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Iraq: The Wrong War?
Posted by: Dale Franks on Sunday, July 23, 2006

The National Journal's James Kitfield makes the argument that invading Iraq was the wrong choice to further the Global War on Terror. The real enemy, argues Kitfield, was—and is—Iran.
After 9/11, with U.S. military forces having quickly toppled the Taliban and routed Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and with much of the world united in what was seen as a just cause against terrorists, American coercive power was at its pinnacle. Iran, flanked by U.S. forces to the east that were deposing the rival Taliban, and lumped by President Bush into an "axis of evil," actually opened secret negotiating channels to Washington in an effort to accommodate the wrathful superpower.

At that moment of maximum leverage, the Bush administration shifted its gaze and much of the world's attention next door — to Tehran's old nemesis in Baghdad. That decision helps explain the escalating crisis in the region over the past week and also explains why a greatly emboldened Iran is becoming the greatest impediment to the U.S. campaign to stabilize the volatile Middle East and win Bush's "global war on terror."
By attacking Iraq, and becoming bogged down there, we are now unable to prevent Iran from supporting Hezbollah with impunity, building nuclear weapons, or, well, anything else. And, of course, an emboldened Iran is also causing trouble in Iraq, supporting people like Muqtada al-Sadr.
"The Iranians see big, bad America bogged down in a quagmire in the region, and think they smell strategic weakness," said Paul Pillar, formerly the CIA's top intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia. "Iran is still avoiding the really nasty stuff it did in the 1980s such as fomenting revolutions in the Persian Gulf states and assassinating Iranian dissidents all over Europe — which has rehabilitated Iran's image to the point where the United States is really the odd man out internationally in imposing sanctions," Pillar said. "But Iran continues to foment violence against Israel, it has maintained its relationship with Hezbollah, and it is helping to arm and train Shiite militia groups in Iraq, while falling short of instigating actual attacks."
All of this may very well be true. But, it is, in many ways irrelevant to the choices we faced in 2002, and 2003. Interestingly, one of the recent arguments from the left, as some of our liberal commenters here have echoed, is that we should've gone after Iran. they are the real bad guys, and all we're doing in Iraq is simply making the Iranians stronger.

The failure point of that argument though, is the plain fact that a direct attack on Iran was simply not on. Not then, and in most circumstances that come to mind, not now.

Iran is a vastly larger country than Iraq, with a much larger army. The terrain is also quite forbidding for military purposes. For instance, to get into the central plains of the country, any invasion force has to go through the mountainous terrain on the border, and the routes through the mountains are both few, and easily blocked off. We would need a much larger force to invade Iran than was ever contemplated for Iraq.

Building that force in Afghanistan—which was the only base available to us for an invasion, and supplying it, would've been a logistical task of frightening proportions. For instance, Afghanistan is a landlocked country, which means it has no ports. Unless Pakistan was willing to allow us to use their country to transit our supplies and materiel, it's difficult to see how any invasion force could've been created. And since distances in Iran are much longer, and conditions in the central portion of the country much more demanding, Iran would've placed a much larger logistics strain on our forces, in terms of resupply, repair, and refitting than Iraq ever did.

Moreover, Iran, unlike Iraq, hadn't been the focus of a decade of UN sanctions, and nothing like the record of humanitarian, policy transgressions, and armed aggression as Iraq did. If building a coalition for a war against Iraq was difficult, it's hard to comprehend how any suggestion that a similar coalition against Iran could've been built is anything other than hopelessly quixotic. Without such a coalition, or, at the very least, the willingness of Pakistan to make itself a combatant against Iran, no invasion of Iran was remotely within the realm of possibility.

There was never going to be an invasion of Iran, and any supposition to the contrary is sheer fantasy.

It's probably true that Iran has benefited in many ways from our overthrow of the Ba'athist regime in Iraq. So what? Iraq was the low-hanging fruit. Iraq was something we could do something about. It was geographically and politically accessible, something that was not true of either Iran or Syria. If the choice was between invading Iran and doing nothing, then there was simply no choice at all.

And, even if the "quagmire" in Iraq does currently embolden Iran, that doesn't mean that such a result is a permanent condition, for a couple of reasons. First, a stable, more democratic Iraq, with properly functioning security forces can rebuff Iranian attempts to foment civil war, and provide a salutary example to the people of Iran about what life under the mullahs could be like. Second, an emboldened Iran could squander whatever reservoirs of international goodwill it has left, precisely because of its support for Hezbollah, which could make other nations more prone to look into the possibility of regime change.

