American Proscenium

The Iraq Quagmire

The lies and distortions surrounding the stated rationale for the war against Iraq now appear crude, clumsy, and embarrassing.  While it would have been unrealistic to expect Messrs. Bush, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz to display Bismarckian finesse in setting up Saddam Hussein, six months after the war was declared over, their actions should be judged by the objective criteria that have not changed since the Iron Chancellor’s days: Has the operation made the United States more or less powerful, affluent, respected, and secure?  While no final answer can be given until all U.S. troops have been withdrawn from Iraq, the longer that withdrawal is postponed, the more likely it is that the verdict will be negative.

In terms of the “War on Terror,” Iraq is a fiasco.  The war against Saddam Hussein—planned and desired by its executors long before September 11—was made possible by the terrorist attacks two years ago.  In addition, it was partly justified by the claim—notably emanating from the Pentagon’s Office of Special Planning—that Saddam had links to Osama bin Laden and other terrorists.  The claim was false: Iraq under Saddam did not maintain such links, and she was not a terrorist threat to the United States.  One unintended but predictable consequence of the war and occupation has been Iraq’s rapid conversion into a breeding ground for homegrown terrorists...

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