Foreign Policy

Iraq: Mission Accomplished! (Really, Now)


Glenn Greenwald notes a phenomenon I discussed/predicted back in 2003 and again in 2007 regarding how the world's thought leaders tend to spin a war once its biggest costs are seemingly in the past. The Iraq war is now a success!:

It was only a matter of time before American elites abandoned their faux regret over Iraq.  For tribalists and nationalists, America can err in its execution but never in its motives.  There's no question—as this glorifying, propagandistic Newsweek cover story reflects—that it's now official dogma that this was the right thing to do, or at least that we produced something great and wonderful for that country, as was our intent all along (leaving aside the what is actually happening in Iraq).  It's nothing short of nauseating to watch those responsible glorify what they did without weighing—or, in Friedman's case, affirmatively dismissing as irrelevant—the extreme amounts of death and suffering that they caused, all based on false pretenses.  But this is why Tom Friedman is the favorite propagandist of "Washington insiders"— because he feeds them the justifications they need to feel good about themselves.  Forget all those innocent dead people and destruction you caused; it all worked out in the end.

Now see Glenn Greenwald aim his spleen at Reason; and see in this comment thread Hit and Run readers aim their spleen at me for daring to link to Glenn Greenwald.

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  1. regarding how the world’s thought leaders tend to spin a war once its biggest costs are seemingly in the past now that a Democrat is in the white house

    1. True.

      You know, I was listening to an NPR segment the other day, regarding decisions not to disbarr Joun Yoo, military tribunals of Guantanmo Bay prisoners, normalizing relations with Uzbekistan, etc., and the guest commenter was going on about how ideals are one thing, and the reality of governing is something else, and sometimes when faced with the reality of governing, you have to make hard choices. Blah blah.

      Right then it was obvious. When you have sympathetic commenters on NPR talking about the hard choices a president has to make in war-time, you know that the left-liberal political class has shifted. Democrat in the White House? All the *exact same* things that the Bush administation said are now legitimate excuses, for Obama.

      1. Yep, thats how it works. Its all about clique and style/

      2. I actually agree about having to make hard choices when you govern. But I also think that candidates should make themselves aware of this while they’re campaigning so they don’t make promises that they’re not going to be able to keep once they’re elected.

  2. Greenwald is more libertarian than half this magazine’s staff (and 2/3 of this blog’s commenters) are.

    1. I am not sure about that, but he is definitely libertarian friendly.

    2. I would not call him libertarian, but he doesn’t blindly follow the democratic party (a party hack if you will) and he seems to actually hold some core principles (civil liberties for one) – both of which are rare qualities in a liberal.

      all in one sentence.

    3. He’s pretty liberal, and I doubt more libertarian than the Reason staff. But his blog is one of the few I read other than this one, and is about the only thing worth reading on Salon – most of which has dissolved into idiocy of the sort Greenwald himself tends to castigate.

      He has some standard Team Blue moments though.

  3. Why did Reason link to that idiot? I couldn’t read that crap past the 2nd paragraph. He’s just cranky.

  4. I’m too busy playing Borderlands to RTFA, but is Greenwald coming down on fellow leftists for now saying “mission accomplished”, or is he coming down on neocons for now claiming success?

    If it’s the former, good for him. The latter, well, why is he surprised?

    1. Say what you will about Greenwald, but he will and often calls out his side as well.

  5. For tribalists and nationalists, America can err in its execution but never in its motives.

    Sorry, I can’t get behind analysis that feels that it has to attack motives. It’s unnecessary, politically unconvincing and ineffective as a tactic, and irrelevant. Some of the worst violators of liberty have those whose motives have been perfectly pure– and those sorts of people can be the worst, as C.S. Lewis noted:

    Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

  6. Yea, we’re sorry. We are currently accepting applications for a murderous, torturing dictator type who can be expected to kill another 4 million over the next 20 years. When we find him, we’ll put our new Saddam back in power and make it all up to them. What the hell we’re we thinking trying to make a free democratic nation. Where do we get off. Especially if it was gonna cost lives. Nothing is worth that!

    1. I can’t help but hope that you will someday be “liberated”…good and hard… like we did the Iraqis.

      Mind the checkpoints, eh

      1. Do you think they want to go back to what they had? Have you noticed the pride the, the spirit, the humanity they have now as shown by those now free people in their elections. Maybe you don’t think they deserve it, maybe you don’t believe in basic human rights that are only ever guaranteed only by the willingness of brave people willing to sacrafice for them. Maybe you don’t value what you always have been lucky enough to have without threat.

        Yes, I would hope to have my country liberated from the horrors that nation was enduring with no end in sight and only the wonderful prospect of Saddam’s legendarily compassionate sons taking over for the next couple generations for my children to endure. Yes, I would hope to be liberated like that too, even if it cost me my life. But you know what, if the U.S. was in that unfortunate situation there is not a single nation on this planet that would sacrifice to liberate us, or anyone else for that matter.

        This is an exceptional nation which did and exceptionally good and difficult thing in Iraq. Maybe you wouldn’t mind living your life in desperation and constant fear behind your helplessly locked door with no one to call when the state rapists and thugs come. We are not all the same I suppose.

        1. Now the Islamists blow you up, or have you shot if you do something they disapprove of. Big improvement.

          1. True in 2006 not so much anymore. We win.

        2. Why should one American have had to die for this? Why should one tax dollar have gone to this?

          There are still plenty of murderous scumbag dictators left. You want to go after one, you’re free to do so.

    2. “What the hell we’re we thinking trying to make a free democratic nation.”

      Yes, because, the government always acts, shortsightedly, to grow its own power, except when it comes to war, wherein its motives magically become altruistic. What a great Republican you are.

      1. “We” can just refer to the supporters of the war, not necessarily the GOP gov.

  7. There are two important views on Iraq.

    1) Strategic interests of the United States.

    When it becomes clear that a slate of Islamist movements, at least one (SCIRI) created by and still armed and funded by the Mullahs in Iran, aren’t the biggest beneficiaries of our efforts in Iraq, I’ll feel a lot better about the strategic success that is Iraq.

    …whether what we got was worth the loss of life–American life–and worth all the American casualties, only time will tell…

    Of course, our alternate scenario should consider that Saddam Hussein was not a terrorist threat to the United States…and played a significant role in keeping Iran in check.

    2) How the people of Iraq feel about all of this.

    When it becomes apparent that the average Iraqi is glad and grateful for what we’ve done there since 2003…

    Why should it matter whether Americans think what the Iraqis got was worth all the Iraqi death and Iraqi suffering?

    We love to think the people we occupy are grateful for the privilege though, don’t we?

    I blame Adenauer.

    1. Sadaam was a great big supporter of Islamist militancy (ALL of which is detrimental to American interests) and his ability to counter Iran was weak. He was also busting through those sanctions placed on him with front companies. The no fly zone was violated just about every week. The situation prior to the war was unsustainable; America had to get rid of that guy. Should America have even bothered getting involved in the 1st Gulf War? NOW that’s a different story.