One also notes that an Iran bent on causing trouble in Iraq also implies an Iraq that might be willing to serve as a base for military action against Iran. Afghanistan is a poor base for an invasion of Iran. Iraq, on the other hand, would do quite nicely.

Not that I think such an invasion might be necessary. There are, after all, a lot of Iranians in the US, many of whom harbor ill-feelings toward the regime of the Mullahs. Recruiting them, and sending them into Iran as part of a destabilization scheme might be something worth looking into.

In a larger sense, though, complaining that Iran was emboldened by our invasion of Iraq, is much like complaining that overthrowing the Nazi regime in Europe immeasurably strengthened the USSR. Sure, it's true, but again, so what? Our priority in 1941 was dealing with German and Japanese imperial ambitions. That didn't mean that we were insensitive to the potential threat of a victorious Soviet Union. It just meant that Germany and Japan were the proximate cause of our worries. As a direct result of that struggle, a 50-year cold war followed.

Similarly, Iraq, in 2002, was the cause of much worry. It turns out that much of that worry was based on theoretical rather than actual threats, but that, of course, is 20/20 hindsight. You deal with threats based on what you know at the time, and in that context, Iraq, not Iran, was the appropriate choice in 2002-2003.
 
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One also notes that an Iran bent on causing trouble in Iraq, also implies an Iraq that might be willing to serve as a base for military action against Iran. Afghanistan is a poor base for an invasion of Iran. Iraq, on the other hand, would do quite nicely.
Exactly, and they know it. Just what is it about having the world’s most effective war machine parked all around your country that’s supposed to be so "emboldening"? What is it about violence stemming from centuries old sectarian animus that strikes as a quagmire for the US? Any fool could see that there would be some Shia backlash after decades of brutal Sunni rule, and that Sunnis would fight back. These people didn’t start hating each other because we showed up or because Saddam fell. What is new is that they’re learning to work together, which Iran clearly is not happy about.

While OIF certainly created some exploitable outcomes for Iran, by and large they can’t possibly view a functioning democratic state in their backyard as a good thing. Two of them, and Turkey makes three if you care to count it, is is even worse. Meanwhile, Bashir Assad has to be one of the most nervous people on the planet.

If this was the plan, and I suspect that it was, it’s visionary. History will smile upon it.

 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Some may think it a pat answer, but I think there is something to the BDS accusation for situations like this. That is, folks are staking out their positions solely on the basis of whatever they perceive as being in opposition to George Bush.

This is a case where logic brands something a ridiculous choice. Yet some of Bush’s opponents advocate it anyway. The most likely explanation I can see is that they choose to raise this retroactive possibility because it’s at odds with Bush’s actual choices (and because, since it’s a retroactive hypothetical, they’ll never have to defend the results of such a strategy in the real world).

I’ve heard variations on this. One young leftist with whom I spoke was adamant that Bush should have invaded Saudi Arabia. The odd part was he has just finished a tirade on why we had no cause to invade Iraq. I got the distinct impression that if Bush had done exactly as he said, he would have been taking the exact opposite position.

I’d like nothing more than to see the Iranian mullahs taken down, and we’ve probably got more than enough evidence buried in secret files for a casus belli with them. I would love to wake up one morning and find out that anything in the country resembling a nuclear facility has been bombed into unrecognizability. But anything further than that is just not in the cards given present circumstances.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
It’s not that attacking Iraq was the wrong move in 2003, the mistake was sticking around to ’fix what we broke’. Had we limited our involvement to getting rid of Hussein and making sure that Iraq didn’t have WMDs, and then left Iraq to the Iraqis to deal with on their own, our military would be in a better position to deal with other situations, including the possibility of having to repeat the exercise every couple of years.. and there’d be a few thousand more troops alive than has been the case with Bush’s not-so-excellent adventure.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com/
steve, had we just walked away, aonther strongman would have taken over and we’d wind up right back in the same place. How would President for Life Moqtada al-Sadr look right now?
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Agreement for the most part, all points, Dale.
I’ll add one point for your consideration:

That being, that particularly for what we knew at the time, and only marginally less likely with what we know NOW... a successful invasion of Iran would not have have happened with Saddam in place. At the very least, Iraq would have been a neat little jumping off point against our troops, ala Laos and Cambodia, with all the geo-political nonsense attached to it.

Hmmm. come to think of it, maybe we DID learn something from Vietnam. Have to think about that some more.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
Dale,

Do you have any links to some who are arguing we should have invaded Iran, besides Kitfield of course? Or is this more form personal conversation and/or comments. I have heard the same thing, but for the life of me I can’t think of anyone in particular of significance.

