Why Iraq Is Still Worth the Effort


I think not
#1
By Fareed Zakaria
Wednesday, March 22, 2006; Page A21

Three years ago this week, I watched the invasion of Iraq apprehensively. I had supported military intervention to rid the country of Saddam Hussein's tyranny, but I had also been appalled by the crude and unilateral manner in which the Bush administration handled the issue. In the first weeks after the invasion, I was critical of several of the administration's decisions -- crucially, invading with a light force and dismantling the governing structures of Iraq (including the bureaucracy and army). My criticisms grew over the first 18 months of the invasion, a period that offered a depressing display of American weakness and incompetence. And yet, for all my misgivings about the way the administration has handled this policy, I've never been able to join the antiwar crowd. Nor am I convinced that Iraq is a hopeless cause that should be abandoned.

Let's remember that in 2002 and early 2003, U.S. policy toward Iraq was collapsing. The sanctions regime was becoming ineffective against Saddam Hussein -- he had gotten quite good at cheating and smuggling -- and it was simultaneously impoverishing the Iraqi people. Regular reconnaissance and bombing missions over Iraq were done through "no-fly" zones, which required a large U.S. and British presence in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. These circumstances were fueling a poisonous anti-Americanism in the Muslim world.

In his fatwa of 1998, Osama bin Laden's first two charges against the United States were that it was "occupying" Saudi Arabia and starving Iraqi women and children. The Palestinian cause was a distant third. Meanwhile, Hussein had a 30-year history of attempting to build nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The other reality by 2003 was that the United States and the international community had developed a reasonably effective process for military interventions like Iraq. The Rand Corp. released a thorough study just before the invasion pointing out that the central lesson of the 1990s was that if you went in with few troops (Haiti, Somalia), chaos prevailed, but if you went in with robust forces (Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor), it was possible to succeed.

Consider what the administration did in Afghanistan. It allied with local forces on the ground so that order would be maintained. It upheld the traditional structure of power and governance in the country -- that is, it accepted the reality of the warlords while working slowly and quietly to weaken them. To deflect anti-Americanism, the military turned over the political process to the United Nations right after Kabul fell. (Most people forget that it was the United Nations that created the assembly that picked Hamid Karzai as president.) The United States gave NATO and the European Union starring roles in the country -- and real power -- which led them to accept real burden-sharing. The European Union actually spends more in Afghanistan than the United States does.

But Iraq turned out to be a playground for all kinds of ideological theories that the Bush administration had about the Middle East, democracy, the United Nations and the Clinton administration. It also became a playground for a series of all-consuming turf wars and policy battles between various departments and policymakers in the administration. A good part of the chaos and confusion in Washington has abated, but the chaos in Iraq has proved much harder to reverse. It is far easier to undo a long-standing social and political order than it is to put it back together again.

So why have I not given up hope? Partly it's because I have been to Iraq, met the people who are engaged in the struggle to build their country and cannot bring myself to abandon them. Iraq has no Nelson Mandelas, but many of its leaders have shown remarkable patience, courage and statesmanship. Consider the wisdom and authority of Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, or the fair-minded and effective role of the Kurds, or the persistent pleas for secularism and tolerance from men such as Ayad Allawi. You see lots of rough politics and jockeying for power in Baghdad. But when the stakes get high, when the violence escalates, when facing the abyss, you also see glimpses of leadership.

There is no doubt that the costs of the invasion have far outweighed the benefits. But in the long view of history, will that always be true? If, after all this chaos, a new and different kind of Iraqi politics emerges, it will make a difference in the region. Even now, amid the violence, one can see that. The old order in Iraq was built on fear and terror. One group dominated the land, oppressing the others. Now representatives of all three communities -- Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds -- are sitting down at the table, trying to construct a workable bargain they can all live with.

