Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Problem of Iraq

We’re there. The Bubble is burst, the die is cast, the pooch is screwed, and our collective neck (or whichever body part you prefer) has been stuck out. There is no way to undo the whole bloody mess, and that is not the issue.

There are actually two issues now- the responsibility and the consequences. The optimism that some of the more partisan of the Republicans would like to impose on the nation’s mood is a denial of both issues.

The problem of Iraq is that the administration is stuck in the world of the lead-up to the occupation, where a bold CinC defied the world to protect America, and led a brilliant, successful war to destroy a tyrant.

Never mind a case for war that rapidly imploded on contact with reality. Never mind that planning for the war was short on contingencies and long on assumptions.

Never mind that there are whole sections of Iraq now that are under insurgent control, that there are places in the country where the best armed, best trained army in the world have declared off limits to their soldiers, "No-Go Zones".

Let's be honest- whatever different positions Kerry has taken, Bush has really taken none at all. His strategy of persistence has more to do with his continued tenure as president than any consistent policy. He sends our troops into Fallujah too soon, we take casualties, and he pulls them. We send troops into Najaf, draw back, try appeasement, go back in, and finally have al-Sistani make a deal for us with al-Sadr.

We try to take territory, then become escorts for the newly installed government. We handed over an unsecured country into the hands of a thirty-year exile who was responsible for the piece of information that George Tenet referred to as "That Iraq can attack us in 45 minutes s**t". Allawi also put forward a report on Mohammed Atta's training in Iraq that was contradicted by the man's actual itinerary as observed by other intelligence agencies. I'm not sure what's worse- that Allawi would spread stories about summarily executing people, or that he might have actually done so. The secret police are back in Iraq, and Allawi's popularity is slipping as he proves incapable of preventing the bombings that have had Iraqis on edge since our occupation began. I mean, listening to the report, one almost believe the terrorists have a device for detecting police recruitment lines!

Let me make this easy for Bush's nuance-hating defenders: Do we we control the capital? Can't get easier than that!

We don't. We hide in the Green Zone, walled off from the rest of the city in a city of our own, occasionally suffering mortar attacks. We don't control Baghdad, and never did. Even if we never consider the faulty case that got us into this mess, we must at least grade the administration on it's military success or it's lack of same. To invade a country, stage an occupation, but never even take full control of the capital, much less a large area of the country, represents a serious military error, one with grave consequences for the war on terror.

The longer this kind of error persists, the worst things get. Times like this, the words "Four more years" inspires a certain kind of dread they never should.

Posted by Stephen Daugherty at September 24, 2004 8:30 PM