Looking Back at Iraq

It is historically inaccurate to say the war was cooked up by Bush alone.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online


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11 thoughts on “Looking Back at Iraq”

  1. I was not initially in favor of going into Iraq, because I did not think that it was likely that we would be successful in establishing a working democracy there, and it was clear that our leaders were going in with that objective in mind. However, once we were there, staying or leaving required a new analysis, similar to the sunk cost theory of accounting. Our presence was a stabilizing factor for the region. I believe, for example, that we could have had far more leverage with Iran in the nuclear weapons negotiations if we had a significant military presence on their border. We need to think about where we are now, and what makes sense for the future, not where we have been.

  2. Kevin McLaughlin

    In addition to the pro-war names mentioned, I remember German Foreign Minister Joscka (sp?) Fisher musing that Saddam was so dangerous that his remova justified the use of nuclear weapons.

  3. Considering history… didn’t the English and French war against each other incessantly? And for how long?

    What if a benevolent superpower had interrupted those centuries of euro-war with the idea of republic-democratic-constitutional peace? Then what if the superpower had turned its back to the euro-warriors, and left things unoccupied? Surely the French and British would have gone back to aggressing upon each other!

    My point is this: The Middle East is processing things, violently – yes, but processing things. And a lot of blood is split, ours and theirs. But something that can’t go on forever, can’t.

    Perhaps we need to look forward to the day when Violent Jihad is looked upon by 99.99999% of Muslims as shear insanity, and a thing to be mocked and mourned over. What will hasten that day?

    1. Professor Bruce Thornton has pointed out that in 1940, intellectuals throughout the world agreed that Nazi thought was ascendent and progressive and greatly to be admired. This congruence appeared in the US, Mexico, Latin America, certainly Europe, of course England… virtually everywhere.

      However, after five (short?) years… nobody agreed Nazi thought was good. Well, it is more than 13 years after our first 911 Muslim Extremist attack. And Muslim Extremism is still considered by too many to be a good thing.

      As tragic as our 911 was, our response wasn’t great enough to wipe out Muslim Extremism’s popularity.

      So, dear readers… will it be a century or centuries until Muslim Extremism dies? Or a big war?

      Nukes solved a problem like this once, i.e. Japan’s will to war. Could nukes hasten the day of awakening for Muslim Extremists, presuming they gave sufficient cause? What would be that cause?

      Or, are Muslim Extremists actually feigning they would do “big bomb kind of things” to major Western cities… while actually knowing it might cause a big-nuke reply that would suck the will out of their cause… so they are happy to foment minor-scale terror here, there… and everywhere… betting that the West shall remain obtuse?

  4. Much of the opposition to the war in Iraq was promoted by several socialist countries dependant on arms sales to fund their domestic programs. The French, Germans, Belgians, and Russia sold huge amounts of arms, including poison gas manufacturing plants, nuclear reactors, etc to Iraq and Iran during the first gulf war (in which America was only an interested spectator trying to prevent one side from destroying the other) and profitably re-equipping Hussein after each of his misadventures. The ease with which the Americans rolled over Iraq’s military defenses in the second and third gulf wars was a profound embarrassment to those who had sold Iraq the radar systems, command and control systems, anti-aircraft defenses, artillery, and aircraft Saddam was confident would allow him to tie up coalition forces in a long war of attrition. After two dismal failures, the value of Russia and European arms to middle-eastern despots has to look pretty low, hence the recent intense interest in nuclear weapons.

  5. We’re still pretty close to events to know what will pan out. But Obama’s withdrawal from Iraq may mark the end of the post WW I partitioning of the Ottoman’s Mideast empire. To be replaced by boundaries drawn along, instead of across, ethnic and religious lines. Kurdistan being a case in point.

  6. Robert Goldstein

    Dare I suggest that a great military historian like Professor Hansen could be wrong about his conclusion that the war has been lost? I’m quite shocked by his conclusion. I know it looks like the war has been lost at this point in time. Maybe I’m a fool but I want to believe that the lives of all those great American soldiers were lost for a noble cause. We have given the Iraqi’s an alternative. Sooner or later they will understand the wisdom of separation of church and state in a democracy. It took us decades from the revolution through the civil war to stand up the kind of democracy that would endure. Hundreds of thousands of lives were lost. The Iraqis have had a taste of freedom. Isn’t it possible that they’re right on schedule?

  7. Why this Imam who ran ‘Isis’ barbecue in Cardiff park left safe and enjoying the freedom in the west while he teaching and recruiting terrorists’:
    So is he sitting there to send those terrors to Iraq Syria Jordan or elsewhere?

  8. buybuydandavis

    I don’t know that Iraq was ever “won” to begin with. Saddam was overthrown, and Iraq was occupied, but I see no evidence that we “won” what counted. We only won the dirt, but didn’t win the *argument*.

    Iraqis were never convinced by the facts that the Islamist systems they value are a failure relative to the West. We installed Western democratic forms on people without Western values.

    We can see at home that democratic forms mean little when the rulers the show don’t have Western values. When neither the rulers nor the ruled have Western values, as in most of the Middle East, democratic forms can only be held in place by external power. They are a temporary facade over the inevitable dictatorship when that power is withdrawn.

    In the end, Iraqis have to win Iraq. That can make for a lasting victory. We can help, once the argument is substantially won, and the appeal of theocratic facism has faded.

  9. Regardless of the WMD, the UN, gassing of his own people, I maintain the the attempted assassination of a US president is an act of war, and must be met with a response violent enough that no one will try it again.

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