Sunday, November 27, 2005

Items on Iraq

Alexander Cockburn unleashes venomous invective at cowardly Democrats and a confused Juan Cole. "Here we have one of the most widely derided presidents in the history of the United States and a war abhorred by a majority of all Americans and the Democrats have near zero traction as a credible party of opposition."

Professor Cole is concerned that a precipitous American withdrawal could create Cambodia-like conditions in Iraq. Cato's Chris Preble answers that, "violence in Iraq may well increase." While that would be tragic, Preble concedes, "our government's obligation to the people of Iraq is superseded by its obligation to the people of the United States. Is it moral to ask American soldiers to die on the outside chance that their sacrifice will lead to a stable, united, democratic Iraq?"

Former Iraqi PM and CIA asset Allawi says the situation in Iraq parallels conditions under Saddam's regime. "People are doing the same as (in) Saddam Hussein's time and worse. These are the precise reasons why we fought Saddam Hussein and now we are seeing the same things. We are hearing about secret police, secret bunkers where people are being interrogated."

Dick Cheney says that those who advocate withdrawal from Iraq need to answer the question would we be better off or worse off with terror leaders like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri in control of Iraq. Charley Reese responds:

Dearly beloved, that is akin to saying that if Eliot Ness hadn't come along, Al Capone would have been the dictator of the United States. Zarqawi is a miserable little terrorist with a small band of fanatical followers and a life span that is shrinking by the day. To suggest that there was even a remote possibility of him taking control of Iraq is, well, grossly misleading. Zarqawi is a Jordanian, not an Iraqi; he has been denounced by his tribe and his family; and he has killed more Iraqis than Americans. It is just a matter of time before some Iraqi drops a dime on him and he's packed off to Islamic hell.

As for bin Laden and his Egyptian adviser, they are – assuming they're still alive – hiding out in some cave or rat-infested village in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. They could not control a small town, much less a country of 25 million people of which neither of them is a native.

I don't know who the vice president's speechwriters are, but he ought to fire them all forthwith. What he said was so far off the map of reality that it is embarrassing. He might as well have said that if Americans withdraw, Martians will land in spaceships and take over the country. His statement is that bizarre. If he himself believes what he said, then he has displayed an ignorance of the Middle East that is embarrassingly gargantuan. A 12-year-old street vendor in Baghdad could tell you that those three men have zero chance of ruling Iraq.

Tom Fleming chimes in on Iraq fibs: "Setting aside the opportunism displayed by both parties, sensible Americans should be asking themselves what the allegations come down to. Even forgetful Americans must remember that the only reason we went to war is because the President and his advisors assured us that they did not merely think, they knew that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and were able to identify his mobile chemical labs. Since they were wrong, they were lying when they said they knew. It is as simple as that."

Here is an interesting essay from the always insightful, if occasionally odd, Gary North. North argues that critics must "persuade the voters that (1) this war is a colossal mistake, (2) our troops' continued presence in the Middle East is an equally colossal mistake, and (3) American troops must get out of the region and stay out." An interesting point North makes is that the Establishment has been able to control American foreign policy by controlling the flow of information. Those days are gone. As I peruse my bookshelf, I note a number of revisionist tomes from the 1920's showing the folly of WWI and the duplicity of the Wilsonians in dragging the country into that foolish and unnecessary conflict. Now such duplicity can be beamed around the globe through little more than a website and forward button.

American auditors are getting around to looking into cash disbursements in Iraq by the late Coalition Provisional Authority. Believe it or not, it looks like there may have been some corruption in the CPA. Philip Giraldi discussed CPA corruption about a month ago in The American Conservative, where he wrote:

When the final page is written on America’s catastrophic imperial venture, one word will dominate the explanation of U.S. failure—corruption. Large-scale and pervasive corruption meant that available resources could not be used to stabilize and secure Iraq in the early days of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), when it was still possible to do so. Continuing corruption meant that the reconstruction of infrastructure never got underway, giving the Iraqi people little incentive to co-operate with the occupation. Ongoing corruption in arms procurement and defense spending means that Baghdad will never control a viable army while the Shi’ite and Kurdish militias will grow stronger and produce a divided Iraq in which constitutional guarantees will be irrelevant.

Meanwhile, it looks like even Americans are admitting thatprison abuse is widespread in Iraq. Corruption and brutality. So remind me, why is life better for Iraqis now?

Finally, more grim news that the pace of American casualties is picking up again.