The Iraq War Was not a Mistake

As I noted before, the MSM is asking the GOP Presidential candidates the question, and the GOP candidates are all blowing it – the most recent entrant in the “Get It Wrong With a Gotcha” is Marco Rubio. I realize that the Iraq War is now the most unpopular thing which ever happened, ever, but that still doesn’t make it a mistake. At least in Rubio’s case, the question was honestly posed by Chris Wallace – it was more of, “granted that Bush believed it was the right thing to do then, do you believe it was the right thing to do now?”. The answer to that is an unequivocal “yes”.

Invading Iraq was the right thing to do in 2003. This doesn’t mean it was the only possible course of action open to us. But something had to be done about Saddam’s regime and we had the power to do it. Sure, you can go back and say we should have started arming rebels and sending Special Forces in to work the overthrow of the Saddam regime. Probably would have worked – but who would we have been arming? The people who now make up ISIS? Good chance we would have. One thing I think we’ve all learned is that arming Muslim rebels very often means arming the next set of problems. We could also have left Saddam alone – and now we’d be worrying about an Iraqi nuke along with an Iranian nuke – along with untold number of other problems a Saddam regime would have stirred up over the past 12 years. Among the possible options, President Bush choose invasion – and he was right to do so. And our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fought with splendid devotion and courage and secured a victory for the United States, and the world. The victory was thrown away by our current President, but that doesn’t make Bush’s decision wrong, nor the sacrifices of our military in vain.

Winston Churchill in his book about World War One – The World Crisis – asserted that it is unfair to criticize someone for actions taken in the past unless the same substantial criticism was made to the decision-maker prior to the decision being made. Unless you’ve got someone from 2003 saying that the liberation of Iraq would result in a 5 year counter-insurgency operation – and showing how you know it would happen and what forces would be involved – then you’ve got no criticism to make about the decision to go into Iraq. You may use the Iraq war as a reason for, say, not going into Syria in 2015, but you can’t use knowledge gained in 2004 to condemn a decision made in 2003.

In human affairs, there is no “correct” answer in that a decision can be made which will 100% work out correctly all the time. Everything is a judgement – a balance of risks against rewards. A wise man hesitates before making a decision – but once the decision is made, moves with celerity to carry it out. And once made, all one can do is the best he or she can. Criticize and condemn the Iraq war all you wish – but to call it a mistake in the sense of “Bush should have known better in 2003” is to presume to impossible knowledge.

17 thoughts on “The Iraq War Was not a Mistake

  1. Retired Spook May 20, 2015 / 8:27 am

    Saddam was a really bad actor — there’s no denying that, but a lot of us (and I include myself in this group) who thought it was a noble effort to help establish a democratic ally in the heart of the Middle East didn’t reaize just how fragmented the Iraqi population was/is. Saddam had always kept them in line, albeit by slaughtering those who got out of line. In hindsight, the two BIG mistakes were not advocating for a more effective leader than al-Maliki and not leaving a security force behind in 2011. Turns out Joe Biden’s idea of dividing Iraq into thirds (Kurd, Shia and Sunni) wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

    • Cluster May 20, 2015 / 10:42 am

      Mistakes are a given. Vietnam was a mistake. Somalia was a mistake. There is no perfect foreign policy and given the intel at the time and Saddam’s proven use of chemical weapons in the past, deposing his reign over Iraq was certainly justified. I would like to ask Hillary this question – knowing what you know now, would you support removing troops from Iraq? Hillary has made three mistakes in respect to Iraq; she first supported the effort and was a leading voice to depose Saddam, she then bent with the political wind and opposed the surge saying that it required a “willing suspension of disbelief” to consider it a success (which it was), and then she supported the premature and disastrous withdrawal from the region.

      Strike three – she’s out

      • M. Noonan May 20, 2015 / 11:48 am

        In that sense, yes – a mistake. Everything is a mistake to a certain degree, even the most successful efforts.

