Saturday, May 05, 2007

Fixing Bush's Mistakes

The invasion of Iraq was a mistake. It was based on bad intelligence (either faulty or falsified) about weapons of mass destruction. Or, if you listen to the hawkish revisionists, it was all along intended as a means of planting democracy in the Middle East, which is incredibly na├»ve and, to my thinking, arrogant. Yes, democracy is a good thing. But imposing it by force from outside can’t work, especially when all the locals are suspicious of your motives (for perfectly understandable reasons). Whichever motivation you choose, the invasion was a mistake.

Then, the war having been stupidly launched, it has been miserably managed. There are some good stories coming out of Iraq that tend to get lost—no surprise, given the amount of carnage that is also taking place—but the fact is that we’re close to 3.500 Americans dead, tens of thousands wounded, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, countless wounded, and millions displaced. Furthermore, thanks to the American presence, the country is a magnet for terrorists. There was little terrorism in Iraq before the invasion, but now it is a breeding ground. Some of the violence is directed towards Americans—no one wants us there and how else can they get us to leave?—and some is directed towards Iraqis in what can only now be called a civil war. A civil war that is of our making and the only solution to that civil war is political. And yet a political solution is out of reach because we are there. That’s not a Catch-22. That’s a problem with an obvious solution.

I’m sick of listening to Republicans, including the snippy deputy White House press secretary, talk about how the Democrats, by putting a timeline in the war-funding bill, are setting a “surrender date.” There’s no other word for that than this: bullshit. Bush has got us into a mess and somebody has to get us out. The only mistake that would be bigger than the one Bush has already made would be to stay in Iraq and dig ourselves a deeper hole.

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