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Five Years:
Today marks five years since the beginning of the Iraq War.
Josh644 (mail):
I'm glad you capitalized "War", emphasizing the fact that "Iraq War" is merely a title and doesn't identify an actual war. Still, it's a misleading title and it would be better to call it what it is: an occupation.
3.19.2008 3:40am
OrinKerr:
Josh,

If you read the post carefully, I think you'll see it is phrased so as to not take a position on the current status of things.
3.19.2008 3:45am
Thoughtful (mail):
Thanks for the update. I look forward to your next update in 2013.
3.19.2008 4:01am
Russ (mail):
Pardon me for thinking that 5 years without Saddam and his sons throwing people into plastic chippers or organizing weekend rapes of gangs of teenage girls is a good thing.

May Saddam burn in Hell; he's certainly earned it.
3.19.2008 5:34am
CheckEnclosed (mail):
It is hard to think that we would be worse off if we had chosen not to invade.

That said, I have always thought that it is so rare for a great power to use its resources in a way that is so unconnected to its own vital interests that the people of Iraq, who for so long had lacked the will to throw off a tyrant, had won the lottery ... and they pissed it away.
3.19.2008 6:52am
fishbane (mail):
For the apparent certainty of his convictions, Russ seems terribly defensive against a completely neutral statement of fact.
3.19.2008 7:12am
TDPerkins (mail):
fishbane, vehemence is not defensiveness, neither is it out of place. It is a far, far better thing that this nation was not ruled by the attitudes which led to Albright stating the sanctions were just fine even if they were killing several hundred thousand Iraqi children per decade.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 7:21am
Daniel Chapman (mail):
The first post is great... If someone can project so much into the capitalization of a letter, rational discussion with that person is impossible.
3.19.2008 7:53am
Ted10 (mail):
It is a far, far better thing that this nation was not ruled by the attitudes which led to Albright stating the sanctions were just fine even if they were killing several hundred thousand Iraqi children per decade

At the current rate of Iraqi deaths due to our invasion I'm sure there will be a couple hundred thousand dead by the end of a decade.

As long as we're fine with overthrowing dictators, let's invade North Korea, Saudi Arabia, and China too. We can go after the smaller countries if anyone in our military survives. I'm sure those wars would pay for themselves and just think of all the new democracies in the world. Woo Hoo!
3.19.2008 8:31am
NI:
I think Ted10 has it right. We can all stipulate that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein, but if that were the standard, why haven't we invaded Zimbabwe?
3.19.2008 8:40am
devoman:
Russ,

When I analyze the results of a decision, I try to look at the complete picture; i.e. all the costs and all the consequences.

Just asking yourself, did I accomplish what I set out to accomplish, without examining the collateral damage can be a bit myopic, don't you think?
3.19.2008 8:41am
Orielbean (mail):
I like how Hitchens put it - we were at "war" with Hussein since he stopped listening to us - after accepting our aid and attacking Iran like we asked him to. Can we stop propping up or pushing autocrats into power? It doesn't work. It's pretty clear to everyone now. They listen to us just long enough to take our money and then the ears turn off.
3.19.2008 9:41am
Justin (mail):
::channels his inner Colbert::

And it's going great!
3.19.2008 10:00am
treebeard (mail):
Interesting thread of comments.

I also am glad, as anyone should be, that Saddam is no longer in power. But there are many, many people dead who would still be alive if we had not invaded. Yes, Saddam's rule was a reign of terror. But the chaos we unleashed is worse, for many Iraqis.

I was in favor of the war, and even advocated it to my skeptical liberal friends. But they were right, and I was wrong. Many people saw what was coming, that an Iraq ruled by Saddam was not the worst of all possible worlds.

Five years later, it's obvious to me that we made a horrible, tragic mistake. I frankly don't know what we should do now, if pulling out is a better option than continuing what we've already been doing. But it troubles me that the people most responsible for this mess act like they should still be listened to.
3.19.2008 10:33am
Houston Lawyer:
What a bunch of whining.