Thanks.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://
Pablo: so every two or three years we would have repeated the exercise of getting rid of a dictator, it still would be cheaper - in money and in men - than what we’ve spent hanging around in Iraq.

And the same holds for Iran; we don’t need to occupy Iran, we simply need to make sure that they don’t get nukes and remove a bunch of the Mad Mullahs. Targeted attacks and insertions would accomplish the task. The problem most people have when thinking about using the military on Iran is they think in traditional ways: big invasion forces, occupying presence and so on. My preference is to get in and get out, leave things to the natives to work out for themselves... all with the threat hanging over them that if they don’t get it right, we’ll repeat the exercise and give a new group of people the opportunity to get things to our liking.
 
Written By: steve sturm
URL: http://thoughtsonline.blogspot.com/
It’s not that attacking Iraq was the wrong move in 2003, the mistake was sticking around to ’fix what we broke’. Had we limited our involvement to getting rid of Hussein and making sure that Iraq didn’t have WMDs, and then left Iraq to the Iraqis to deal with on their own, our military would be in a better position to deal with other situations, including the possibility of having to repeat the exercise every couple of years.. and there’d be a few thousand more troops alive than has been the case with Bush’s not-so-excellent adventure.
Despite all the charges of unilateralism, we actually had the support of quite a few nations in this effort. While our current struggles will probably give many of them pause the next time we are looking for partners, I have to think this resistance doesn’t compare to that if developed the reputation of irresponsible nation-wreckers.

Not only that, but I highly doubt that domestic support for nation wrecking would be high, either. It’s true that the American people have no appetite for invasion right now, but if we do succeed in putting Iraq on the right path, there will be far greater support for future like endeavors than had we simply toppled Saddam and called it a day.
 
Written By: CNH
URL: http://
For the last couple years, I have repeatedly asserted that our misadventure in Iraq has had the effect of emboldening and empowering Iran. Others have made similar assertions. Of course, anytume such an assertion was made, it was immediately ridiculed by umpteen other commenters, labeled as false, crazy, and proof of Bush Derangement Syndrome.

Now, many of those who actually supported the war in Iraq have come to accept the truth of the assertion, although they debate the degree to which Iran’s hand has been strengthened.

What is interesting about this development is not the specific issue itself, i.e., Iran’s power in the region. What is interesting is what the development represents. It is simply one more assertion that the war’s supporters once rejected that they have now been forced to accept simply because the facts proved them wrong. There are many of these kind of assertions. For instance, it took a long time for many of the war’s supporters to accept the notion that Saddam really didn’t have any WMD’s. But most have finally conceded he didn’t, at least not the kind we supposedly went to war over.

There are other examples of this phenomenon. For instance, war supporters have come to accept the notion that the insurgency is not simply a bunch of "dead enders" from Saddam’s regime - as they once did, but is in fact a multi-factional, diverse and complex rebellion. Similarly, many war supporters once scoffed at the notion that Shia militias tied to the government represented any real threat to Iraq’s stability. But now many war supporters have come to recognize these militias are as much a threat as the Sunni insurgency.

Of course, some war supporters are more willing to accept facts than others. But the phenomenon is nevertheless very visible.

But what is even more interesting is how war supporters sythensize these newly accepted assertions. It’s kind of like how the old Soviet propaganda people would re-configure the ideology to match the existing world and then contend that the ideology not changed at all. Down the memory hole and all that.

So in this post, Dale concedes that Iran has been strengthened, if only for the purpose of argument. But rather than go further and concede that this is a bad consequence, we get this:
It’s probably true that Iran has benefited in many ways from our overthrow of the Ba’athist regime in Iraq. So what? Iraq was the low-hanging fruit. Iraq was something we could do something about. It was geographically and politically accessible, something that was not true of either Iran or Syria. If the choice was between invading Iran and doing nothing, then there was simply no choice at all.

And, even if the "quagmire" in Iraq does currently embolden Iran, that doesn’t mean that such a result is a permanent condition, for a couple of reasons. First, a stable, more democratic Iraq, with properly functioning security forces can rebuff Iranian attempts to foment civil war, and provide a salutary example to the people of Iran about what life under the mullahs could be like. Second, an emboldened Iran could squander whatever reservoirs of international goodwill it has left, precisely because of its support for Hezbollah, which could make other nations more prone to look into the possibility of regime change.
The first attempt at synthesis is not really responsive at all. Iran was emboldened. But that doesn’t matter, because Iraq was easier to invade.

