|Elsewhere in Washington, the blame game has already begun. “This is the education of Barack Obama, but it’s coming at a very high cost to the Syrian people to the Iraqi people, to the American national interest,” Doug Feith, the Under-secretary of Defense for Policy from 2001 to 2005, told Politico. “The President didn’t take seriously the warnings of what would happen if we withdrew and he liked the political benefits of being able to say that we’re completely out.” Senator John McCain, whom the President telephoned on Friday, has called on Obama to fire his entire national-security team, claiming, “Could all of this have been avoided? The answer is absolutely yes.”
McCain is right; it could have been avoided. If, in the aftermath of 9/11, President George W. Bush had treated the arguments of Feith, McCain, and other advocates of the Iraq War with the disdain they deserved, we (and the Iraqis) wouldn’t be where we are today.
If, in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion, Paul Bremer, the American proconsul in Baghdad, and his boss, Donald Rumsfeld, had not decided to disband Saddam’s army, the one institution that somewhat unified the country, the Iraqi state would be stronger. If, in addition, Bremer and Rumsfeld had ordered enough U.S. troops onto the streets to preserve order, then Iraq might (and it’s only a might) have held together peacefully instead of degenerating into sectarianism, anarchy, and violence.
If Prime Minister Maliki, whom the United States eventually settled on as its favored Iraqi leader, had made a serious effort to reach out to the Sunnis and the Kurds, rather than acting like a sectarian ward heeler, the departure of U.S. forces might not have created the political stalemate and institutional power vacuum that the jihadis, first in Anbar Province and now in Nineveh and Saladin, have exploited.
None of these things happened, but the greatest mistake was the initial one. […]
The Iraq invasion and occupation was ill-conceived, ill-executed, and ill-fated. It had terrible consequences not just for Iraq but for many other countries. It illustrated the limits of American military power—the opposite of what it was intended to do—and it helped accomplish what Osama bin Laden could never have achieved on his own: drawing the United States and its allies into an open-ended global battle with militant Islam. When you hear Feith and other architects of the Iraq invasion criticizing Obama for cutting and running, it is well to remember that.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—From the Pit of Hell:
|If you want to dispose of hazardous waste in the US, despite an EPA gutted by the Bush administration, you'll have to follow extensive regulations. Paperwork must be completed and approved, the waste will be poured down a deep injection well, or buried under tons of earth in abandoned mines. It will have to be managed and monitored by highly trained, expensive specialists and inspected by third party officials, making it a time consuming, costly project. But if you're a contractor in Iraq or Afghanistan, you can bypass all those silly safety procedures and make a bundle doing it:
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