I supported the war from the beginning and still do. Wars are not pretty things and we have fought damn few that have actually gone as well as this one. The extremists that we are fighting have long portrayed the United States as a paper tiger who would turn and run if hit hard. The valor and courage shown by our men and women in Iraq have put the lie to this image. In addition, the people of Iraq are clearly better off than they were before the war.
3.19.2008 11:07am
inahandbasket:
NI: "I think Ted10 has it right. We can all stipulate that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein, but if that were the standard, why haven't we invaded Zimbabwe?"


ZIMBABWE
Natural Resources and the Environment
Mineral resources

Some 30 different mineral deposits dispersed throughout the country; substantial deposits of coal*, platinum and chromium ore; smaller deposits of asbestos, gold, nickel, copper, iron ore, vanadium, lithium and tin.
Water resources and management

Annual internal renewable water resources: 1,182 cu m Per Capita (1998); Sector withdrawals - domestic 14%; Industrial 7%; Agricultural 79%
Land use

Most arable land is located in the north and east; the lower lying land in the south and west is primarily suitable for grazing. There are a large number of tourist attractions, including the 26 national parks and game reserves.
Key Environmental Concerns

Deforestation; soil erosion; land degradation; air &water pollution; poaching (mainly black rhino, once the largest concentration of the species in the world).

Environmental policy and manifestation:

Party to international agreements - Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection

Natural hazards:

Recurring droughts, floods and severe storms (rare)

Source: http://www.iss.co.za/af/profiles/Zimbabwe/NatRes.html

*my insertion: we don't need their coal, we got lots! Thanx anyway :)

What's missing from the above list? (Drum roll, please):

OIL!!!!!!!!!

That's why we don't give a rat's patooty about Zimbabwe or any other country with a dismal human rights record UNLESS they have something we WANT/NEED. That was Rev. Wright's WHOLE POINT about GOD DAMN AMERICA. He's RIGHT.
3.19.2008 11:11am
Orielbean (mail):
Houston, the extremists are the same people who say that becoming a suicide bomber will get you into heaven. I'm not worried about changing their tone by showing that our troops know how to fight and die. They really just wanted America in the Middle East in greater numbers, so they don't have to bother with little piddly embassy bombings. They can go for the big prize; our vaunted military-industrial complex and war economy.

I am glad, however, that the Iraqiis are going to get a choice this time, unlike when we helped put Hussein into power there, so he could fight Iran. The people did not do anything to deserve a scumbag like Saddam and they need a chance to choose their own path through history. That is the positive from all of this. But do not mistake that the extremists wanted us to run away. They want us there and nowhere else. It saves them the cost of a plane ticket.
3.19.2008 11:19am
Ron MeXXXico:
"In addition, the people of Iraq are clearly better off than they were before the war."

Clearly? That's a pretty bold (and seemingly ridiculous) statement. But if it gets you through the night. . .
3.19.2008 11:25am
treebeard (mail):
"In addition, the people of Iraq are clearly better off than they were before the war."

Good God.

Yes, they're clearly better off.

Except the ones who are dead.

And the parents who lost children.

And the children who are orphaned.

And the wives who have lost husbands. And the husbands who have lost wives.

And those people who are alive, but permanently wounded. Lots of the "Iraqi people" will spend the rest of their lives bedridden.

"Wars are not pretty things..."

Which is why you don't enter into them lightly. And you'd better be very well prepared when you do.
3.19.2008 11:59am
Randy R. (mail):
I hope nobody still believes that Sadam had anything to do with 9/11 and therefore realizes that one of the major underpinnings of this war was false.

As I recall, we were supposed to invade in the spring and be out by the fall, according to the 'worst' case scenario. We were going to institute a new constitution, and the oil profits would pay for the war, so it would be a freebee, at no cost to Americans, either in fatalities or money.