Ok, yes, Iraq was easier to invade. Point taken. But so what? Why does that mean emboldening Iran was not a bad thing to do, with consequences we cannot forsee? Answer: It doesn’t.

The second attempt at synthesis is to say that it is not a permanent condition. Again, so what? Nothing in the world is permanent. If the best you can do is to say that it won’t last forever, well, then, you have already lost the argument.

The third attempt is to trot out the old canard that a democratic Iraq will indirectly steer Iran toward moderation. Really? First of all, achieving stability in Iraq is not likely to happen for several years, if at all. Which is a reason to not have invaded it in the first place. Second, even if you do, why would a democractic Iraq be moderate or not dominated by Mullahs. In those Arab countries that have had elections, extreme elements (Hamas, Hezbollah) have grabbed power and been legitimized through elections. You know who would win if Egypt had a fair election? Not Mubarak. And up until hell really started breaking loose in February following the mosque bombing, Sistani, a mullah, was the most powerful man in democratic Iraq. And maybe still is.

Could an emboldened Iran squander goodwill by supporting Hezbollah? Among some, yes. But it could easily gain goodwill as well from other quarters, especially Arab quarters. Indeed, even the Lebanese government is talking about fighting alongside Hezbollah if Israel launches a full scale invasion. And Iran has plenty of Goodwill to squander; it’s called oil. And something tells me the Chinese will buy as much of it as they can get their hands on no matter what the Iranians do. Think China cares about what Hezbollah or Iran is doing to Israel?

No.

Dale makes a good effort to spin a bad fact that he has finally come to accept as a fact, it seems. But there is no spinning this one. In the balance of power that existed in the Middle East, we took out a weaker rival to a stronger rival and, if we are lucky, all we did is make the weaker rival an ally of the stronger one - the stronger one representing the biggest strategic threat to the United States interests in the Middle East. I have yet to hear an even remotely compelling case why this made for good foreign policy, or even nuetral foreign policy. Suffice it to say, Dale’s efforts here don’t even come close.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Pablo: so every two or three years we would have repeated the exercise of getting rid of a dictator, it still would be cheaper - in money and in men - than what we’ve spent hanging around in Iraq.
Are you suggesting that biennial regime change through full blown war is a viable option? That’s crazy, Steve. Further, if democracy takes (which admittedly, is still something of an "if", though the current trend gives plenty of reason for hope) the value of that and the consequences it is having and will continue to have across the region is invaluable.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
For the last couple years, I have repeatedly asserted that our misadventure in Iraq has had the effect of emboldening and empowering Iran. Others have made similar assertions. Of course, anytume such an assertion was made, it was immediately ridiculed by umpteen other commenters, labeled as false, crazy, and proof of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Since it’s coming from you, MK, why would we think anything else?

An invasion of Iran from Afghanistan is practically impossible. One from Iraq is possible.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
An invasion of Iran from Afghanistan is practically impossible. One from Iraq is possible.
Lets get control of Iraq first, huh Mark?
For the last couple years, I have repeatedly asserted that our misadventure in Iraq has had the effect of emboldening and empowering Iran. Others have made similar assertions. Of course, anytume such an assertion was made, it was immediately ridiculed by umpteen other commenters, labeled as false, crazy, and proof of Bush Derangement Syndrome.
Many warned of what is happening now. You still wont find many takers on your point of view here though.
Now they are speaking in code:

scattered secular violence Real meaning= civil war

mideast peace = let violence continue and get worse

mideast elections= only if we (US and Britain) endorse candidate.

Israel has the right to defend itself= How many US made Bunker busters do you want to order?

Friggin idiots war makes more war.I suppose you will disagree but you are just deniying the entire history of the world when the world doesnt support you.

Funny we once supported and financed the very a**holes we claim are the enemies of humanity....

The US and Israel have proven one thing: we can win the war against concrete and steel but where it really counts ,winning peace, well we suck and need improvement.

Results speak for themselves but I suppose some who still support Cowboy Bush will still say there are wmd’s in Iraq. Oh and of course set their eye on Iran . Better try and secure Iraq and get some education, Iran will be 10 times worse.

Then again all you bitches sitting at home playing with yourselves dont have to worry it, isnt your life on the line, war is your polital play thing , exciting all that video of war and killing on the 6 oclock news, isnt it?

Instead of being arm chair generals why not sign up to the military yourselves and your sons and daughters while you are at it. Maybe you will be a little more slow about your love of war and death of others if you lose someone yourselves.

To all you Global war on terror screwballs, you still cant run from Iraqs non association. Kill the taliban and GET OUT. That was cool. What happened to the plan?
Find some extra oil reserves in Afghanistan did we?

