Thursday, November 02, 2006


"Let me put this kindly: anyone who believes that Donald Rumsfeld has done a "fantastic job" in Iraq is out of his mind. The fact that such a person is president of the United States is beyond disturbing. But then this is the man who told Michael Brown he was doing a "heckuva job." And, yes, our Iraq policy begins to look uncannily like the Katrina response.

The president, in other words, has just proved that he is utterly unhinged from reality, in a state of denial truly dangerous for the world. He needs an intervention. Think of this election as an intervention against a government in complete denial and capable of driving the West off a cliff. You can't merely abstain now. Bush just raised the stakes. And he must be stopped."

Andrew Sullivan says it better than I could. There couldn't be any other way to say it.


Anonymous Rege said...

Yup, I am often amazed at the lack of sophistication of the american policy in Iraq. For the time being, lets say that we all agree that Iraq needed to be invaded and bought into the neo-con view that the US should have a stable democratic country in the Middle East. Lets give them every benefit of doubt and say that, yes, like the generation of the 1940's and 50's they wanted to do in Iraq what they did in Germany and Japan and create long term allies with only the best and noblest of ideals. But yet no one can deny, that regardless of the motivation, they have simply executed the whole thing miserably.
I just do not get it. They have so much money, spend on much on the study of history and foreign affairs and yet make such clear errors and fail to predict such obvious outcomes. Apparantly the Peentagon spent most of its time planning the invasion and very little time planning the occupation. I know hindsight is 20-20 but the following should have been clear to any student of history:
1) Modern weapons of warfare would make the invasion a mere formality but would not help in occupying a hostile land and fighting an insurgency. Just ask India or Russia!
2) Iran was bound to interfere with the Shia in the south and Turkey was bound to mess around with the Kurds.
3) The Shia and Sunni share no love for each other. Saddam was a sunni. The shia and kurds have the oil, while the Sunni don't. IF thats not ripe ground for civil war, I don't know what is.
thats just the first 3 questions. There are probably dozens more. I don't have the answers to these questions, but if the Pentagon and State Dept did not have the answers either, why the heck did they start the whole mess??


10:49 AM  
Blogger Ashutosh said...

I completely agree Sid, and very succintly put. Actually, America's so called 'intelligence' has been quite unintelligent ever since the Vietnam war, when it comes to human intelligence. During that war, they did not have experts on Southeast Asian culture and history, and I read that even now, they have virtually no experts on Middle eastern culture and history in the CIA. Ever since the Cold War, they have spent millions on technological intelligence,but have failed to progress on human intelligence. The situation has very slightly improved after 9/11, but only slightly. The whole invasion was ill-planned, and I am convinced that the main reason was oil. After all, nobody had to give an excuse in the 20s and 30s; then, the British could just have a profitable presence in Asia and the Middle East. But now, the US wants to have an excuse for having a presence in the Arab countries. And the best excuse they could have was to accuse Saddam of having WMDs, which was a terrible excuse. I am sure they did not think of the ensuing civil war, and now they are ironically realising that the civil war is probably a greater impediment than Saddam was for staying in Iraq. And as you say, it is always an illusion to assume that modern weapons can keep insurgents at bay. In fact, modern weapons and incessant bombing could not even deter the North Vietnamese. So why should it help in occupying Iraq? As you say, they spend so much on studying foreign affairs and history, but they don't spend much on trying to actually understand their enemy, one which they have created in the first place. Same thing with Vietnam, same thing with the Muslim countries. I personally don't think the Pentagon even spent much time planning the invasion; after all, Bush had to get into Iraq while public sentiment was still supporting him in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, and all the Pentagon could do was hastily put up some crude strategy for getting in. But obviously, that still was not difficult, given the size and capability of Iraq. The point is that with this hasty planning, nobody thought of the occupation. This is exactly like Vietnman; at the very least (and that's not what it is) it's an enormously ill-planned strategy. But even at the least, the magnitude of planning has been so despicable, that the strategy itself has encroached on moral decency. Appalling.

12:20 PM  

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