      1. Even if the situation in Iraq prior to the invasion was unsustainable, not that I’d concede the point yet, that doesn’t mean we had to do what we did.

        Just because the other options weren’t considered by the Bush Administration, doesn’t mean there weren’t other options.

        Also, again, I’m a little weary about hearing about the Islamist threat in Iraq prior to the invasion, considering that the elections seem to be doing not but legitimizing Iranian created and funded Islamist groups, who for all intents and purposes are essentially like Hezbollah.

        …the only substantive difference being proximity to Israel and all that comes with that.

        So please! Saddam Hussein was a brutalized Islamist groups, who are now controlling the Iraqi legislative body and have their own armies now!…

        1. In other words, the chief beneficiaries of the invasion and occupation appear to be Islamist groups! …and Iran.

  8. The Iraqi survivors may be glad it happened. The dead (and their families) may not be. If they were willing to take the risk of paying that price, they could have killed Saddam w/o us. You can’t retroactively support something because it turned out someone else paid for it when you weren’t willing to.

    1. Such is the making of 5,000 years of recorded history. Like it or lump it, but it doesn’t change.

      Sometimes, something good comes from all the blood letting.

      Not always.

  9. Seriously, why does anyone read Greenwald? Heck, HOW does anyone read him? Endless piles of turgid prose, most notable for smarmy self-congratulation. Seriously, it’s like Rush Limbaugh plus sock puppets.

  10. Seriously.

  11. The day that someone shows me that Glenn Greenwald had an answer after 9/11 to fix the problem associated with murderous Islamic fundamentlists trying to kill as many westerners as possible that DIDNT include taking out the biggest Islamic terrorist pimp alive in Saddam Hussein is the day I will give a fuck about what Glenn Greenwald has to say.

    1. Saddam Hussein hated the Islamists, and they hated him.

      1. Don’t confuse the man with facts.

    2. Uh, Saddan Hussein was a secular leader.

      1. Wrong. Saddam cloaked himself in Islam. He was Pat Robertsons wet dream of a secular leader.

        1. No, he didn’t. A Islamist leader wouldn’t have surround himself with non-muslims. I think it’s important to note again that Islamists hated him.

          Sad, how so many continue to swallow neocon bullshit.

          1. Yeah he was so secular he had a Koran written with his blood for no reason.


            neocon bullshit indeed.

            1. That doesn’t really prove anything. More likely it was just a political ploy to gain curry among Islamists in his country. Not really the first time a politician has exploited religion for political gain. Compared to other Middle Eastern countries, Iraq was remarkably secular during his reign.

              1. So you just ignore the Fedayeen? al-ansar? It’s just a coincidence that Yousef -who failed to bring down the WTC the first time- was being protected in Iraq? There weren’t any other attacks besides 9/11 that he had or would have had nothing to do with?

                I’m glad you weren’t in charge the last 8 years.

                1. Yes, it’s a wonderful thing a libertarian wasn’t in charge the last 8 years. Look at all the great things that have occurred.

                  1. Yes. Take the isolationist route and ignore Saddam like a true libertarian. We all would be so much safer, right? Just lock the doors and live in our safe homogenous bubble whilst others suffer under shitheels like Saddam. It was a huge mistake to get rid of THAT guy. Geez what a disaster.

                    And all this while we wait in breadlines just like the depression! Truly we are suffering.

                    1. Wow, you have no idea what you are talking about at all. Pick up a history book sometime.

                    2. Bizarre that – what are you a conservative? Neocon? – “you people” consider minding our own business “isolationist”.

                      If my neighbor’s husband is beating the shit out of her on a regular basis & she refuses to press charges no matter how many times the police come, am I supposed to kill her husband?

                      Hell, I’ll trade with anybody anywhere, and I will defend other Americans’ rights to do the same wherever it may be, but I don’t see where we have any business forcing other countries to run their country a certain way.

                      But wait! It’s worked so well in Latin America!

  12. So Brian, you mean to tell us that there’s still a living human element in these people. I’m surprised.

    I’m just not sure if I’m being sarcastic or not.


    Saddam was a psychotic dictator who only cared about his power, and if New York lay in ruins it was just another day at the office for him. Those who want to revise history and pretend he was some innocent bystander while these punks plotted new exciting ways to murder innocent people are naive dangerous assholes.

    1. Those who want to revise history and pretend he was some innocent bystander while these punks plotted new exciting ways to murder innocent people are naive dangerous assholes.

      Yeah, anyone who says that none of the hijackers came from Iraq or had anything to do with Sadaam obviously values objective truth over being scared to death of make-believe things. Fuck those guys who aren’t so scared they’re willing to make stuff up!

    2. I agree that Sadam was a bad dude. I was also against going into Iraq in the first place.
      However, once we demolish a country, its irresponsible to leave it without building it up first.

      All things considered, the war has /finally/ turned out better than I expected. Hopefully the Iraqi people can return to their lives and we can go back to ours.

      1. Well, except for us.

        1. Don’t forget us!

  14. Yeah, that’s not what I said. Read it again. Try the link this time.

  15. Greenwald’s perpetual error, which is error of most war critics, is blaming the United States for every single violent death that has occurred in Iraq, which is so dishonest that he should never be taken seriously ever again. He even does it here, without blinking an eye:

    Forget all those innocent dead people and destruction you caused; it all worked out in the end.

    Are there innocent dead as a direct result of United States military action? Yes. Are they in the hundreds of thousands or millions as Greenwald constantly implies? No they are not – the resultant chaos cannot all be laid at the feet of the United States. If the Iraqis cannot control their own chaos, that’s their bag.

    And before everyone jumps up and down, the preferred foreign policy initiative around these parts is to destroy the leadership and threaten to come back, sans nation-building. Now, had we done that in Iraq, and then there had been slaughter on the streets, would you still blame all of it on the United States?

    Of course not.

    I am not sure about that, but he is definitely libertarian friendly.

    Fuck that. He’ll defend Citizens United, but in the same sentence advocate for full public funding of elections only. He’ll talk about how terrible the healthcare bill is, because it doesn’t have single-payer.

    The man is pretty much principle-less, except for on torture and terrorist trials, which I’ll admit he’s pretty good on.

    1. I didn’t say he was a libertarian. He is however very libertarian when it comes to speech, war, and civil liberties.

      1. When it comes to the Iraq War, he likes to play the role of the Parsin’ President:

        Several hundred thousand Iraqis — at least — were killed as a result of this war, with another 4 million being turned into refugees

        See…now 50,000 people a year die as a result of the advent of the automobile, but you don’t put all those deaths on the shoulders of Henry Ford. The United States’ connection to the deaths is a little less attenuated than that, but the constant “blame the government” drumbeat to gin up rage on Greenwald’s part is dishonest. if you want to “blame” somebody (for all the good it will do), blame the Iraqis, who apparently cannot operate without a strongman in power. After all, you remove the strongman and they set about slaughtering each other.