To you other screwballs who argue that gas would be too expensive I say Ide pay whatever it takes if it saves human lives. Starting with my brother and sisters in the military wearing our colors!

I dont like Hezbollah but there was significant progress that took years to make and only seconds to destroy. Thats bad policy.

Israel and hezbollah have been playing footsie with prisoner swaps for a long time. Did hezbollah launch quassams at civilians first? Sounds like it was to be business as usuall.
Cant go back now and I thought we were learning from Iraq............







 
Written By: x2master
URL: http://
Similarly, Iraq, in 2002, was the cause of much worry. It turns out that much of that worry was based on theoretical rather than actual threats, but that, of course, is 20/20 hindsight. You deal with threats based on what you know at the time, and in that context, Iraq, not Iran, was the appropriate choice in 2002-2003.

Except, of course, for those who knew better and tried to tell you otherwise:

"2 – Make no mistake about it: the choice is indeed between two visions of the world.

To those who choose to use force and think they can resolve the world’s complexity through swift and preventive action, we offer in contrast determined action over time. For today, to ensure our security, all the dimensions of the problem must be taken into account: both the manifold crises and their many facets, including cultural and religious. Nothing lasting in international relations can be built therefore without dialogue and respect for the other, without exigency and abiding by principles, especially for the democracies that must set the example. To ignore this is to run the risk of misunderstanding, radicalization and spiraling violence. This is even more true in the Middle East, an area of fractures and ancient conflicts where stability must be a major objective for us.

To those who hope to eliminate the dangers of proliferation through armed intervention in Iraq, I wish to say that we regret that they are depriving themselves of a key tool for other crises of the same type. The Iraq crisis allowed us craft an instrument, through the inspections regime, which is unprecedented and can serve as an example. Why, on this basis not envision establishing an innovative, permanent structure, a disarmament body under the United Nations?

To those who think that the scourge of terrorism will be eradicated through the case of Iraq, we say they run the risk of failing in their objectives. The outbreak of force in this area which is so unstable can only exacerbate the tensions and fractures on which the terrorists feed."
Ooops.
 
Written By: Phoenician in a time of Romans
URL: http://
Lets get control of Iraq first, huh Mark?
We and/or the Iraqi government have more control of Iraq than anyone has of, say...Pakistan. Or, for that matter, Afghanistan.
scattered secular violence Real meaning= civil war
No. It means sectarian (would that it were secular) violence. Civil war would require a party to be capable of and engaging in war against the government. There’s no such thing. What there is is centuries old animus, and some fairly fresh beefs on the part of all parties. They’ll work it out, eventually.
mideast peace = let violence continue and get worse
Let? Are we God? Can anything happen on the planet without it being a direct reflection on America? How do you propose that we prevent it?

mideast elections= only if we (US and Britain) endorse candidate.
Elections are like freedom, which includes the freedom to be an idiot. In both cases, there are consequenses. That doesn’t undermine the value of freedom, or elections.

Israel has the right to defend itself= How many US made Bunker busters do you want to order?
Whatever the maximum is. You never know when you might need them.
Friggin idiots war makes more war.I suppose you will disagree but you are just deniying the entire history of the world when the world doesnt support you.
Which is why combat still rages across Europe and the South Pacific...
Funny we once supported and financed the very a**holes we claim are the enemies of humanity....
I did that with my ex-wife too.
The US and Israel have proven one thing: we can win the war against concrete and steel but where it really counts ,winning peace, well we suck and need improvement.
We need some education on that, I guess. Is there a historical precedent for this "peace winning" you speak of? Will it work with Hamas and Hezbollah?

Results speak for themselves but I suppose some who still support Cowboy Bush will still say there are wmd’s in Iraq.
Maybe not anymore.
Better try and secure Iraq and get some education, Iran will be 10 times worse.
Maybe we can get Russia, China, Germany and France to deal with this one, eh? Under UN auspices, of course. How does that sound?
Then again all you bitches sitting at home playing with yourselves dont have to worry it, isnt your life on the line, war is your polital play thing , exciting all that video of war and killing on the 6 oclock news, isnt it?
Right. Yes. Exactly. Precisely. Yay, death!

