June 02, 2004


Andrew Sullivan reviews developments in Iraq:

If someone had said in February 2003, that by June 2004, Saddam Hussein would have been removed from power and captured; that a diverse new government, including Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds, would be installed; that elections would be scheduled for January 2005; and that the liberation of a devastated country of 25 million in which everyone owns an AK-47 had been accomplished with an army of around 140,000 with a total casualty rate (including accidents and friendly fire) of around 800; that no oil fields had been set aflame; no WMDs had been used; no mass refugee crises had emerged; and no civil war had broken out... well, I think you would come to the conclusion that the war had been an extraordinary success. And you'd be right.

Of course, in early 2003 most of the press was predicting total disaster. Since total disaster failed to eventuate, the press now describes Iraq as ... a total disaster.

UPDATE. James Lileks:

Yesterday marked the third Memorial Day since 9/11 to pass without a terrorist attack on America. Spin the war however you like; that has to count for something.

Posted by Tim Blair at June 2, 2004 02:29 PM

Gee, I feel better about the whole affair already!

Posted by: Fabian at June 2, 2004 at 02:35 PM

Lol! Perfect.

Posted by: .com at June 2, 2004 at 02:48 PM

The humanitarian crisis out of Iraq has been upon us for months. Fact! It's discussed on this blog constantly.

Eh? I refer to the lack of humanity from the left wing and similar screechers, who are more concerned about voting Bush out of office than they are in dealing with humanitarian problems......

Posted by: The Real JeffS at June 2, 2004 at 02:58 PM

Whatever happen to the brutal Afghan winter that was going to destroy the American Army?

Posted by: perfectsense at June 2, 2004 at 04:05 PM

Someone told these dipsticks about the apocalypse and they think one's just around the corner.

Posted by: JakeD at June 2, 2004 at 04:46 PM

"extraordinary success"? Maybe not the total disaster of the doomsday dudes... but get real.

Posted by: godhead at June 2, 2004 at 04:47 PM

Whatever happen to the brutal Afghan winter that was going to destroy the American Army?

Ever heard of Global Warming - this is Bush's fault too!!

/sarcasm ended

Posted by: amortiser at June 2, 2004 at 05:44 PM

You're right, godhead! We were promised Paradise Regained in the ME, and all we got was this lousy t-shirt. Oh, and Osama is bug-paste in the hills, and Saddam is enjoying the comforts of US military captivity, but never mind that.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at June 2, 2004 at 08:08 PM

Your forgetting about the thousands of Iraqis who lost their lives since hostilities began. Oh, silly me, I forgot the ratio is one western casualy = 100 middle eastern ones.

It's good about the lack of terrorist attacks in the US. Pitty about the ones in Spain, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the West Bank, etc, etc.

Posted by: tony at June 2, 2004 at 10:53 PM

Yes, godhead. An extraordinary success.

This is real life. Not a video game or a movie. In real life wars are very messy. So is rebuilding a country once controlled by a murdering thug.

If we had perfect people to work with, perhaps we'd be further along than we are now. We only have flawed humans to work with. This is our reality. No script. No director. No actors. This is real life. It's messy and imperfect.

Look at history and see how this war and the rebuilding of Iraq stack up against other wars and other rebuildings. If we look at how far we've come in such a short time we have to conclude it's been an extraordinary success. (For real life.)

Posted by: Chris Josephson at June 2, 2004 at 11:02 PM

I am inclined to agree, compared too the "peaceful" casualties in Iraq they are much better of anyway.

Posted by: JBB at June 2, 2004 at 11:22 PM

I love it. I really hope all the bloggers keep digging up the drama that was "reported" in the lead up to the war. I was reading about Scott Ritter , my personal favorite former UN weapons inspector, declaring defeat in the war "inevitable".

"The United States is going to leave Iraq with its tail between its legs, defeated. It is a war we can not win," he told private radio TSF in an interview broadcast here on Tuesday evening.

"We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable," he said."

Thanks Scott, you should run for supreme commander of the military universe or something...

Posted by: Dash at June 2, 2004 at 11:30 PM

If we continue to be lucky enough to not be the victim of another terrorist attack, we'll be told that the "War on Terror" wasn't necessary because the threat was overblown.

If such an attack strikes us, we'll be told that the "War on Terror" is a failure.

[Anti-war rhetoric spun on exactly that dime the day of the attack on Madrid.]

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at June 3, 2004 at 01:30 AM

That's the beauty of the division of labor, Tony: We're in charge of forgetting about the thousands of Iraqis who lost their lives since hostilities began, leaving you free to concentrate on forgetting about the tens of thousands of Iraqis who lost their lives before hostilities began.

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek at June 3, 2004 at 01:55 AM

Exactly, Steven Den Beste!

If by some miracle an attack does not materialize before the November elections, then the Dem's will want to spend an imaginary "peace dividend" on social programs and to gut or dismantle the Patriot Act. They will criticize the money "wasted" on the unnecessary WOT.

If an attack does happen, then the Dem's will say the US must be much more submissive to the UN, leftist Euro opinion and corrupt Middle Eastern regimes to curry favor and be "less hated". They will blame the Cowboy who sat tall in the saddle.

Say what one will about our esteemed Democrat Party, they never manage to paint themselves into a corner. Facts have fluid implications.

Posted by: c at June 3, 2004 at 01:59 AM

I just love the press. A recent headline in our newspaper read "TERRORISM THREAT IN THE US, The Longer We Go Without an Attack on American Soil, The More Uncertain Our Security Is". What is that supposed to mean? They even try to twist the lack of attacks into a bad thing...

Posted by: Guy from Ohio at June 3, 2004 at 02:21 AM

Guy, sounds like a variation of the gool ol' gambler's fallacy. Our luck is due to run out, so we should expect the terrorist's Big Payback (cue James Brown scream) any day now.

Of course, it's not luck or the kindness of terrorists that's kept us safe this long, but acknowledging that is very difficult for people who are pretty much convinced that we all really deserve to have bad things happen to us.

Posted by: Bryan C at June 3, 2004 at 04:09 AM