Thursday, August 7, 2014

Iraq and the Arm Chair Quarterbacks

We had an interesting discussion regarding spending and waste on G2A Immigration: Spend Here, Not Their.  In summary, Laurie was against the 2003 invasion and believes the money could have been used more effectively to help people.
"When It comes to helping others around the globe, perhaps the $1 trillion could have been spent more wisely. That works out to an average of $100 billion a yr, which would be a sizable boost to the $4 billion we currently spend. Maybe we could have ended extreme global poverty by now. " Laurie

And Sean thinks other better options existed and we were unprepared:
"The false assumption here is that the choice was either a.) invade Iraq exactly the way Bush did it or b.) continue doing what we were doing before. There were multiple other paths we could have taken that were not a.) or b.).

For instance, we could have expanded the no-fly zone and continued to ratchet up the economic sanctions (yes, they were losing some of their effectiveness, but still...). If we invaded, we could have had a coherent plan built in advance for the occupation and rebuilding of the Iraqi government.

Instead, going down path a.) accomplished very little of what our goals were presumed to be. Iraq had no operational WMD capability. We didn't build a society that treats women and minorities better. Thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have died and hundreds of thousands have been forced from their homes. We didn't build a stable government that serves as a counterweight to terrorists or Iran. And we wasted lots of money and lost many brave soldiers." Sean

 "the point is that when you take the lid off of simmering ethnic and cultural tensions, you had best be prepared for the aftereffects. We weren't remotely prepared for it, our top policymakers were delusional. " Sean
Now to set a fact based timeline, please reference BBC Iraq.  Some key dates for our discussion:
  • 1990     Iraq invades Kuwait, an American ally
  • 1991/2  No fly zones set up and enforced
  • 10+ years of enforcement, inspections, politics
  • 2003 March US gives Saddam and Sons 48 hours to leave Iraq
  • 2003 US led invasion topples Hussein's government
  • ~8 years of enforcement, training, elections, insurgency, sectarian violence
  • 2011  US Troops are pulled out of Iraq
  • 2+ years of insurgency, sectarian violence, corruption, etc
  • 2014  ISIS begins taking cities and executing non-believers
By the way, I don't disagree that it could have gone better.  I am just not sure what I would have changed.  We had Saddam and his army contained. Other countries, especially the Islamic, were getting tired of being prison guards and/or letting the US have a base full of infidels on their property.  I suppose:
  • we could have pulled out and let Saddam go free to kill the Shiites and Kurds that had been trying to help us.
  • we could have tried maintaining the No Fly Zones from further away, but for how long?  We are going on 60 years in Korea. Did we have the stomach for that?
  • other?
So Bush tried to have faith in the people of Iraq, he wanted to believe that they weren't animals.  He wanted to believe they would seize the opportunity to live a peaceful democratic existence once they were freed of a ruthless dictator. Unfortunately he was wrong, as soon as the zoo's cages were opened the predators began doing what they do. (ie hunting, killing, maiming, striving for power, striving for revenge, etc)  And the prey just didn't have the desire, numbers or capability to control the predators.

Now Bush's hopeful view may have been naïve given the warring history of the people in that region, however I think he was right to give them the benefit of the doubt.  It would have been incredible if Iraq could have become a stable democracy of enlightened people in the midst of those non-democratic countries.

So what do you think should have been done, was it really feasible and why do you think it would have ended better?

And what do you think we should do now?  It looks like Obama is warming up the engines of the war planes?  Is this good or bad?  Rationale?


Laurie said...

I have little interest in commenting on this post, but I did do one minute of research for you and found this:

Carne Ross on Alternatives to War in Iraq

John said...

US Drops First Bombs
CNN ISIS Takes Christian City

John said...

I saw on the news this morning that the Peaceniks are going to have a Stop the Bombing rally some where in MN this weekend.

Is that kind of like a let them keep killing the innocent rally?

John said...

CNN Airstrikes

Laurie said...

I believe the peaceniks are protesting the Israeli bombings in Gaza.

"The Israel-Gaza conflict, since it began, has killed 1,170 people. Of those, a shocking 815 are thought to be Palestinian civilians, and 232 of those children. That means that about 7 out of 10 total deaths are innocent Palestinian civilians, and 2 out of 10 innocent Palestinian children"

1500 join Minnesota march in solidarity with Gaza

John said...

Ahhh... That makes more sense... Thank you for correcting me.

Any thoughts what they are thinking regarding the US in Iraq again?

John said...

MSN Obama Offers No Time Limit