        1. Maybe they can’t function without a strongman. The country is a mash of ethnicities and religious factions arbitrarily thrown together by men from another continent playing with maps.

          At any rate, it’s not terribly fair to blame the Iraqi people–most of their problems have been imposed on them.

          1. Another inaccuracy. Iraq has pretty much always been the same country geographically.

            The Shiites in the south are *Arabs*, not Persians, and the border with iran roughly follows Persnian/Arab ethnic lines.

            It’s Africa where the states were arbitrarily cobbled together across tribal lines, not the middle east.

            1. You seem to have conveniently forgotten about Iraq’s northern border. Ever hear of “Greater Kurdistan”?

              There are plenty of arbitrarily drawn borders to go around. Even Europe has them.

              1. I’ll give you the Kurds, who have pretty much been fucked over by every passing empire for the last 500 years.

                But it’s not a product of European imperialism the way the border lines in Africa are. You look at a map of Africa, and you see *straight lines* drawn across thousands of miles of jungle and mountains. Iraq has straight lines, but only across deserts, where the only people around are bedouins. Notably, the border with Saudi Arabia isn’t in dispute.

    2. He’s a douche on a number of things, TAO, but what makes him interesting is that he is one of an incredibly depressing few leftists who will actually call out his own side for their bonecrushing hypocrisy, and man, that’s so rare that it has to be acknowledged.

      1. I’m also le tired of his constant “It’s OK to be a populous prick in the State of the Union address” posts. The point of that speech is to update the rest of the government on, well, how stuff is going and what needs to happen:

        He shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.

        John Roberts is right (though probably through accident of partisanship) that it was not meant to be a partisan, populist rally. And it is frankly just rude to talk about someone in front of his face.

        1. Considering how little politicians actually follow the meaning of the Constitution in so many more important ways, I’m not sure that the perversion of the State of the Union ranks high on my radar.

          “Why don’t you help me suck it? Wait a minute, that backfired. Gee, that sounded like I suck it all the time, which I don’t. And it also implies that I would need help, which we both know that I don’t. I can suck my own stuff. Listen, when I’m on, it’s dangerous!”

    3. +1 AO. We don’t always get along. But you are dead right on this. Greenwald is a cretin.

  16. However, once we demolish a country, its irresponsible to leave it without building it up first.

    Oh really? Just colonize the damn thing, take their resources and rule it, if that’s how it’s going to be. This massive welfare program for nations that piss us off has to end.

    1. That’s been my attitude since, oh, 10 seconds after the first US boots hit Iraqi soil.

      We never should have done it. But then we compounded the stupidity. You don’t tell people like that “now go build yourself a nice little peaceful democracy”. They can’t do it.

      If you want them to have a nice little peaceful democracy, you impose it. Then, if you want to be humanitarian about it, you let the natives work their way up through the ranks of this imposed government and assume positions of power. As they develop the ability.

      But you don’t pretend they can create this kind of system themselves. You impose it, and hope that they eventually come to like the end results. As in “gee, it really is kind of nice to have all this law and order stuff going on, with none of Saddam’s goon squads running around, and the rights and protections to own property, etc etc”.

      1. That really didn’t work so well for British Africa.

    2. Also, I figure there’s enough oil in Iraq to pay the costs of the imposition anyway. If we really had to invade Iraq, then why isn’t it also justice for us to take as much oil as it cost us to do the job?

      The Romans would not have asked “what is this going to cost?”. They’d have asked “how much am I going to make off all that freaking oil?”.

      Too bad Americans just aren’t that smart.

      1. It’s just barely possible there’s a reason the Roman empire isn’t around any more. We might want to look into that before urging the government to model their foreign policy after the Romans.

        1. It is an “if-then” kinda thing, Joel. If you are going to decide that we need to take a country for its and our own good, then you need to treat it as yours. This half-assery where we are going to let newly-freed people just kinda feel about is a recipe for chaos. If you want a society that looks like America, build a civil servant system and government that looks like America, and stick to your guns about it. Now we have some half-hearted autocracy that is even more militantly Islamic than it was prior to the invasion. Imperial tactics, once you make the decision to go, would have worked better than this weak sauce.

          1. “Now we have some half-hearted autocracy that is even more militantly Islamic than it was prior to the invasion. Imperial tactics, once you make the decision to go, would have worked better than this weak sauce.”

            This is why it was a huge mistake for us to invade Iraq. Modern America doesn’t have the stomach to colonize countries. This should have been obivious to anyone who pays attention. You can’t take a country over & then act weak, it invites chaos.

            1. I’ve said that several thousand times at least.

        2. Yes there are reasons why the Romans aren’t still around. But far and wide, they were much more intelligent about who/what they conquered than we’ve been in a very long time.

          Theirs was made of conquest, from one to the other. The fact that they conquered, was not the reason they collapsed. And relatively speaking in the historical records, few have lasted in as good a health, for as long, as the Romans did.

          You could do far worse than pick Rome as someone to learn from.

          1. The Roman Empire was massively overextended, and given the slow speed of communication at that time was essentially ungovernable. And it’s hard to consider a polity which had wars for succession as frequently as Rome did (even in its so-called Golden Age) as healthy by any standard.

      2. Actually, the Romans would have asked “How much am I going to make off of all these slaves?” (early empire), or “How many other countries can conquor with these conscripts?” (late empire)

        You know, if they *really* wanted to start a “domino effect”, they would have conscripted the Iraqis to fight Iran.

      3. Oil production took years to recover. Oil pipelines in the middle of nowhere made excellent targets for insurgents out to undermine the new Iraqi govt, and you can bet this activity would have been doubled if we had pursued a blatant conquer-and-pillage policy in Iraq.

  17. So, commentariat, which do you think we should have done?

    1) Let a man with a record of bloody war, mass murder, chemical weapons use, and nuclear ambitions wind up sitting on all the oil of Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, and Yemen, because his army can beat up the other local armies.

    2) Leave U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia indefinitely to keep the oil of the Arabian Peninsula out of the hands of Saddam Hussein, and any objectionable successors. (Note that this choice will inspire repeated acts of mass murder targeting the United States.)

    3) Remove Saddam Hussein at the cost of much blood and treasure to try to replace him with a lot milder regime, one sufficiently milder that it wouldn’t be particularly objectionable if it makes itself ruler of the Arabian Peninsula.

    C’mon, pick your poison. Saddam Hussein as the ruler of the world’s oil supply; American troops indefinitely defiling the theocratic kingdom containing Mecca; or the Iraq War.

    1. There are other options. Er, were, once upon a time.

      1. Such as?

        (Moving the troops to non-Saudi countries still on the Arabian Peninsula is merely a superficial variant on #2 with the same costs and provoking the same local reaction as #2. All it does is make it harder to physically isolate U.S. forces from the local population, causing more friction.)