Now, some estimates for the total cost of this war are up to 3 trillion dollars, and we are at several thousand deaths of US soldiers.

For those supporting the war, I ask, since war isn't pretty and doesn't always go as planned, what are YOU doing for our soldiers, or for the war effort in general? I at least send books occasionally through a book drive, and I would be happy to raise taxes to pay for this war.

Other than that, I really don't know what else to do. Please give me advice.
3.19.2008 12:11pm
Harry:
I tend to think of the Iraq War starting on August 2, 1990, and that March 19, 2003 was simply the resumption of the fragile truce that wasn't holding. Hostile action such as targeting aircraft enforcing the no-fly zone is casus belli for resumption of active hostilities.

Randy: It was not claimed that Iraq was involved with Sept 11th attacks as justification for resuming the war. It's a common talking point today from many anti-war folks, but it wasn't the case in 2002 and 2003.

As far as Zimbabwe, it's one of many that need to be dealt with, but probably not as important as some others. Sudan being one such situation I think is higher priority. When I was growing up, we learned of World War II and the Holocaust, and we were told that the world would "never again" let it happen, but Cambodia and Rwanda showed the lie. Bill Clinton showed in Kosovo that intervention was something we should undertake. This is simply the next phase in such action. Have things been perfect? No. Should we not have tried? No. We have a responsibility and sometimes there are worse things than war.
3.19.2008 12:52pm
Qwerty:
Wars are not pretty things and we have fought damn few that have actually gone as well as this one.

Gods preserve us from any more such easy victories...
3.19.2008 1:00pm
Boynton Cousin:
What a bunch of whining.

I know, can you believe the nerve of some people? Who cares that the war was fought for reasons since proven entirely false? Who cares that war supporters (including the current Republican presidential nominee) claimed that the war would be easy and we'd be greeted as liberators? Who cares that the American people were told Saddam had moving weapons labs when he didn't have any? Who cares that Bush claimed in the State of the Union that Saddam was seeking uranium when he wasn't? Who cares that one of the biggest cheerleaders for an American war in Iraq was an Iranian spy?

Imagine--people wanting their leaders to tell them the truth about a war that has cost more American lives than 9/11! Whiners!
3.19.2008 1:05pm
Boynton Cousin:
It was not claimed that Iraq was involved with Sept 11th attacks as justification for resuming the war... it wasn't the case in 2002 and 2003.

Entirely false, but that's just water under the bridge, right?
3.19.2008 1:11pm
Orielbean (mail):
Harry, I agree with your first and third points - the war never really ended, and we need to intervene in trouble around the world as it will come home to roost eventually. We are responsible as a human race to take care of each other and ease suffering where we see it clearly.

However, to say that 9-11 wasn't directly tied to the Iraq invasion is being glib. Our leaders used the same language, proper nouns, grammar structure, etc when describing a need to fight Saddam as Al-Qaeda. All the evidence of their memorandums discussing Iraq indicate that they wanted a war with them, no matter how specious the evidence.

We have stonger and more consistent evidence of other belligerent countries seeking WMD, so why was Iraq invaded? Bush constantly and deliberately confused the war on terror involving Iraq and Afghanistan, even though the two situations were different enough to warrant a distinction. Saddam was a monster, that is no doubt. We allowed and encouraged his worst qualities when it was expedient for us and we wanted to punish Iran. We had enough good reasons to desire Saddam's removal without tying it to the war on terror.

But Americans were rightly enraged about 9-11. We needed to find an opponent to exact our revenge for the horror visited upon us. That well runs deep, even today, and it is the right way to react to the act of terror. Bush tapped that energy in the wrong way.

We should have harnessed that energy to set Afghanistan to rights; to expel Atta and to string up bin Laden. Instead we were convinced that Iraq was part of the same problem and then we spread our efforts too thin. Combine that with Rumsfeld's poor logistical strategy, then add in Bremer and Chalabi's corruption or incompetence, and you get no satisfaction to either legit problem of Saddam or bin Laden.

