Iraq – In Which I Settle My Account

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.

The fact of the matter is while I have but a tiny account to settle, I did support the war in Iraq and I did argue for that support. My primary tool in this regard was a blog post by Steven Den Beste which argued in favor of the the very same steps – or nearly so – taken by Bush and Co. in response to the 9/11 attacks. Den Beste presented the evidence and drew, what at that time seemed to be, the obvious conclusions. In presenting the evidence and drawing the conclusions as would any good engineer, I was, as another engineer, completely convinced.

I was not alone. Of course not. Bush and Co. came to the same conclusions, by different means, so clearly it was possible to conclude the very same thing at the same time using a different, though probably related, set of metrics.

Roughly a year ago (ie, 20140614), DrewM from Ace of Spades, wrote about how he reached the same conclusions back then. And how wrong they turned out to be. It was his post post that kicked off this one – although how I got there from now I don’t remember.

The problem is not that Americans did not do enough or that if we had only kept tens of thousands of US troops there fighting and training for an indefinite time things would work out better. It’s becoming very clear that the Iraqi people themselves are far less interested in their future than we needed them to be to make this plan work

This whole post stuck in my head for a good long while. I have read conflicting reports indicating that some Iraqis may, in fact, be more interested in their future, but that the national/cultural pastimes of looking out for #1 (or the tribe) keep getting in the way. Regardless, you can’t impose western Judeo-Christian cultural norms on cultures that don’t have any interest in accepting them (heck, as seen from recent goings-on, apparently we ourselves don’t have any interest either: for example, and this too).

That said, I realize, I accept that Bush probably had to do something big after 9/11. Sending a few thousand Special Forces to Afghanistan wasn’t going to cut it, politically or even for the purposes of revenge. Perhaps, enforcing the borders and taking action against Islamists, domestically and elsewhere was just not dramatic enough – much better to create a brand new bureaucracy… oh, sigh, short of the long, I was wrong about Iraq.

Update (20160214): From a comment at Ace’s on a completely different topic that ended up cycling back on to Bush and Iraq:

The Iraq War had 3 justifications

- Enforcing UN resolutions
- Destroying a safe haven for terrorists
- Getting rid of WMD

Only the last one got any significant media play, because the war achieved Objective #1 and #2, but it wasn’t so clear that it achieved #3 and so Democrats seized on that one to destroy public trust in the war.

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