    2. You forgot one little point.

      We’re talking about the presidency of George W. Bush, not George HW Bush.

      There was absolutely no chance of Saddam Hussein accomplishing any of that in 2002. Zip.

      The question is not “Was Saddam Hussein bad?”

      The question is “Was it worth the thousands of American lives lost, the tens of thousands of Americans maimed, and the trillion dollars spent, to get rid of Saddam Hussein?”

      And if your answer to that is “Yes”, you are a dangerous fool with no ability to conduct even a rudimentary cost/benefit analysis.

  18. DRM, howsabout let totalitarian regimes, of which the vast majority of SW Asia is composed, go to war with each other and stay out of it? I don’t see any government in the ME worthy our defense (other than Israel, and even that is a lukewarm sentiment on my part).

    1. Sure. That’s Option #1. Perfectly acceptable choice

      The fact that you didn’t immediately recognize it, though, makes me wonder how much serious thought you’ve actually put into the question. You seem to want #1 somehow shorn of the actual consequences.

  19. Just lock the doors and live in our safe homogenous bubble whilst others suffer under shitheels like Saddam. It was a huge mistake to get rid of THAT guy. Geez what a disaster.

    If Iraqis wanted him gone so badly, they could have done it themselves. I don’t see why every problem of every other country in the world is somehow my responsibility to pay for.

  20. Long ago, I made some bets around here with some people who disagreed that the war would leave Iraq a better place in March 2013 than in March 2003. Too bad we didn’t have any real money on the line.

    Far too many people conceived this as a short term project, which was ludicrous.

    1. You weren’t here in 2003. I don’t think you were even here in 2006, for that matter.

  21. Yeah, something I never understood about all the footage of the horrid dictator we saw in the run-up to the war was the proles ecstatically firing their AKs in the air during his appearances. How come, since he was so completely evil to them and they hated him so much and all …

  22. I must say I’m really happy/surprised to see so many people coming down on the pro side of the Iraq war (or at least not so blind as to say what Iraq has now is better than what it did 8 years ago).

    I mean, I can understand the pragmatic argument that taking out Saddam and establishing a democracy would just be too difficult. But, honestly, most of the anti-war arguments didn’t run along those lines and it made it really, really hard to even read reason magazine/Hit’N’Run during those years.

    29 million people now live under a representative government. For this American, who places value on other people’s freedom, the cost was worth paying. For the Iraqis, I doubt even so big a fool as you Brian, or Greenwald, would say they were better off living under Saddam.

    1. Fine. Why don’t you pay my fucking share while you’re at it.

    2. Why don’t you go to Iraq and kill yourself, and then you can answer that question again.

      Oh wait.

  23. I don’t mean to take sides, but that chap that ruled Iraq pre-2003 did quite a bit of killing too you know.

  24. I’ve said it before (at least to myself): Brian Doherty is the truest libertarian at Reason. I hope he continues to anger the posers.

  25. I don’t see why every problem of every other country in the world is somehow my responsibility to pay for.

    Look a little harder.

  26. For this American, who places value on other people’s freedom, the cost was worth paying

    it should not have been anyone’s call to make other people pay for your values, especially with their lives.

    I don’t mean to take sides, but that chap that ruled Iraq pre-2003 did quite a bit of killing too you know.

    So have the Hutus, Kim Jong-Il, Robert Mugabe, Muammar al-Gaddafi, Fidel Castro, the Communist Party of China, etc. etc. What the hell does that have to do with the price of tea in China?

    Injustice somewhere, at some point in time, does not impose an obligation on the United States taxpayer to shell out his money, that he earned, just to solve the problem. Why do Republicans love welfare for foreign countries so much?

    1. That’s a bit of a tired argument. I would refer you to some of Christopher Hitchens writings and lectures on the subject of why Saddam was much more vicious and evil than run of the mill tyrants like Mugabe. Examples of what Hitchens calls the “surplus value of tyranny”, that little bit of extra evil that wasn’t necessary for civil control, include forcing a family to watch and applaud as a family member was shredded while still alive for the crime of accidentally knocking a cup of tea onto an image of Saddam on a magazine. Say what you want about Mugabe but he never did that and Zimbabwe is of no strategic importance to the US or any other state that fought in the Iraq war.

      Which brings us to the fact that as much as we hate to admit it we need that precious black gold and we don’t need the most vicious tyrant in the world ruling it and the constant threat of re-invasion of neighbouring oil states. Or to put it more succinctly it’s fine if you want to live in a moral vacuum but we can’t lose our oil (and I don’t mean that as a facetious leftard prattling on about a war for oil). Also read the book The Bomb in My Garden to get some idea of what Saddam would have done if the UN lifted sanctions and nations that need oil started pouring billions of dollars into Saddam’s hands once more.

      1. include forcing a family to watch and applaud as a family member was shredded while still alive for the crime of accidentally knocking a cup of tea onto an image of Saddam on a magazine.

        Where’s your cite on that? that sounds like a total load of shit.

        1. As I said already it was Christopher Hitchens, who got his info from Human Rights Watch. It was either in a Slate article or a lecture that was uploaded to YouTube. I’ll try and find it for you later. Or you could just Google it or better yet search the Human Rights Watch site for Saddam Hussein. I never had the stomach to do that after Hitchens claimed that what you’ll read will freeze your blood; you’ll never get the images out of your head.

          1. I don’t care – that’s nothing more than emotionalism. Try reading the accounts of the Rwandan genocide/civil war and pretend that Saddam was worse. he was not. But that does not matter.

            1. Like I said if you want to live in a moral vacuum (above “emotionalism”) than just ask the question what would happen to the world if we started paying Saddam for the oil once again? And in Iraq oil money doesn’t go to “the government” it goes to Saddam. Have you checked Amazon for The Bomb in My Garden?

              1. Sorry, I mean “would have/did go” to Saddam. It no longer does or can since the bastard is dead.

                1. Well, if we’re supposed to consider ONLY the oil, and not any moral principle whatsoever, then all we had to do was tell Saddam we wanted to be friends again, that we’d rearm his military, send him some 12 year old Scotch, etc.

                  He would have jumped at it in a moment.

                  That was the pure realpolitik move to make in the absence of any moral consideration.

                  So you lose the moral case, you lose the realpolitik case, and you lose the cost/benefit case.

                  Anything else?

                  1. Only one question: what are you smoking? Saddam would not have restarted his nuclear weapons program (and for the third time for you sceptics just Google The Bomb in My Garden) would not continue to harbour terrorists and would no longer invade neighbouring countries like he did during the years he was our “friend”? All that was needed to tame the psychopath who began his reign by public execution of “traitors” dragged out a theatre one by one is a bottle of Scotch? I hope you’re a troll, I really do.

