Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Executing Saddam

I wonder, whether in the history of mankind, there has ever been such a massive failure in making peace than has been managed in Iraq.

I get really tired of people saying the US is "losing the war". They're not. In fact, the war was over pretty much right around the time George Bush landed on that aircraft carrier and declared "mission accomplished." Had the mission been to rid Iraq of a murderous, thieving thug who threatened his own people and his country's immediate neighbours, Bush would have been right. Getting rid of Saddam was as easy as giving your cat a flea bath - sure, you might end up with a scratch or two, but there's little question the cat will end up in the bath.

What the US is losing is the peace. Despite the millions of intelligent words that have been written about the Islamic mindset and the way the Arab world works, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld et al. figured they knew better. They, apparently, never read Bernard Lewis or Christopher Hitchens or Briggitte Gabriel or Daniel Pipes or Walid Shoebat or dozens of others (sadly, one has to wonder if some members of the US administration have even heard of those people).

(This is not a screed about bashing the US because I believe the US remains one of the few really decent places on Earth. It's not a screed about bashing Bush because, sadly, he was better than the alternative. And, it's not a screed about Muslims, either, because, generally speaking, I only have a problem with the ones who want to saw my head off and convert my children.)

Anyway, had someone in the Bush administration bothered reading any of these or others who have actually studied or lived in the Arab world, they would have realized the one thing that works is overpowering, respect-inspiring force.

Instead, we've seen a mish mash of rebuilding bullshit that included letting people like al-Sadr and al-Zarqawi run amok for months and years rather than killing them because it might have hurt a few bricks on a mosque. This has totally emboldened other US-hating Arab nations like Iran and Syria because they don't believe the US or anyone else in the western world has the balls to take them on if it means filling some body bags. Sadly, people die in war - soldiers and innocents alike - and if you don't want anyone to die in war then you better not ever, ever, ever go to war.

3,000 American soldiers have now died in Iraq which sounds like a lot. It is a lot of people but it is not a heavy casualty count for a war. It sucks that 10s of thousands of Iraqis are dying because the coalition won't commit to the heavy work of wiping out the terrorist fucks who are blowing shit up all over the place. It sucks that the world community won't deal with Iran and other rogue nations. It will really suck if the US cuts-and-runs and renders those American deaths completely pointless.

Anyway, the US made another mistake in "bringing" Saddam "to justice". The soldiers who found him in his hidey-hole should have tossed a couple of grenades in and walked away. Or, if they absolutely had to have, out of some misplaced sense of right and wrong, apprehended him and take him in, the US should absolutely have insisted he not be sentenced to death.

Now, Saddam will be a martyr and the terrorists will have another reason to blow shit up and thousands more innocents will die while the coalition countries wonder why they can't get the situation under control.

A first class SNAFU all the way around...

Makes you wonder what Hillary Clinton can do to top it if she, God forbid, becomes President.


Bacon Eating Atheist Jew said...

They may have thought they could have learned something new by questioning Saddam.

In hindsight, the grenades up his ass would have been a better idea.

Suzanne said...

I am really enjoying your commentary (this is Shoshona from yahoo, btw). I would love to have intelligent debate about why the White House failed to win the peace.

I am surrounded by people who think it's about big business and oil tycoons. And that Bush and Cheney were just out to make big bucks by any means necessary. That just seems too simplistic, jaded, and partisan to me. I find it hard to have intelligent discussion with anyone who talks like that. I think it's a lot more complex, and perhaps driven more by arrogance than greed. I dunno. That's why I'd like to discuss it....

Michael said...

"I think it's a lot more complex, and perhaps driven more by arrogance than greed. "

I think you're pretty much spot on, Shoshona. They figured the Iraqis would welcome them with open arms and democratize immediately.
I have no idea why they thought that since there is virtually no evidence to possibility of such a transition in a ME nation. Had they said, "we're going to go in there and bring democracy even if it takes us 10 years, several trillion dollars and 10,000 American lives", most Americans would have said, "the hell you are."
But, I don't think it was done out of greed. There were valid reasons to get rid of Saddam but no real reason to hang around waiting for the civil war afterwards.

Carl Nelson said...

Your comments are pretty much parallel to my own. In my case a lot of it is based on hindsight; so I can't be terribly critical of what has been done.

Suzanne said...

So let's discuss this arrogance. What drove it? What made them so willing to forego military advice? What made them ignore the warnings of civil war that were sounded so loudly before we went into Iraq? What compelled them to ignore the lessons of Vietnam?

Did they really think it was going to be easy despite all the warnings?

I gave this administration too much credit in thinking they had a game plan to keep all these issues in check.

But honestly, they behaved like amateurs and wasted a lot of lives.

I guess this all culminated for me when Bush Sr. started weeping over the demise of his political dynasty.

I wonder if it is too late to turn things around in Iraq. Bush owes it to this country to do that.

southfield_2001 said...

Well, Shoshana, partly the Bush administration was tricked. There was an Iraqi, whose name escapes me now, who was touted as potentially the guy to take over from Saddam who turned out to be pretty much a fraud. The US had relied on a lot of his information.
Also, I have no doubt they really did think there were WMDs in Iraq - and there may well have been. Saddam, from what I've read, certainly thought he had them. It makes sense that his scientists would have lied to him if they thought telling the truth would end up with them being killed for failing him.
I further believe that western nations make a great mistake when they attribute our characteristic reaction to things to the arab world as well. If a westernized nation run by a dictator was suddenly freed, mostly it would go about building a democracy (as we have seen in much of Eastern Europe since the decline of the Soviet empire). I still don't understand why anyone thought the Iraqis would react in the same manner...wishful thinking, I guess.
As Carl says, it's pretty easy to go with hindsight and criticize everything that has happened over the past three years. I was never thrilled with the idea of going to war in Iraq and I think most Canadians are of the mind that we're pretty glad we stayed out of it.
That said, though, I really hope the US can figure out an exit strategy that leaves the country in one piece with a stable government. If the Iraqis destroy themselves after that, that's their business.