We are right to care about the suffering of the Iraqi people. We are right to act and try to help them, with tanks and guns and new government if possible. But we were wrong to mislead Americans as to why we started there in 2002/2003.
3.19.2008 1:18pm
ChrisIowa (mail):
Boynton Cousin, there's nothing in your link that refutes the statement.
3.19.2008 1:21pm
Boynton Cousin:
So Cheney was entirely innocent in bringing up the discredited notion of a meeting between Atta and Iraqi officials, with no intent to connect Iraq with 9/11? Right. He said "we don't know" (when we did in fact know that it didn't happen) for what reason, exactly?
3.19.2008 1:40pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
So Cheney was entirely innocent in bringing up the discredited notion of a meeting between Atta and Iraqi officials, with no intent to connect Iraq with 9/11?
1) It wasn't "discredited" at the time.
2) Yes, there was no intent to connect Iraq with 9/11. To connect Iraq with Al Qaeda, yes. If you can't tell the difference, that's hardly Cheney's fault.
3.19.2008 1:49pm
TDPerkins (mail):
"At the current rate of Iraqi deaths due to our invasion I'm sure there will be a couple hundred thousand dead by the end of a decade."

And great many of them will be either Al Qaeda or other insurgents, or their victims—not children we are starving to no point.

And probably not 500,000 of them either, as Albright specified.

Whiff.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 2:06pm
TDPerkins (mail):
Orielbean,

You seem to be objecting that the administration did not employ some other language when describing the need to undertake the war with Al Qaeda and Hussein.

Would you have preferred Esperanto?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 2:07pm
Boynton Cousin:
It wasn't "discredited" at the time.

Except that, in 2002, the Czech gov't concluded there was no meeting. Not "at the time," true--it was a year prior!

Yes, there was no intent to connect Iraq with 9/11.

Except that Atta was the lead hijacker of the 9/11 plot. Nah, no intent whatsoever to connect 9/11 to Iraq at all when Atta was said to have met with an Iraqi official.
3.19.2008 2:13pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
One Hundred More Years*!!!! Go McCain!!!!

*At least.
3.19.2008 2:23pm
Boynton Cousin:
Right, TDP, only a couple hundred thousand dead, plus thousands of American lives, a trillion dollars, and the loss of American prestige in the world. And what have we got for all that? An Iranian client state! "Heckuva job," as the man said.
3.19.2008 2:25pm
eyesay:
When I was a kid, conservatives were grownups and believed in things like spending taxpayer dollars very carefully and avoiding foreign entanglements. Now, thanks to the planning and cheerleading of conservatives, including some right here, we are engaged in a huge foreign entanglement that is costing us $3 trillion. What did Everett Dirksen say about mere billions? This is not conservative. This is insane.
3.19.2008 2:32pm
Josh644 (mail):
OrinKerr wrote:


Josh,

If you read the post carefully, I think you'll see it is phrased so as to not take a position on the current status of things.


Agreed, and I was in error. But I think that commemorating the fifth anniversary of something that ended over 4.5 years ago is fairly odd. It would make more sense to pay attention to the ensuing occupation, as it has lasted far longer and cause much more death and destruction.
3.19.2008 5:00pm
CrazyTrain (mail):
This is insane.

Yes it is.
3.19.2008 5:49pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
In addition, the people of Iraq are clearly better off than they were before the war.

Few things are worse than life in a brutal authoritarian dictatorship, but life in a war zone is one of them. You can live something resembling a normal life in an authoritarian dictatorship. But life in a war zone is about people you know are randomly being killed or, if they're lucky, maimed; shipments of goods like food getting cut off randomly; and the power and water being shut off at random, to return who-knows-when.
3.19.2008 5:50pm
Gaius Marius:
Mission Accomplished?
3.19.2008 6:33pm
Randy R. (mail):
:"Randy: It was not claimed that Iraq was involved with Sept 11th attacks as justification for resuming the war. It's a common talking point today from many anti-war folks, but it wasn't the case in 2002 and 2003."