      2. And, as another thought, is North Korea of less or more importance, strategically, and is Kim Jong-Il less or more evil than Saddam (not that that is relevant, but to you it is)?

        And more died in Rwanda than ever died at the hands of Saddam – I’d be glad to make a bet that, in one week’s time, I could find more evidence for that proposition than you could find against it. We’ll let the readers be the judge.

        1. I’d refer you to Hitchens once again on the subject of where a dictator stands on the monsterometer. The Short Leader is only slightly behind Hussein. There is no strategic importance of North Korea that I know of, and I have a feeling that Japan is getting sick of missiles flying over its head and may do something about it soon.

        2. Cooperating with genocidal and repressive governments, an act that usually backfires and leads to unfortunate consequences for the na?ve negotiator is the hallmark of Realpolitik. The decision to forcibly remove Saddam was the polar opposite of Realpolitik. And what do you think of the deplorable (even by U.N. Standards) attempt to starve the population of Iraq via the Oil for Food program? How many years could that continue?

    2. The fact that we cannot eliminate all injustice doesn’t mean that we should never eliminate any injustice. If you told me we could get rid of the Kim Jong Il for the price of the Iraq war, rather than tens of thousands of US and millions of Korean casualties, I would be willing to pay that price. Since we can’t do that, we don’t.

      We were able to wipe out one of the worse dictators in the world, kill 1000s of jihadists who would have otherwise been causing mischief and set up a functioning democracy in the middle of the Arab world. That will be paying dividends for decades.

      And suppose we hadn’t gone in. What was the alternative? Sit in Saudi Arabia pissing off every Muslim in the world? Yeah, just spend billions of dollars every year enforcing a no fly zone and UN sanctions that were starving the Iraqis out. And oh by the way, try to contain Iran at the same time. That would have so easy.

      You act like there were no downsides to not going in. That is just not true.

  27. For this American, who places value on other people’s freedom, the cost was worth paying.

    Just one more quick note:

    1. Direct costs = 700 billion
    2. Increase VA costs (conservatively) = 350 billion

    So, about 1 trillion dollars in direct, accountable costs, or 3,000 per man, woman and child in the United States.

    Yeah, I would have given you about 10 bucks or so.

    1. The cost is only relevent when compared with the alternative. What was the cost of continuing containment of Saddam? We had thousands of troops in Kuwait and Saudi for years. Those troops were not maintained for free. Or in the alternative of just leaving Saudi Arabia and welcoming Saddam back into the world community. The difference between the trillion and that cost, is the actual cost of the war. You act like doing nothing came for free.

      1. Then leave Saudi Arabia! What about any of those governments is worth defending to you? It’s like neocons never learn. “Well, if we continue to contain Saddam…”. Then don’t continue to contain him! Why do I care if Kuwait loses its oppressive and racist monarchy to an oppressive dictatorship?

        1. Okay, so we leave and let Saddam back into the international community. We know that he was waiting to restart his WMD and nuke program as soon as the heat was off. And further, since the Iranians are building nukes, he would have had no choice. Then we would have two avowed enemies of the US obtaining nuclear weapons and control over most of the world’s oil supply. Yeah, that would have turned out so well. No risk there.

          1. In the long run, John, unless we are prepared to continually intervene in and corrupt the Iraqi democracy for as long as it lasts, Iraq is moving into Iran’s orbit.

            It’s inevitable.

            So we either corrupt their government for decades the way we did in Italy and Greece, or support periodic coups, or leave them alone and watch the government fall of its own accord, or move into Iran’s orbit.

            That’s a great return for our trillion bucks and thousands of kids’ lives. Fantastic.

        2. And Saddam would have been a hero to the Arab world as the man who beat the West. But i am sure he would have lived quietly in peace and not caused any mischief. Right?

  28. Greenwald is just crying over the fact that his beloved Islamists weren’t able to win. He spent seven years predicting and hoping for gloom and doom. The son of a bitch actively rooted for the other side. And now that his team lost, he is whining.

    1. Instead Iran won the war. You currently have a government beholden to Iranian regime. Wow, that’s worth cheering. By eliminating the counterweight to Iran, we face a stronger Iran.

      1. They are beholden to Iran? Really? Citation on that besides wishful thinking?

    2. Yeah, there’s something seriously wrong this guy. It’s fine to have sympathy for the innocent people who die in war and it’s even OK to be a principled pacifist, but his sympathy towards the terrorists and the radical Islamists themselves should be disturbing to anyone who believes in liberty. These are not good guys.

      1. I don’t think Greenwald has ever written a single word about the war on terror that I don’t agree with.

        And I have no sympathy for Islamism, cunt. There is no more violent and militant atheist here than me.

        1. Then there may well be something wrong with you as well.

          Greenwald is an ultra-paranoid nut. Do you also agree with him that Bush himself had something to do with sending out the anthrax letters after 9/11 and that the F.B.I. investigation of the crime was all a big conspiracy? Because that’s the sort of crap that he believes.

  29. Wishful thinking? Try ignorance on your part:

    1. That article is two years old and predicts all sorts of gloom and doom that has never happened. Sorry, try again. Wishful thinking from two years ago doesn’t cut it.

    1. And that link is broken.

  30. Clearly you’re smarter than the current generals in Iraq:

    1. Iran is trying to influence their neighbor. No shit. But that article hardly supports the conclusion that “Iran won the war”, whatever that means. Grasp at whatever straws you like. But Iraq has an army, an elected government, and lot less violence that it had in the past. I don’t see where they are exactly doing Iran’s bidding. What are they sending tribute? Letting Iran occupy the place? Further, what is Iran going to do with this influence they are trying to buy? Perhaps make sure that Iraq doesn’t invade them again, which I hardly see as such a terrible goal.

  31. Or smarter than Thomas Ricks:…..er_in_iraq

    1. That is a letter from some Captain who did a tour in Iraq. Further, it just say Iran has all of this “soft power” in Iraq. Well so what? That still strikes me as a lot better than Hussain being in charge. And as I asked above, what are they going to do with all of this “soft power”. Isn’t it possible that Iran realizes that it can’t take over Iraq but it is scared shitless of a really powerful reformed Iraq and is trying to make sure it is on friendly terms and has some influence over it? Iran was invaded and fought the bloodiest post World War II war with Iraq not 30 years ago.

  32. Iran isn’t trying to influence its neighbor, it is tremendously powerful with the current regime. The current government, many of whom have ties to Iranian backed groups that fought against Saddam, still has very strong ties to Iran. While Saddam was a terrible guy, I’m not following the logic that when we leave Iraq the next regime will be all that much better. As depressing as it is, Iran is the closest thing to a democracy in the Persian Gulf. I’m also not following the cost benefit analysis of $1 Trillion dollars and thousands dead was worth it when we produced a likely Iranian ally.

