Creative Destruction

June 9, 2006

A Moment of Iraq War Triumphalism

Filed under: Current Events,War — Robert @ 2:29 am

Steel on target.

Nice of him to stay in a house out in the middle of an orchard. He was more afraid of being near ordinary Iraqis on the ground, than he was afraid of being hit by American intel + airpower.

We've always been winning the air and ground wars. We're now winning the intel and hearts & mind wars.

("But we don't have a plan!" Yes, we do: Win.)

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11 Comments »

  1. Nice of him to stay in a house out in the middle of an orchard. He was more afraid of being near ordinary Iraqis on the ground, than he was afraid of being hit by American intel + airpower.

    Or he was separating himself from ordinary Iraqis because he knew he was a target and didn’t want anyone else to get hurt in the “collateral damage”. (Yeah, yeah, I don’t believe it either, but any decent propogandist for his side should be able to make the case…so don’t celebrate “mission accomplished” too soon, especially in the “hearts and minds” campaign.)

    Comment by Dianne — June 9, 2006 @ 11:04 am | Reply

  2. If our plan is to win, we ought to, at least, even know what winning looks like. Even that is a moving target.

    Finding and destroying WMDs was one of the original missions, but it turns out that the WMD mission was accomplished before the war began.

    As, Iraq was never really a threat to the U.S. per se, even if it had WMDs, do we win if Iraq is no longer a military threat to Israel and Turkey and Kuwait and Saudi Arabia or Jordon? Have we accomplished that goal already?

    Regime change, which I seem to recall was one of the original missions, was accomplished a long time ago, but what we have now doesn’t look much like a win.

    Must the civil war be over? Must terrorist attacks end in Iraq or worldwide? Does winning require that Iraq come out intact or can it be a win if its breaks into pieces? Does winning mean that the entire Middle East have Western style democracies whether they want them or not? Does winning mean that oil prices fall? Does winning mean that we kill more of them than they kill on our side? If so, have we won already?

    Which comes first, winning or leaving? A majority of both houses of Congress have expressly stated that they want no permanent bases in Iraq, yet the adminsitration seems to be building them anyway. If winning does not mean leaving, what benefit do we get from winning?

    Is there any reason in our national interest that we really care who ends up in charge in Iraq? What if we left in good order over the next three months, and a year or two later a coup replaced the regime there now, would that be a win, or a loss? What if the people of Iraq democratically elect a government as theocratic as Iran, is that a win?

    Comment by ohwilleke — June 9, 2006 @ 4:00 pm | Reply

  3. We win when we grind Al Qaeda into dust and leave Islamic fascism unable to muster any significant force. Pretty much the same victory conditions as the last time we fought fascism.

    As for what Iraq will look like in that victory, that’s pretty much up to them.

    Comment by Robert — June 9, 2006 @ 9:37 pm | Reply

  4. As for what Iraq will look like in that victory, that’s pretty much up to them.

    What if they want it to look like an Islamic republic? Or an old style communist SSR? Or a secular humanist paradise where condoms are an entitlement and everyone makes free love in the streets (probably scaring the horses)?

    Comment by Dianne — June 9, 2006 @ 9:49 pm | Reply

  5. That would be their decision to make; as long as they are nominally democratic, non-hostile to Western interests, and out of the terrorism/geopolitical imperialism game, I think we’d be able to deal. What we’d LIKE to see, and what would get the most US help and backing, would of course be a secular democratic state with a pro-American government.

    But there’s a lot of room between that and “unacceptably terrorist failed state”.

    Comment by Robert — June 9, 2006 @ 9:53 pm | Reply

  6. as long as they are nominally democratic,

    This seems an inadequate requirement. Saddam Hussein was elected in a nominally democratic process. How about a truly democratic election, with multiple parties and a real chance for the incumbant to get kicked out?

    non-hostile to Western interests,

    Why the hell should the Iraqi voters care about that? Shouldn’t they be voting for someone who is looking out for Iraqi interests?

    and out of the terrorism/geopolitical imperialism game

    Hard to argue. I only wish the US would elect someone who isn’t in the same game. Of course, if they did, how could they force the rest of the world to look out for their interests?

    Comment by Dianne — June 11, 2006 @ 5:19 pm | Reply

  7. Dianne, I was talking about what WE wanted, not what the Iraqis wanted.

    Comment by Robert — June 11, 2006 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  8. I was talking about what WE wanted, not what the Iraqis wanted.

    What do you mean “we” white man? So is your position that democracy is something people can have only if the US allows it and nominally democratic dictatorships are good enough for everyone else? Nice to see honesty from the pro-imperialism side, but it’s probably not going to win any hearts or minds.

    Comment by Dianne — June 11, 2006 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  9. No, Dianne. My position is that any country that wants democracy ought to have it.

    If you are going to continue to engage in this kind of gotcha-commenting, I’d just as soon you do it on someone else’s time. A, it isn’t much fun or utility, and B, I’m a lot better at it than you are, and I don’t like to waste my time on amateur hour.

    If, on the other hand, you’d like to seriously discuss the problems intrinsic to grafting a culture of democracy into the middle east, or the hard decisions facing nations at war, or any other serious topic, I’m all ears. (Eyes?)

    Comment by Robert — June 11, 2006 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

  10. My position is that any country that wants democracy ought to have it.

    That is not your stated position. Your stated position is that any country that wants it can have nominal democracy, as long as it does not conflict with “western interests”. Sorry if pointing that out seems gotcha-ish and I’m sure you are better at that game than me, but if you want democracy in Iraq then you have to want democracy in Iraq, no matter who they elect. If the “I Hate the USA” party, slogan “damage the US by any non-violent means available” wins, the US has to suck it up. If the IHU party does so well in Iraq that it spreads (democratically in free and fair elections) to Iran and Saudi Arabia and they form a little cozy multinational IHU cohort that decides to not sell oil to the US, causing gas prices to hit $20/gallon, the US has to suck it up. Or admit that it isn’t really interested in democracy. I’m not particularly trying to “gotcha” you: If you can think of a third alternative, I’d be interested to hear it.

    Comment by Dianne — June 12, 2006 @ 10:38 am | Reply

  11. Dianne, I said that the West would be able to accept any Iraq regime that was “nominally democratic, non-hostile to Western interests, and out of the terrorism/geopolitical imperialism game”. That’s the minimum we can take, for Iraq. I did NOT say that this was what other countries could have.

    I generally write precisely and accurately. I say what I mean, and I attempt to make it as clear as possible. If you find yourself saying “so what you mean is [x,y,z]”, the odds are very good that you are simply wrong in your interpretation, largely because you are creating an interpretation, instead of accepting the face value.

    If Iran and Saudi Arabia and Iraq decide to club together and not sell gas to the United States, the net effect on gas prices would be exactly zero. If you don’t understand why (and I presume that you don’t, from your comment), I’m sure one of the more economically fluent writers here would be glad to tutor you on the relevant principles.

    Comment by Robert — June 12, 2006 @ 11:57 am | Reply


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