These sectarian power struggles can get extremely messy, and violent parties have taken advantage of every crack and cleavage. But this may be inevitable in a country coming to terms with very real divisions and disagreements. Iraq may be stumbling toward nation-building by consent, not brutality. And that is a model for the Middle East.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#2
Feeelgood apologist propaganda. America has no Nelson Mandela niether does Britian nor does Canada. Lets remember the nearly 1.5 million dead Iraqi men women and children snuffed by western forigne policy, driven by greed for oil and power.
 
zoofer
#3
Lets make it it 15 million.
If you are going tell a fib, make it a whopper.
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#4
O/K 15, it's not a fib fool it's called a conservative estimate.
 
aeon
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver

O/K 15, it's not a fib fool it's called a conservative estimate.


Good one, and well said.
 
aeon
#6
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not

By Fareed Zakaria
Wednesday, March 22, 2006; Page A21

Three years ago this week, I watched the invasion of Iraq apprehensively. I had supported military intervention to rid the country of Saddam Hussein's tyranny, but I had also been appalled by the crude and unilateral manner in which the Bush administration handled the issue. In the first weeks after the invasion, I was critical of several of the administration's decisions --


People who believe that usa and allies are in afganishtan or iraq for the democracy or for the freedom, are the same kind of people who still believe that santa claus exist for real.
 
I think not
#7
Quote: Originally Posted by aeon

People who believe that usa and allies are in afganishtan or iraq for the democracy or for the freedom, are the same kind of people who still believe that santa claus exist for real.



Santa Claus doesn't exist?

 
Mogz
Conservative
#8
Quote:

People who believe that usa and allies are in afganishtan or iraq for the democracy or for the freedom, are the same kind of people who still believe that santa claus exist for real.

Slobber on aeon, slobber on
 
Jay
#9
People like Aeon don't get Christmas gifts, so they think Santa doesn't exist....really it is because they are bad.
 
Jay
#10
To them it is just as if the Soviet Union still existed and we still fear them. We don't and now we have Iraq.
 
Mogz
Conservative
#11
I'm not saying I support the War in Iraq, not fully at least, however I do feel a lot of good came from a regime change. Losing Saddam was probably the best thing for Iraq, not to mention the World. I'm not a warmonger, but I do appreciate War and what it entails. I'm a realist, I see the World for what it is. I don't feel the need to look for underlying factors, paper trails, and conspiracy theories. I know why the U.S. invaded Iraq, and while I don't agree with it 100%, I do feel the U.S. is only looking out for itself long-term, an effort I do support. Yes the U.S. invaded Iraq, and many deem it an "unjust War" (what really is an unjust War anyway folks), it still has the potential to change the face of the World for the better. I really don't care if you agree with me or not, I won't lose sleep over you calling me a "fool", "idiot", "propaganda machine", or any combination thereof. The fact of the matter is, the U.S. is at War in Iraq, and all you pacifistic, anti-corporation, conspiracy theorist, bed-wetters better get used to it. If you don't like it, join the insurgency...then again you're just armchair critics and lack any significant backbone so the point is moot. Oooh look pudding....mmmm....
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#12
I don't think you're a fool Mogz I just think you're full of youthful delight in adventure, the US has been at war for my entire life, it has profited from war and murder, in all that time it has not delivered freedom nor democracy even once, it has bled every nation dry where it's military has gone.
You frighten me because you represent the ease with which the empire seduces youth with transparent lies, and sends you off to die in it's service, you are totally blind to the evil you serve , maybe someday you will think otherwise.
 
I think not
#13
Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver

I don't think you're a fool Mogz I just think you're full of youthful delight in adventure, the US has been at war for my entire life, it has profited from war and murder, in all that time it has not delivered freedom nor democracy even once, it has bled every nation dry where it's military has gone.
You frighten me because you represent the ease with which the empire seduces youth with transparent lies, and sends you off to die in it's service, you are totally blind to the evil you serve , maybe someday you will think otherwise.

Do tell Darkbeaver, I would really like it if you could elaborate on this.
 
Colpy
Conservative
#14
Japan's liberal constitution was written by Douglas MacArthur.

Germany, in fact Europe and Japan were largely rebuilt after WWII with US money.