Total and complete BS. Bush and Cheney kept referring to Iraq as being the hotbed of terrorists. They used every rhetorical device to make Americans think that Sadam was behind 9/11. They were so successful that by the time we invaded Iraq, about 80% of Americans believed he was behind 9/11. Of course, they carefully parsed their language, and when called on the carpet, these denied officially denied that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11. But then they went right back to linking the two.

So yes, Bush never said Sadam was behind 9/11, but they inferred it many, many, many times. This gives people like you an out "Bush never expressly linked the two" and you correct in that one sense, but in another, you are completely incorrect, and that's was their idea all along.

Or where do you think Americans get the idea Iraq was behind 9/11? From the beloved NY Times?
3.19.2008 7:25pm
Ted10 (mail):
I spent 4 years in the Marines. When I joined I swore an oath to uphold our constitution and defend our country from all enemies. It seemed very noble and patriotic.

If I had been told to go to Afghanistan after 9/11 to get Osama Bin Laden, you wouldn't have been able to hold me back.

However, there was nothing in that oath about risking my life to overthrow a government that was not a threat to us just because they lost their usefulness when they signed big oil contracts with Russia and France instead of EXXON. Overthrowing governments that pose no threat to us is a job for mercenaries, not our military. Mercenaries do it for the money.

TDP, you say were fighting 'insurgents'. I say we're fighting freedom fighters who love their country and are doing the exact same thing to an occupying force as I'd be doing to Chinese soldiers if they overthrew our government and whose tanks and soldiers were marching down our streets.

Pitting them against the men and women of our military for the sake of oil is the most disgusting, and tragic waste of brave and patriotic human lives on both sides imaginable.

History shows that we've never won an unjust war and we have no chance of 'winning' in Iraq. As long as there are patriotic Iraqi's there will be insurgents killing Americans.

Q. When did we finally stop fighting insurgents and terrorists in Viet Nam?
A. When we left! Funny how it's now a peaceful country we go to on vacations.
3.19.2008 8:58pm
Tim Fowler (www):
Josh644 - "and it would be better to call it what it is: an occupation."

No it isn't an occupation. The US isn't an occupying power in Iraq.
3.19.2008 9:17pm
TDPerkins (mail):

An Iranian client state!


It's an Iraqi client state.

Dude, get a map.

Ted10, bad troll, no biscuit.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 10:20pm
TDPerkins (mail):

Total and complete BS. Bush and Cheney kept referring to Iraq as being the hotbed of terrorists.



Saddam was paying terrorists and giving them shelter, but never said Iraq was behind 9/11. What's your point?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 10:23pm
TDPerkins (mail):

From the beloved NY Times?


Yes, and other media organs. I never at the time or as a result since felt any link was made between Saddam and 9/11 by any verbatim quote made of either Bush or Cheney. They simply never said anything like that.

Perhaps you should dwell on the fact a good proportion of out population believes Tupac is alive, or Elvis is.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 10:26pm
TDPerkins (mail):
"of out population" /= "of our population" TDP, ml, msl, &pfpp
3.19.2008 10:27pm
Ted10 (mail):
Bad troll, no biscuit?

TDP you win. Can't possibly debate against logic and reasoning that good:)
3.19.2008 11:34pm
Russ (mail):
For those supporting the war, I ask, since war isn't pretty and doesn't always go as planned, what are YOU doing for our soldiers, or for the war effort in general?

What have I done? Fought in OIF-1. Going back to Iraq this Fall.

That enough?
3.21.2008 5:06am
Russ (mail):
Funny how all those here who say the war wasn't worth it already live in a free society.
3.21.2008 5:07am