• Iraq: No Comfort in Being Right

    December 13, 2011 // Comments Off on Iraq: No Comfort in Being Right

    Saddam StatueAntiwar.com’s Kelley Vlahos’ end-of-the-war-for-now Iraq wrap up is worth reading. Unlike some of the lumbering garbage being churned out (“we need to wait for the judgement of history”), Vlahos calls it like it is:

    After years of talking about what victory would look like (and downgrading that definition, conveniently, to accommodate evolving realities “on the ground”) it seems to matter little. No one — not the most strident defender of Bush’s preemptive strike strategy or the war’s greatest skeptic — can say with any sincerity that the U.S. and its coalition partners have achieved greatness in Iraq. For those who feel obligated to maintain pretenses, any rhetoric about democracy and peace sound like boilerplate now and feel as satisfying as a tie in a fight. Everyone just wants to go home, pride dented, bodies bloody and tired, and without cause for celebration. “Empty” seems like the right word.

    Vlahos includes comments from a number of people on the war, including me:

    So who won the war? Iran. Iran sat patiently on its hands while the United States hacked away at its two major enemies, Saddam and the Taliban, clearing both its east and west borders at no cost to Tehran. (Iran apparently reached out to the U.S. government in 2003, seeking some sort of diplomatic relationship, but after being rebuffed by the engorged Bush administration, decided to wait and watch the quagmire envelop America.) We leave Iraq now with an increasingly influential Iran seeking a proxy battleground against the United States and a nicely weak buffer state on its formerly troublesome western border.

    None of that tallies toward a stable Iraq. Indeed, quite the opposite. Worst-case scenario might look a lot like the darkest days in Lebanon, with many of the same players at the table.

    Also featured are remarks by Boston University professor and author Andrew Bacevich, Celeste Ward Gventer, director of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas and former deputy assistant secretary of defense in the Bush administration, Gordon Adams, professor of international relations at American University and a former White House national security official in the Clinton administration and others.

    The whole article is worth reading over at Antiwar.com.

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    Posted in Democracy, Iran, Iraq, Military