Hang On

I’ve certainly seen better from Victor David Hanson than this. Of course, it’s a sideways justification for what has become a monumental mess. Equally of course it’s not surprising. Apologists for Bush will be out in force draping the last eight years in nice pink and yellow bows and ribbons while the new string of Republican candidates distance themselves. I just wish I didn’t have to sit through it.

I received that article via email and this was my email back out, with some edits.

This is a false-comparison. The actual taking of Iraq was brilliantly done and I don’t think many, if any, complained about the competence or execution from top-to-bottom in that operation.

It’s been a disaster since, getting worse. The military are not policemen; nor are they builders of nations. Keep them to the task of destroying things when the need arises and we’ll do OK. Germany and Japan worked because the populations — due to the utter destruction — were pacified, there was no active or organized resistance to speak of, and there weren’t enemy neighbors creating, organizing, and supplying such resistance. As it is, we’ve given people throughout the entire region — who were often antagonistic towards one-another — common cause against us, and that was a profoundly stupid thing to do geopolitically, strategically, and militarily. It’s profoundly dumb to inject U.S. Military Force to the point where factions, regions, and nations that were hostile to one-another (remember the Iran-Iraq war?) all unite against you.

The ironic thing is that had America acted as though it was really "Mission Accomplished" — when such was declared — and pulled out with a stern message to not make us come back, then it might have gone down as a success. But I certainly wouldn’t be foolish enough to support something that’s a clear disaster and getting worse. Why in hell would I want to do that? Why would I want to make a completely impertinent comparison? If the whole deal was going at least arguably well, would there be any need to trumpet our past mistakes and failures as some sort of justification for more mistakes and failures? One hundred new U.S. dead per month is anything but doing ‘arguably well,’ and who in hell ever heard of 100 dead per month during an occupation? That’s not an occupation; that’s a conflict.

I can tell this next year’s going to be lots of "fun." What with this election, and now people like VDH (whom I have often respected) falling all over themselves to spew out utter bullshit about how a complete fuck up isn’t actually a complete fuck up and is somehow justified because…well because we’ve fucked up before. Wow; what a great hat-hanger that is.

Hang on. It’s gonna be quite a ride.

Look: you can’t have it both ways. Either Iraq was never put down sufficiently in the first place — in which case, what the hell are we doing rebuilding a nation we’re still at war with? Or, it was put down properly in the first place and we’ve sat and watched it build right back up to being as big of a terrorist threat (maybe more) as it ever was — all while we’re "rebuilding" the dammed infrastructure so it can be even more effective.

What a mess; which, I will point out, is exactly what Republicans would be saying had it been a Democrat in office these last eight years.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. Kyle Bennett on June 10, 2007 at 09:57

    You said in a recent post (at leat I think it was you, I can't find the quote) something like: "when even your barber starts talking about how bad the market is, it's a sign that it's probably on its way up".

    When all the news you can get, on every side, is propoganda, very often the thing that "everybody knows" is the one thing most likely to be wrong. Look at anthropogenic global warming.

    I'm not saying that the war is going great, I'm saying that I'm not sure it's going nearly as badly as "everybody knows" it is. Certainly some aspects are going great, Kurdistan, for instance. Other aspects are clearly going far worse than "mission accomplished" would demand.

    I hear enough good news leaking out (and it seems that such news is exactly that – a 'leak' of something that wasn't supposed to be reported) to think that there just might be real progress happening. Billy has a saying that I always remember these days: "It seemed impossible until the day after it seemed inevitable".

    I agree that the overall strategy immediately post-invasion was fubar'ed badly, and that the current state is more onging conflict than simple occupation. But I think there's room for skepticism on the 'hopeless quagmire' characterization of things there. Nothing more than that, just skepticism.

  2. Richard Nikoley on June 10, 2007 at 17:56


    Actually, it was the other way around (but could apply equally, of course). When you start getting stock tips from you barber or grocer, it might be time to sell.

    Also, that's Greg Swann's saying (words to that effect), not Billy's.

    But I understand your point, and certainly things are probably neither as good or bad as reported. I simply don't think we ought to be there, anymore. Take 'em down when you need to, but then leave and get ready to take down the next one.

    I think we ought to be keeping things clear and simple.

  3. Kyle Bennett on June 10, 2007 at 20:29

    Of course, it was Greg. I should have known as I was writing it that it's not Billy's style. Sorry, Greg.

    As to leaving, I think it's a bad idea. The damage is done, things were certainly fucked up by, among other things, being too afraid of looking like a bully, but to leave it in the current state would be trouble – for us.

    You and I disagree on the nature and motivation of the enemy, but if I'm right, leaving would nearly guarantee a major disaster down the road. The cost of the "next one" would make this one look like loose change scrounged from the sofa cusions. If you're right, staying would lead to an indefinite simmering hell, and maybe still that major disaster. Tough choice.

    It's a whole stack of Cold War (and then some) decades too late for clear and simple, barring the kind of paradigm shift that usually comes at the cost of millions of lives.

  4. Richard Nikoley on June 11, 2007 at 08:59

    I'd say the chances are that things will work out for the best in the long term (several decades) regardless of whether we stay or go. In the short term, I just don't see much upside potential. We could perhaps at best recoup some of our losses in terms of prestige, but it looks to me like the greater short to medium term potential is to the downside.

    Hope and fear. I think this is a time to fear greater losses rather than hope for a turnaround.

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