Instead of being arm chair generals why not sign up to the military yourselves and your sons and daughters while you are at it. Maybe you will be a little more slow about your love of war and death of others if you lose someone yourselves.
You think?
Kill the taliban and GET OUT. That was cool.
We’re out? Here’s 30 jihadis who will be happy to know that we didn’t kill them after all. I’m sure that our 20,000 troops will be shocked to know that they were home for 4th of July festivities and not in Afghanistan.
To you other screwballs who argue that gas would be too expensive I say Ide pay whatever it takes if it saves human lives. Starting with my brother and sisters in the military wearing our colors!
How much do you think that is, and who are you planning to pay it to?

I dont like Hezbollah but there was significant progress that took years to make and only seconds to destroy. Thats bad policy.
Which policy? Crossing the border to kidnap Israelis, or indiscriminate rocket fire? Both? (Order of events refresher: 1.Kidnapping 2.Israeli pursuit 3.Rain of Katushyas)
Israel and hezbollah have been playing footsie with prisoner swaps for a long time.
No, Hezbollah swaps corpses.
Did hezbollah launch quassams at civilians first?
No, it was Katushyas they launched at civilians first.
Cant go back now and I thought we were learning from Iraq............
We’re always learning. But is Israel in Iraq? Are we in Lebanon?







 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
We and/or the Iraqi government have more control of Iraq than anyone has of, say...Pakistan.

Uh-huh.
 
Written By: Phoenician in a time of Romans
URL: http://
x2, not the Chickenhawk argument again, huh? Have we not put the final nail in the coffin of that tired old ad hominem yet?
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
X2master -
Then again all you bitches sitting at home playing with yourselves dont have to worry it, isnt your life on the line, war is your polital play thing , exciting all that video of war and killing on the 6 oclock news, isnt it?

Instead of being arm chair generals why not sign up to the military yourselves and your sons and daughters while you are at it. Maybe you will be a little more slow about your love of war and death of others if you lose someone yourselves.
My twerp detector just went off.

Maybe it was the "you bitches" address, maybe it was the imbecilic "experiential" argument of the Left. That only women that have had an abortion are allowed to have the moral authority to speak against it, only cops are in a position to have opinions on crime solutions, only victims of terror are transformed into master counterterror experts, only gunowners should be allowed to set US gun ownership laws and policy, and of course, only active duty soldiers or retired "combat vets" (not all Vets....but anyone who claims to be a decorated ex-SEAL combat vet is never verified in Lefty circles anyways) have a "right" to profess opinions on war.

Of course the Lefty "experiential" case is riddled with hypocrisy. No Lefty wants NRA gunowners having exclusive power to set gun policy. No Lefty wants cops alone in charge of our criminal law system. And of course no Lefty wants the freedom to speak out against war, vs. the right to have pro-war opinion - limited to only present military volunteers or combat vets.

Dale Franks -
The failure point of that argument though, is the plain fact that a direct attack on Iran was simply not on. Not then, and in most circumstances that come to mind, not now.

Iran is a vastly larger country than Iraq, with a much larger army. The terrain is also quite forbidding for military purposes.
Dale’s piece describes just how hard it would be - and he doesn’t even get into the massive disruption of oil commerce, the return of America to the Draft which would be needed to create the extra million or so conscript soldiers needed to hold that vast land and fight some 250,000 trained guerilla insurgents (Iraq had 30,000 at peak) while we rooted out the Mullahs and WMD.

The Neocon fantasy of Israel or America mounting a single "precision surgical bombing strike" to destroy Iran’s nuclear, WMD, and missile threat has been exposed for the unmitigated crock of poop it always was -

IDF has had over 3,000 air sorties so far and has barely begun to blunt the Hezbollah military and missile capacity. Their elite "special ops supersoldiers" have occasionally lost major engagements with the highly trained and motivated Hezbollah soldiers,. And this is just against Iran’s proxie irregulars, not against the Iranian main force.

Their only shot on Iran itself would be sacrificing a few hundred pilots on a one-way strike that also involves aggressive, unannounced use of multiple nuclear weapons.

America could do it conventionally, but only if we were prepared to admit that going it alone would cost us tens of thousands of casualties, require the abandonment of Bushie tax cuts for the wealthy and their K-street porkfest, with major belt-tightening for Americans - including possibly paying 8 bucks a gallon and being accepting of 300 a month electric bills since not only oil, but global gas prices could also quintuple, coal double as nations switch to it. With America taking Hezbollah terror attacks without the indulgence of making "victim families" multimillionaires or engaging mawkish many months long "Mourthathons" saluting the hero-victims of each Hezbollah strike. A return to the Draft on an emergency basis, and up to 2 months of AF and Navy heavy preparation of the battle space that would be Iran and the entire Gulf before our troops began a 3 to 6 month long invasion to find and destroy all the hidden missile, nuclear, and chem-bio facilities. Use of American nuclear weapons would not be out of the question if we were hit by nerve gas or bio, or confronted with the mass suicide attacker formations that killed 400,000 Iraqi troops during their war with Iran.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Phoenecian, that’s all you’re going to put on the table? Have you heard of Waziristan? What do you think happens in Pakistan if the fourth assasination attempt on Musharraf is the charm?