    1. Saddam invaded two of his neighbors. Killed close to million people and tried to build nuclear weapons. I don’t see any evidence that any regime in Iraq will be as bad as that. Further, what does it mean to be an “Iranian ally”. Do you think Iraq would go to war in alliance with Iran? Do you think they would go invade Kuwait again at Iran’s bidding? I don’t see that.

      Iraq is majority Shia. They are not going to be as unfriendly to Iran as we are. So what? As long as they are not killing millions of people, sponsoring terrorism and invading their neighbors, it looks a hell of a lot better than Saddam did.

      1. So that result you discuss is worth $1 Trillion dollars? When do we stop invading countries that sponsor terrorism?

        1. A trillion dollars is worth it to eliminate someone who invades and terrorizes his neighbors in the most strategic region on earth.

          And as far as your comment on the US sponsoring terrorism, that is simply unworthy of response.

          1. I said that we invade countries that sponsor terrorism. Check your reading skills.

            1. We stop invading countries that sponsor terrorism against us, when they stop doing it. Terrorism is an act of war.

              1. Nice apology for this stupid statement:
                “And as far as your comment on the US sponsoring terrorism, that is simply unworthy of response.”

          2. The US openly admits that it sponsors terrorism, John.

            We have openly announced our intention to use violent covert operations to topple the government of Iran.

            Since US federal law recently redefined terrorism to include action against government bodies, and not just against civilians, any covert action we take against any other government is terrorism according to the text of our own laws.

            I think it’s a stupid definition, but that’s the other we use now. And if we’re going to use it, we have to apply it to ourselves, too.

  33. The fear of Iranian dominance is quite real. Iraqi generals believe it is a serious and major threat: “Gen. Mohammed Shahwani, who, as Ignatius writes, resigned in August over the issue of Iranian influence:

    When pressed about what his country would look like in five years, absent American help, he answered bluntly: “Iraq will be a colony of Iran.”

    1. I seriously doubt it will be a “colony of Iran”. Iraqis are not Persians. And let’s suppose you are exactly right. And it is even worse than you think. How is Iraq being a “colony of Iran” any worse than Iraq being run by a murderous dictator who say himself as the new Salahadin and was bent on controlling the entire Arab world? What does “colony” really mean? It would seem to me that it would mean that Iraq wasn’t a threat to Iran, which considering the effects of the last war between the two, isn’t that bad.

      1. I like that you’ve changed the goal posts. First you said that Iranian influence was wishful thinking, then, when confronted with the facts you say, oh well, it isn’t that bad. The problem is that we spent all those resources to stregthen a country that is a serious sponsor of terrorism and a threat to US interests.

        1. No I didn’t move the goal posts. I still say it is wishful thinking on your part. And you have provided nothing beyond anicdotal evidence to show that it is. But, the point is, even if you are right, so what?

          1. I also like that you mock the fears of an Iraqi General. Clearly you know more than Iraqi Generals.

            1. Yeah, one Iraqi general thinks Iraq will be a colony of Iran. Yeah, that settles the argument.

              1. I’ll take one Iraqi general’s opinion over your opinion.

    2. you think arabs will accept being ruled by persians?

    3. The key phrase there being “absent American help.” So, your argument is that the reason we shouldn’t be involved in Iraq is to avoid the consequences of not being involved in Iraq? Brilliant.

  34. So it was worth it? Really, you think that it was all worth it when Iran, who was always a bigger challenge is now stronger? You think that was worth $1 Trillion?

    1. First, since we can never know the alternative history of not invading, that is an unanswerable question. Second, even if it were answerable, the full answer wouldn’t be known until years after the US leaves.

      Regardless, the anti-war movement have been wrong throughout. First, it was that Saddam was going to use his WMD and the initial invasion would fail and be a humanitarian disaster. Then the Shia were going to rise up and throw the US out. Then it was there was going to be a full civil war that would permanently split the country. Then it was the country was going to be turned into Somalia because of the Suni insurgency. Then it was how the surge was going to just in the words of Obama “escalate the violence not contain it”. The surge was doomed to fail. None of those things has happened. Things certainly haven’t gone to plan. But none of the worst case scenarios that the anti-war people were rooting for (and don’t tell me Greenwald wouldn’t have been gleeful at the prospect of a US defeat) ever happened.

      And now that none of that has failed it is Iran is going to take over Iraq. Whatever it takes to convince yourself that you were right and everyone else was wrong. It is just geopolitics reduced to a sporting event. Your side can still hit the hail Mary pass and win the game.

      1. The alternative history was not to start a war in a non-threatening country based on invisible WMD. Iran would be less powerful in the region, and Iraq would still be somewhat stable.

        Very little good has come from this war, which anyone who’s not a complete Bush apologist knows there was never any justification for.

        1. Take it up with Al Gore, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton, who all claimed that Iraq was a huge threat in the early 00s. Also, I assume you are angry over Bill Clinton bombing a non-threatening country like Iraq and imposing horrific UN sanctions for 8 years right?

          1. I know many conservatives were mad at Clinton were those things yet embraced going to war with Bush in office.

      2. John,

        MY criticism of the war was that we were spending a trillion dollars and not getting SHIT for it.

        And we did, and didn’t.

        You think having a weak and dependent state that will need continual ongoing support was worth 1 trillion dollars.

        I think it only can possibly be worth it if there was no OTHER use we could have put 1 trillion dollars to that would have enhanced our security more.

        Are you going to stand there right now and tell me that spending a trillion dollars on missile defense wouldn’t have enhanced our security more than pissing it away in Iraq?

        You’re a fool.

  35. So you refuse to discuss whether it was worth the cost because it’s an “unanswerable question.” It isn’t that you can’t answer that question, it’s that you don’t like the obvious answer.

    I don’t consider geopolitics to be a sporting event, what I do believe in is balance of power situations do tend to stabilize regions. In the Persian Gulf, the counterweight to Iran was Iraq. That threat limited Iran’s ability to control its neighbors. Iran is now tremendously powerful, working closely with regimes in Syria, Lebanon, and rebel forces in Yemen and probably Somalia.

    I think that the US will have to maintain a long-term presence in Iraq to limit Iranian influence, but Iran will remain quite powerful there. I think that outcome of the Iraq war is becoming clearer as the situation stabilizes. However, that stability could quickly unravel once US forces leave. The civil war didn’t split the country because the Shia won the civil war, just like the civil war didn’t split the US when one side won.

    1. The cost of the war can only be known if you know the comparable cost of not going to war. It is not like doing nothing came for free. Since you can’t know the cost of doing nothing, you can never know the answer for sure. And I think it was worth it. The only reason you don’t think it was worth it is that you are convinced there will be an Iraqi division in the Iranian army. Since that has yet to pass and Iraq looks a lot better today than it did in 2002, I take the opposite view.

  36. and don’t tell me Greenwald wouldn’t have been gleeful at the prospect of a US defeat

    Just out of curiosity, if he sincerely thinks that the invasion was illegal and immoral, why should he not want a United States defeat? After all, you don’t cheer for the people who you think are wrong, do you?