South Korea was preserved, and has grown into democracy because of the US.

The USSR, that monolithic monstrousity, no longer exists because of the USA.

Kuwait, although not democratic, is reasonably independent because of the USA.

Israel has managed to stay an island of freedom in a sea of authoritarian lunacy because of the efforts of the USA.

Have they screwed up? Oh yes. Big Time.

But there is much in the world that is better because of the US.

If there is to be only one super power in the world, you should daily thank whatever Gods you worship that it is the USA.
 
jimmoyer
#15
Thank you ITN for posting that editorial by Fareed Zakaria.

I would have posted that one myself.

I'm not sure that those who hate America can even
understand its nuance.
 
aeon
#16
Quote: Originally Posted by Mogz

I'm not saying I support the War in Iraq, not fully at least, however I do feel a lot of good came from a regime change. Losing Saddam was probably the best thing for Iraq, not to mention the World. I'm not a warmonger, but I do appreciate War and what it entails. I'm a realist, I see the World for what it is. I don't feel the need to look for underlying factors, paper trails, and conspiracy theories. I know why the U.S. invaded Iraq, and while I don't agree with it 100%, I do feel the U.S. is only looking out for itself long-term, an effort I do support. Yes the U.S. invaded Iraq, and many deem it an "unjust War" (what really is an unjust War anyway folks), it still has the potential to change the face of the World for the better. I really don't care if you agree with me or not, I won't lose sleep over you calling me a "fool", "idiot", "propaganda machine", or any combination thereof. The fact of the matter is, the U.S. is at War in Iraq, and all you pacifistic, anti-corporation, conspiracy theorist, bed-wetters better get used to it. If you don't like it, join the insurgency...then again you're just armchair critics and lack any significant backbone so the point is moot. Oooh look pudding....mmmm....


In other word, you are saying , us are at war, they are killing innoncent peoples based on a lie,they are stealing their oil,so you better get used to it, i am sorry, this is not the way i was raised in quebec, me i say, since we are the majority who are against this war, so you better listen to us, to avoid problems in the near future.
 
annabattler
#17
All countries are presumbaly "looking out for themselves", just as all families are presumably "looking out for themselves".
That does not mean that a family "invades"(pre-emptively) his neighbours' corn fields because the neighbour might be very strict in the way he looks after his family.
The United States overstepped itself in its' pre-emptive invasion and has created fractures that will be a long time healing, both in the Middle East, and internationally...America has lost face,lost credibility and undone many,many years of goodwill.
And,not content to create some havoc in the Middle east, the sabres are rattling now towards Iran.
The "pre-emption" was poorly planned,has been poorly executed, is poorly manned, has no end in sight.
More curiously,there are many other nations(though not oil producing)who meet the criteria of 'evil" leaders,subjecting their populace to horrors....nations just as "deserving" of American pre-emption...what of them?Are they also in American headlights?
 
darkbeaver
Republican
#18
Quote: Originally Posted by I think not

Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaver

I don't think you're a fool Mogz I just think you're full of youthful delight in adventure, the US has been at war for my entire life, it has profited from war and murder, in all that time it has not delivered freedom nor democracy even once, it has bled every nation dry where it's military has gone.
You frighten me because you represent the ease with which the empire seduces youth with transparent lies, and sends you off to die in it's service, you are totally blind to the evil you serve , maybe someday you will think otherwise.

Do tell Darkbeaver, I would really like it if you could elaborate on this.

You elaborate ITN, elaborate about the morality you keep spouting like a leaking sewage pipe, you have selected an apt alias I think not because you plainly do not think, you will go down with your stinking ship and slip beneath the sludge in the ocean of bullshit you're floating on. People like me will write your history and you will be reviled as the rotten nation of greed deciet and murder, you'll all be buried with a copy of your declaration of independance, and you can take your freedom and democracy snakeoil roadshow to the hereafter where you'll be popular as thecomedy act for eternity.
 
Kreskin
#19
The US elected not to bring the military option to a vote in the UN Security Council.
 

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