Iraq is not the only place where people are violent. Violence does not preclude having control of your country. If that were the case, America would be in deep doo doo.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Ok Recap:Pablo and C.Ford


(1)Iraq is invaded for WMD.
No wmd.
(2)Iraq is occupied to establish democratic elections
Elections occur and country plummets into secular division.
(3)Occupation must conyinue to win peace and security
Iraq spirals into highest level of violence since occupation occured. Civil war.

(1) Afghanistan is invaded to dismantle and eraticate Taliban
Taliban still there.
(2) Establish Afghanistan democratic government
Government can not control security, poppy field in full bloom


What is it that we have accomplished for 100;s of billions of dollars and most and I say most of all the deaths of thousands of people, including those that will be impacted the rest of their lives in a negative way.

I understand the so called nobility of our intent but the reality is nothing close to noble.

You can spring the "chicken hawk" arguement, but I say its just chicken to not see whats in front of your face.

Since when did the greatest accomplishments in world peace and American influence come at the end of a gun?

Walls fell and blocks crumbled when we applied policy that didnt involve occupation and war.Im no history major but obviously some here want or like to pretend history didnt happen the way reality dictates.

There will never likely be peace in the middle east and their problems have gone on long before we were a country or hell even an idea.
To sit here and pretend we know whats best and unilaterlly accept a mass military attack on Lebanon and watch its people become refugees will do nothing to help spread goodwill and hope for peace.

Some here might think wiping out a whole group of people who disagree is the answer. History pals is not now or will ever be on your side.
Let me ask you geniusus something, what happens when your enemy no longer wants peace when you are ready for it?

The lebanese our not our enemy. They asked for our help and we said sorry we have to let Israel wipe out the whole of S Lebanon and Beirut.
When do you expect these arabic nations are just going to throw up their hands and give up on our "moral authority"

They are an entire civilization folks.This goes beyond hamas and hezbollah.Just as terror goes beyond Al-Queda. The arguement of having an opinion about war and not be a soldier I concede is irrelevant in this forum, but Ill tell you one thing most of the soldiers I know and serve with dont think that our enemy hates us because of our values and love of freedom.

Maybe it has something to do with war and the weapons we give to their percieved enemies. The statement Pablo that we are learning and thats why we do not get involved with the Lebanon-Israeli crisis is superficial at best when we are supplying weapons to Israel and allowing carnage to occur when a phone call would stop this.

How many wars do you professed war hawks have to fight only to see that all the bombs, bullets, and economic embargos are no match for the greatest weapon of all, the human spirit.





 
Written By: x2master
URL: http://
Dale,

Mkultura has probably dropped most of the gist, but I’ll recap him and see if I add anything new:

We agree:

#1. Invading Iraq has strengthed Iran’s hand.

#2. It wasn’t relatively infeasible in 2003 or now to invade Iran. (That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do it- just that we’re not willing to pay the costs and make the neccesary institutional changes.)

#3. Iraq was, as you put it, and I believe I’ve used this phrase myself, "low hanging fruit". I’ve argued against people claiming we did it for oil myself, because expediency was always the clearer answer. We invaded Iraq because it was the weakest target of people we didn’t like.


I would further add:

#4. Invading Iraq has cost nearly a trillion dollars , killed nearly as many US citizens as 9/11, killed between 50 and 100 thousand Iraqi citizens, made our president a lame duck and our country look like thugs while we’re trying to win a hearts-and-minds battle against Al-Quieda -

on the asset side

#5. Iraq’s political system is more democratic. Also Libya decided to suck up to us.


So, maybe we couldn’t have invaded Iran, but that doesn’t mean some of us didn’t think Iran was a more serious threat than Iraq to begin with. Me, for one. If our foreign policy had to change after 9/11, and wiping out the Taliban was not enough - which seems to be the consenus - why did that change have to involve invading some essentially random - or expident, which is the equivalent of random - country? Couldn’t we have, say, ended financial support for Egypt & political support for Saudi Arabia, and encouraged democratic movements not tainted by the US armed blitzkrieg?