    1. Because a US defeat would have meant the deaths of God knows how many people and the imposition of a jihadist government would have been one of the worst things imaginable.

      You can think the US should not have been involved in Southeast Asia. That is a respectable position. But if you were happy to see the Khmer Rouge and North Vietnamese take over and all of the deaths that followed, you are a piece of shit.

      1. Stop crying, Little One.

        It is not so much that you are happy to see worse people take over; you just want your government to stop doing the wrong thing. If the occupation is wrong, then opposing it is right. You want to have your cake and eat it, too, but the world does not work that way.

        1. If you actively rooted for the other side, you are a worthless piece of shit. And I hope you get rectal cancer and burn in hell.

          “If the occupation is wrong, then opposing it is right”

          And if the alternative to the US winning is worse, you still want it? You were happy to see a quarter of the population killed off in Cambodia to teach the US a lesson? You would have been happy to see millions die in Iraq and a Taliban style government to “end the occupation”?

          That is absurd. And it makes you an immoral swine. And frankly unworthy of discussing the issue with. And spare with the “little one” horseshit.

          1. John, that’s utterly irrational.

            I deny that we would have any moral responsibility for anything that might have happened if we walked out of Iraq in 2005 and never looked back.

            I honestly just wouldn’t give a damn, in moral terms.

            Because unless you’re a hypocritical intellectually dishonest scumbag [oh wait, I forgot] if it would be a moral crime for the US to fail to act to protect the Iraqi people “from themselves”, then every last moral claim about sins of omission ever advanced by collectivists and communists is and was true, too.

            The only time you are willing to concede ground to collectivist moralities is when doing so lets you shoot and kill brown people. Now why is that?

        2. If you honestly rooted for the other side and were happy to see US soldiers die, you no longer qualify as a human being. And I will no longer be responding to your posts.

          1. I said “if”. learn to read. Of course, one might wish that the United States gets its nose bloodied so that it ends the occupation and stops with the liberal nation-building throw-trillions-of-dollars down a well nonsense.

            The fact is, is that you are not able to discuss this issue rationally because you don’t want to. you heard anything about wishing the United States would lose and automatically assumed that someone would want to see Soldiers die….because that’s what you want to hear and read, because it allows you to close off debate. Well, fuck that. The person or persons to blame would be those who put those Soldiers in harms’ way for an immoral reason – they have some responsibility for the death as well. So deal with it, Little One.

            1. “you heard anything about wishing the United States would lose and automatically assumed that someone would want to see Soldiers die”

              How do you wish to see the US lose but then not want to see US soldiers die? You can’t have one without the other. By hoping the US loses, you are by implication hoping for a TAliban style government in Iraq and the deaths of US soldiers. There is no way around that. That is like saying you hope the Yankees beat the Red Sox, but you don’t want the Red Sox pitchers to give up any runs.

              You can parse it all you like. But, you really are a dirtbag. And a shocking dirtbag at that. I am really surprised and saddened. I didn’t think you were like that.

  37. And it is even worse than you think. How is Iraq being a “colony of Iran” any worse than Iraq being run by a murderous dictator who say himself as the new Salahadin and was bent on controlling the entire Arab world?

    And Idi Amin called himself the Lord of the Beasts, Birds, Fish and Sea Creatures (or whatever) – that was not true, either.

    1. Edi Amin never had an army of over a million and never invaded Kuwait. Had Edi Amin run a country as important and powerful as Iraq rather than a small country in central Africa, he would have been a lot bigger threat.

      1. The Iraqi Army was shown to be a total paper tiger, John. The United States rolled it in three weeks. Enough with your hyperventilating. The quasi-colonization of Iraq was, is and will always be the wrong decision. The trillion dollars is a low-ball estimate. The CBO and Joseph Stiglitz (likely biased w/ the latter, I admit) have put the projected cost between two and three trillion dollars.

        Duncan is also correct that you took away a quasi-secularist socialist regime as the buffer for Iran and replaced it with…a government that is even more Iran-friendly and Islamist. Awesome job.

        1. The US rolled it in three weeks. But no one else could have. We also spent hundreds of billions of dollars in the 1990s degrading that army and bombing the country daily. We were basically at war with Iraq from 1991 until 2003.

          Saddam was a buffer against Iran right up until the day he invaded Kuwait and became a threat to everyone else in the region. In 2003 we either had to admit defeat and go home or get it over with. The policy of containment and daily bombings of Iraq followed by what (thanks to the corruption of the oil for food program) amounted to a starvation blockade of Iraq had to end. Saddam was not buffering anyone in 2003. He was just killing and starving his own people and waiting for the day for the sanctions to end so that he could go back to terrorizing his neighbors. You can pretend all you want that he was going to turn into some loyal ally in the fight against Iran, but there is no evidence that suggests that.

  38. First it was that he was too powerful and important, now it’s his army was way to weak to act as a buffer, so why not invade anyway?

    How about ending the sanctions and gradually introducing that society into the rest of the world? Iraq has (had) an educated populace, big cities, infrastructure and universities. And the following only deserves one response:

    In 2003 we either had to admit defeat and go home or get it over with.

    Why then? Why 2003? is that some arbitrary year pulled out of your fourth point of contact for the purposes of an ex post justification? Why, yes, I am sure it is.

    Saddam was a buffer against Iran right up until the day he invaded Kuwait and became a threat to everyone else in the region.

    You’re kidding, right? Syria boasts a 500,000 person army. Iran boasts 12 million(!). Saddam couldn’t touch the Israeli army…so who was he threat to? Oh, right, the awesome and totally liberal and not oppressive at all House of Saud (army size: 310,000). Of course, you can say that controlling that much oil would be a bad thing, but you, of course, assume that Saddam could have held on to that kind of territory, you know, without massive IED-laden insurgencies.

    1. I would respond to that, but I still suspect that you wanted the other side to win, although I am willing to at least let you explain yourself. But if you did or are unwilling to deny it, then as I said above, you don’t qualify as a human being. And I only talk to other human beings.

      1. Of course not – you want debate shut down, and yelling “you’re opposed to the troops and you want them to die!” is a good way of doing it. You’re the POS who is using a hypothetical “if” to cry like a little girl and scream and stamp your feet and stop talking…but that’s because you know you’re wrong.

        1. There is “no” if to it at all. Your statements speak for themselves. And you won’t repudiate them. For minute I was angry. But, you have been a reasonable person. But, sadly I was mistaken. You are just not a serious person on this subject. And I am not going to waste my time arguing with you anymore.

          1. But, you really are a dirtbag. And a shocking dirtbag at that. I am really surprised and saddened. I didn’t think you were like that.

            I really don’t care, John. Shut down the debate all you like because I said “if” and gave you a hypothetical.

