PM,

    Are you saying Saddam supported and protected terrorists?

    BTW how would we have captured or killed him when Saddam was running things? Show Saddam a warrant?

  77. If US troops can draw down troops to around 70,000 and we end up with an iraqi government that is reasonably non-brutal, reasonably secular, reasonably democratic, not expansionstic, not anti-US (it doesn’t have to be pro-US), and not an economic basket case, and is still governing a single country, then I would say that the net impact of the Iraq war has not been negative.

    What if the Iraqis conclude that some partition (formal or de facto) is the best way to achieve the other goals on that list? Would you be OK with that?

    I’d be OK with it if the Iraqis decided on it and it worked.

  78. kwais: You are not alone.”

    Thanks for showing that I am not alone in my beliefs. Sometimes when reading these threads it seems like I am.

    It is not that I think that the administration does not make mistakes. They probably make a bunch. But when ever I hear people say how the administration has mishandled the war, I have to throw up the BS flag. Usually I hear these complaints:
    -We should have used more troops.
    -We should have left the Iraqi army and police intact
    -And something about we should have more control over the Iraqis and their governance now.

    All those are wrong. All made by people who do not understand the problems or the culture, or the consequence of those actions.

    Then there are some criticism which may or may not be valid. -We should have shot the looters on site to restore order, and -We should have gone into Falluja sooner. There are pro and con arguments for both those points. But it is clearly not black and white.

    Both in Afghanistan and in Iraq the invasions were done brilliantly with the military that we had at the time(I guess that is thanks to the military more than the administration.)

    And in both cases the aftermath of the invasions is not going easy. But anyone that says that they have the formula to have made them smoother and bloodless and guarantee democracy and womens rights and all that crap, is an idiot.

    Well maybe not an idiot. Maybe there is a formula that I haven’t heard. All the ones I have heard are crap though.

    Even the many people that think we should have used nukes are stupid if they really think that that would have solved the problem.

  79. “we end up with an iraqi government that is reasonably non-brutal, reasonably secular, reasonably democratic,”

    Reasonably democratic….so they can “vote” to kill the falafel makers or people wearing shorts.
    Reasonably secular….see above.

  80. Kwais

    I think the mishandling of the war began with the decision to take over another nation thru force. That’s about as black and white as it gets… and there’s certainly grey enough to go around even in that.


  81. What if the Iraqis conclude that some partition (formal or de facto) is the best way to achieve the other goals on that list? Would you be OK with that?

    Maybe, but partitions in such volatile areas tend to be unbelievably bloody (cf India/Pakistan and Yugoslavia). What happens to mixed cities like Baghdad and Mosul ?

    There have been some examples (Czechoslovakia was one such) of partitions being non-violent and peaceful, but I see little to indicate that Iraq would partition peacefully.

  82. “But anyone that says that they have the formula to have made them smoother and bloodless and guarantee democracy and womens rights and all that crap, is an idiot.

    Well maybe not an idiot. Maybe there is a formula that I haven’t heard. All the ones I have heard are crap though.”

    No magic formula for sure, but what about using the amount of nation building resources that are going into failing in two nations to build just one (Afghanistan). The resources used in Iraq would surely have made a noticible difference on the outcomes in Afghanistan.

  83. Why would we want to ‘guarantee democracy’ in a theocratic nation? We have enough problems in our own country with democratic efforts (barely constrained by our own robust bill of rights) on the part of our own theocrats, religious or secular, who want to vote on some of our most basic liberties.

  84. MainstreamMan takes the honorably non-violent position that using force is wrong. That’s nice, but I think it is less wrong (still wrong, but one of the tough choices life presents) to kill a rapist in the act. Principles get soft when someone is bleeding.

    Then MM admits there’s no magic formula, and argues that if things were different things would be different. By the first point, invading Afghanistan was wrong. It seems the thinking might be, “use twice as much coercion half as often.” Maybe that would be better, but probably not possible when there’s a need to stop two rapists simultaneously. How many suffering victims is too many to help?

    Once you’re accepting of using force, you assess your resources and work down the list of priorities. Instead of Iraq, was Sudan or Somalia more important to “rescue”? Would it have been a bigger all-consuming project to subdue and re-educate the N Koreans?

    Even those who are steadfast against coercion must admit they would like all those places to be far far different than they were.

    A reasoned morality can judge that killing is wrong but sometimes not killing is worse. It’s not the only way, but that’s way we went. So, cheers to the fact Zarqawi will never hurt anyone again.

  85. midbrowcrisis,

    As far as I know the “falafel crisis” was not put to a vote. It was just some thugs in a neighborhood.

    Be patient, we will get to them.

  86. No one voted to kill the falafel makers. But in a democracy (with no republican constraints on majoritarianism in place), falafel or some other trivial good could be voted illegal (more likely if the population is generally Islamic and finds the good in question an offense to the faith). If someone is caught with the good then they could be stoned to death.

  87. And we sent our boys and girls to die and kill thousands of Iraqis only to put in place the much vaunted idea of ‘democracy’ where two mullahs can vote to kill a tennis player with exposed calves. It’s a mad mad mad mad mad world.

  88. midbrow,

    I guess there is no democracy in Compton where gang bangers can vote to kill their rivals and carry out the sentence.

    In any case I thought that our military was fighting against those sorts of folks.

    However, I do see the point of your utopian vision. If Iraq does not turn into Elk Grove Village or Paletine within a few months all is lost. Especially if they keep any remnants of their current culture.

  89. Funny, I had never considered republican government and principles as utopian (just a vast improvement over democracy). I wonder if the Framers would agree.

  90. If you read the Iraqi Constitution you’ll notice that the first thing mentioned is that Iraq is an Islamic Nation. And the first mention of laws is that the rules of Islam are the laws of the land. Now, given that, which laws do you think will take precedence when there is any conflict between Islamic law and the other so-called rights? Think about this as Iraq develops and more of the conservative mullahs come into power, which one is more likely to win out?

    Thank Thor our own Framers did not declare Christianity the official religion of the land – then again, that pales in comparison to the damage that conservative Islam can do to a country.

  91. Zarqawi’s death is an unqualified good. That f*cker deserved to die. I am only disappointed that it was not more painful and horrific.

    Will it end terrorism or the insurgency? No. But then again, catching a bank robber has never meant the end of bank robbery. Some wars never end.

    Nonetheless, I think the US involvement in Iraq is not worth the resources poured into the place. Zarqawi’s death does not change this or justify this.

  92. Stop Killing Terrorists!

    This band of truly insignificant worms does not deserve the sweet release of death and subsequent martyrdom. They should be tried in public and, if found guilty, placed in a bulletproof, bomb-proof, inescapable Lexan cell with 24-7-365.25 surveillance available as live Internet feeds. They should be given the most advanced medical care available to ensure they live long, emasculated lives in a public venue so that each and every day they and their ilk will be reminded constantly of what utterly incompetent failures they are. Let this sub-human slim sit for ages, festering in their own powerlessness as the eyes of the world cast shame and degradation upon them. Let their kind know we *own* them body, mind and soul. Make them repay forever their transgressions against humanity. To take their lives quickly is an act of petty revenge and a waste of good resources.

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