 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
(1)Iraq is invaded for WMD.
No wmd.
Try reading the Joint Authorization for Military Force (.pdf) which lists the many, many reasons we went into Iraq. But, if you’re looking for one that you can fit into a compact little sound bite, the appropriate choice is "Regime Change", an American policy that went into effect in 1998, when Clinton signed it into law.

Next, the "There was no WMD" is crap, which you’d have noted had you read the 3 links I offered above on the subject.
(2)Iraq is occupied to establish democratic elections
Elections occur and country plummets into secular division.
Sunni and Shia have been going at it for centuries. They didn’t plummet into anything. You just didn’t hear as much about sectarian violence because 1. It was very one sided, with the Shia under Sunni bootheels and 2. that’s they way Saddam wanted it and that’s the way the likes of CNN gave it to him. Do you think those mass graves filled themselves?
(3)Occupation must conyinue to win peace and security
Iraq spirals into highest level of violence since occupation occured. Civil war.
No, occupation must continue until the Iraqi government’s security forces can do the job themselves, which is finally progressing quite nicely. Again, neither insurgency nor simple sectarian violence is civil war. There is no group capable of mounting a civil war in Iraq, with the possible exception of the Kurds who don’t seem to have any interest in it.
(1) Afghanistan is invaded to dismantle and eraticate Taliban
Taliban still there.
No, Afghanistan was invaded to neutralize al-Qaeda’s ability to operate there. Are you just making this stuff up as you go? Try reading what Bush said about it when we went in.
On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al-Qaida terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime.
But really, he meant to say "We’re going in to wipe out the poppy fields. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?"
(2) Establish Afghanistan democratic government
Government can not control security, poppy field in full bloom
Gee, sounds like Columbia. That must be a failure too. Really, what’s your point with this line? That our Armed Forces are incompetent?
Since when did the greatest accomplishments in world peace and American influence come at the end of a gun?
Since 1776.

Walls fell and blocks crumbled when we applied policy that didnt involve occupation and war.
Are you daft? You’re talking about a wall in partitioned and occupied Germany! And we’re still there!
Let me ask you geniusus something, what happens when your enemy no longer wants peace when you are ready for it?
What enemies do we have that want peace?
The lebanese our not our enemy. They asked for our help and we said sorry we have to let Israel wipe out the whole of S Lebanon and Beirut.
Riiiight. That’s why Condi Rice was in Beirut this morning meeting with the Lebanese Prime Minister. Because Beirut is wiped out and we don’t care.

It occurs to me that this discussion may be an utter waste of my time.




 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
Pablo -
blockquote>Are you daft? You’re talking about a wall in partitioned and occupied Germany! And we’re still there!Hey, he said he was no history major, don’t trouble him with facts okay?
Like the spending war that we had to embark on that was referred to as the Arms Race and the proxy wars that were fought from 1945 until the collapse of the Soviet Union - Afghanistan, Iran/Iraq, Vietnam, Korea, San Salvador, Cuba, etc. And the times when the Cold War came close to getting hot.


Xboxmaster
There will never likely be peace in the middle east and their problems have gone on long before we were a country or hell even an idea.
To sit here and pretend we know whats best and unilaterlly accept a mass military attack on Lebanon and watch its people become refugees will do nothing to help spread goodwill and hope for peace.
All in one breath telling us that we can’t settle the differences in the middle east, and that we’re accepting the military attack on Lebannon?
Which is it spanky? That we can’t fix it at all, or that we ought to step in and prevent this ’attack’ you’re talking about?
We either know enough to fix it or not. So pick.
If we go in, then we’re presuming we know something about fixing it aren’t we?
How many wars do you professed war hawks have to fight only to see that all the bombs, bullets, and economic embargos are no match for the greatest weapon of all, the human spirit.
Which spirit are you talking about here - the one that goes to the shopping mall in Tel-aviv to buy a new shirt, or the one that walks into the same mall with 30 lbs of explosives and a detenator under their shirt trying to make a bloody statement about their human spirit and their lack love for their fellow (joooooooooooish) man (not to mention any Israeli-Arabs who happen to be in close proximity like those kids killed the other day in Nazareth by Hezbollah rockets)?
Some here might think wiping out a whole group of people who disagree is the answer. History pals is not now or will ever be on your side.
Oh, you mean like the Muslim states that have decreed that Israel ought to be destroyed?
Let me ask you geniusus something, what happens when your enemy no longer wants peace when you are ready for it?
Hey sparky, this is a question you ought to be asking to the Lebannese who voted for Hezbollah and the Palestinians who voted for Hamas, not us.
I’m all for peace, but I’m not much for watching the Jews get a second try at holocaust.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://

 
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