            So, John, again, because you’re slow, IF the Iraq invasion was wrong WHY would it be wrong to want the aggressor to lose? And how is it that you can be all sorts of aggressive towards those who would want the United States to lose an aggressive action, but not be mad at those who placed those Soldiers in harm’s way for no reason in the first place?

            1. Regardless of IF the Iraq invasion was wrong, the reason WHY it would be wrong to want the aggressor to lose might just be because we live in the country you call the aggressor. Our constitution has a word for adhering to the enemies of the United States.

              You may recall that not everyone thought we were right to get involved in either World War, either. But what I don’t really recall was a large segment of the population actively trying to undermine our war effort. Back then, people understood what was wrong with that.

  39. OK. We achieved our ever changing objective. That means 90 kilosoldiers can leave Mesopotamia tomorrow, right?

    What’s that you say? Ain’t gonna happen?

    In part for that reason, “we’re not leaving behind cooks and quartermasters,” Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said Wednesday in a telephone interview. The bulk of the remaining American troops, he said, “will still be guys who can shoot straight and go get bad guys.”

    So much for withdrawing all comabat troops. I predicted this (troops doing combat missions but not “technically” combat troops) more than a year ago.

    I say again to all who somehow believe that representative democracy has taken hold in Iraq – Call me when the first legitimate peaceful transfer of power occurs after all the US troops propping up the current Iraqi government leave.

    Until then, you have no, zero, zip, nada reasons to assert that such a thing has actually occurred.

  40. Always remember this about John:

    All the stuff he’s saying here about the benefits of the “victory” in Iraq are lies. He’s even probably lying to himself.

    Even if none of those “benefits” existed, he’d still consider the victory worth the costs.

    Because to him, the two words “We won!” were worth a trillion dollars and thousands of lives.

    Hell, those two words were probably worth TEN trillion dollars and the lives of 100,000 servicemen.

    And they’ll always be worth it, regardless of whatever future benefits or additional costs arise from what’s happened in Iraq.

    Because John is the kind of asshole “patriot” who looks at the country the same way that yahoos look at sports teams. As long as he gets to say, “We won!” he’s happy.

    1. All the stuff he’s saying here about the benefits of the “victory” in Iraq are lies. He’s even probably lying to himself.

      Ah yes, always question your opponents morals and honesty. I have the same respect for this sort of argument as I do for the idiots who call people against the war un-patriotic assholes who loved Hussein and don’t care about other oppressed humans at all, etc.

      This style of argumentation is the resort of those who can’t counter the arguments that opponents are actually making. It’s generally deployed against libertarians, arguing that libertarian pro-free market beliefs are really about selfishness and not caring about fellow Americans, and that the rhetoric about “freedom” is really about being able to say “I am rich and I won, and fuck all the rest of y’all.”

    2. Fluffy and The Angry Optimist, you’re just like the people who claim that libertarians oppose health care reform because lower taxes for themselves personally are “worth thousands of lives, and hell, probably worth hundreds of thousands of lives.”

      Easy to see why argument by hidden motive comes so easy to Greenwald, since he certainly does make the same argument on healthcare and other issues.

    3. Gee project much there fluffy? You are the one that looks at it like a sports team. You are more worried about proven wrong than you are about reality. You should be ecstatic, as everyone should be, that Iraq turned out much better than you thought it would. Instead, you are more pissed off than you were when things really were going bad and calling everyone else a liar. To quote Matt Welch, I am not sure if your post is an argument or a cry for help.

      1. I never thought, or claimed, that Iraq would end like Saigon.

        In fact, starting over two years ago, I started warning PRECISELY that since Iraq wouldn’t end that way, worthless cunts like you and Thacker would bide your time and then claim Iraq as a “win”.

        Because you’re utterly unable to compare costs and benefits.

        And that is what makes you dangerous – since you think that what we achieved in Iraq is worth thousands of lives and a trillion dollars, you’re very likely to spend another trillion dollars and thousands more lives getting kittens out of trees, or trying to hunt snipe, or trying to find the Loch Ness Monster. Why not? Since costs don’t matter, and you project fantasy benefits decades into the future, what’s going to stop you? Nothing that I can see.

        And my claim that to John it’s all about being able to say “We won!” isn’t based on distrust of his motives. It’s based on everything he’s ever said about the war. He spent several years on this board talking about the harm to “perception” about America’s will if we withdrew. And ALL arguments that ever dealt with “will” or “perception” in any way, shape or form ultimately boil down to “We won! Yay us!” They’re no more sophisticated than that.

  41. Fluffy – too true. Hence why he thinks it would be bad to cheer for the side that’s in the wrong to “lose”…because that would make US (capitalization intentional) “wrong” and “we” cannot cheer against “US”.

    1. Right, just like we all support the Citizens United decision because libertarians really just love corporations, and support any decision that benefits them and can’t cheer against them.

      1. Huh? I think you’re misreading, or you’re not making yourself clear. Either way, the breakdown is on your end.

        1. I really, really hate it when people make the argument that “don’t listen to my opponent’s arguments, they’re all lies that he doesn’t even really believe himself. Let’s look for the hidden motives.”

          It’s a bullshit argument. If something is against liberty, it’s against liberty regardless of someone’s motives. If something is wrong, you should be able to dispute the arguments presented for it, not concentrate on some kind of hidden motives.

          Could John ever disprove the motives you’ve assigned him? No. Just as no libertarian could ever disprove to a leftist’s satisfaction the accusation that we only agree with Citizens United because we love corporations, and that First Amendment concerns were a smokescreen. Or that we’re against health care reform just because we don’t want to pay higher taxes and we don’t care if other people die or not. Etc.

        2. It’s the same sort of bullshit argument as idiotic conservatives make against those who oppose the war, too.

          1. “Oh, they don’t want to win, because they don’t want America to be right! They’re the Blame America First crowd. They’d hate it if Iraq were actually a success because they can’t possibly cheer for the US foreign policy. All their pragmatic complaints and data they don’t really believe!”

            Meet your fucking twins.

        3. Mind you, it’s also bullshit when libertarians claim that statists in the economic sphere are doing it out of some evil motives. Most of them are “omnipotent moral busybodies” engaging in “tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victim.” It doesn’t make their actions less wrong, and less injurious to liberty and freedom.

  42. Ah, I am the one questioning his motives? John just cried hysterically about a hypothetical, and a fair one at that. To wit, if American troops are actively contributing to an egregious injustice that is actively killing thousands, is it wrong to wish they faced opposition that would get them and their leaders to stop doing such things? It was John who started calling me “dirtbag” and worse, not me, Senor.

    1. TAO,

      It is not so black and white, I think. Is doing nothing, and leaving Saddam in power not also “an egregious injustice”?

    2. The answer to the hypothetical is simple. It is reasonable to say “I think Iraq was a mistake and illegal, but since it can’t be undone, I hope things turn out well”. What is not reasonable is what Greenwald and Fluffy do. They essentially want to see death and destruction so they can be proven right. That is fucked up.

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