    • M. Noonan May 20, 2015 / 12:22 pm

      Biden did take a lot of grief for his partition plan but, as it turns out, I figured that was the best solution – knowing that Iraq was a mere administrative convenience for British rule, I figured that it should be broken up into its ethnic components…even if that meant the Shia areas eventually falling under Iranian rule (which they had been in the past, until the Ottoman Turks conquered those areas from Iran). When Bush decided to go for a unified Iraq, I had my doubts but that was the plan the President wanted so I just hoped for the best, going with my theory that, in the end, what most people want most of the time is to be left alone to live their lives…and just maybe Sunnis, Shias, Kurds, Assyrians, etc could come together in some sort of confederation called Iraq. Didn’t work out that way because, apparently, once the U.S. lid was off, the Shias of Iraq decided it was payback time against the Sunnis who had had it relatively well under Saddam’s rule. Had we kept the U.S. lid on longer then perhaps it might have worked – we’ll never know, now.

      My basic idea for all of the Middle East is a complete re-carve up based upon ethnic realities…some might be jumbled together in something like the Switzerland – Cantons with maximum internal autonomy, but a unified nation for defense and foreign policy purposes…but I envision quite a lot of very small nations.

  2. Cluster May 20, 2015 / 4:51 pm

    Off Topic but just too rich not to mention. People would prefer to pay taxes rather than sign up for Obamacare – that’s how popular that program is. In fact during a “special enrollment” period in Hawaii – ZERO people signed up:

    The Obama administration had implemented the special enrollment period from March 15 – April 30 to assist individuals who were unaware they would face a tax penalty for not having “qualifying” health insurance. In all, less than 250,000 individuals decided to enroll nationwide meaning that millions of Americans would rather pay the tax than enroll in Obamacare.

    Speaking of Obamacare – my monthly premium just went up AGAIN. I have had the same plan since 2006 but I am now paying more than twice what I use to pay. Good times.

  3. Cluster May 20, 2015 / 5:12 pm

    And even more unfortunate news for the progressive political agenda:

    Updated data from NASA satellite instruments reveal the Earth’s polar ice caps have not receded at all since the satellite instruments began measuring the ice caps in 1979. Since the end of 2012, moreover, total polar ice extent has largely remained above the post-1979 average. The updated data contradict one of the most frequently asserted global warming claims – that global warming is causing the polar ice caps to recede.

    • M. Noonan May 20, 2015 / 6:41 pm

      The whole thing was cooked up – and I’m pretty confident deliberately in the origin. I remember from many years ago an Environmentalist leader being quoted saying that they’d have to lie to get their agenda across…lie about doom and gloom scenarios. I’m figuring that AGW was the lie that some enviros decided upon and then the whole pack of them ran with it…being very clever in ensuring that if you backed it, government money would flow to you.

      • Cluster May 20, 2015 / 8:15 pm

        And there’s been a lot of government money passed around. I think it was in 2002 that Al Gore said that the Arctic ice cap would be gone in 10 years, and he and other people in the movement have been lying ever since.

      • Retired Spook May 20, 2015 / 10:14 pm

        I remember from many years ago an Environmentalist leader being quoted saying that they’d have to lie to get their agenda across…lie about doom and gloom scenarios.

        Not “leader” — LEADERS.

        “The common enemy of humanity is man.
        In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up
        with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming,
        water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. All these
        dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through
        changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome.
        The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
        – Club of Rome,
        premier environmental think-tank,
        consultants to the United Nations


        “We need to get some broad based support,
        to capture the public’s imagination…
        So we have to offer up scary scenarios,
        make simplified, dramatic statements
        and make little mention of any doubts…
        Each of us has to decide what the right balance
        is between being effective and being honest.”
        – Prof. Stephen Schneider,
        Stanford Professor of Climatology,
        lead author of many IPCC reports


        “We’ve got to ride this global warming issue.
        Even if the theory of global warming is wrong,
        we will be doing the right thing in terms of
        economic and environmental policy.”
        – Timothy Wirth,
        President of the UN Foundation


        “No matter if the science of global warming is all phony…
        climate change provides the greatest opportunity to
        bring about justice and equality in the world.”
        – Christine Stewart,
        former Canadian Minister of the Environment


        “The data doesn’t matter. We’re not basing our recommendations
        on the data. We’re basing them on the climate models.”
        – Prof. Chris Folland,
        Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research


        “The models are convenient fictions
        that provide something very useful.”
        – Dr David Frame,
        climate modeler, Oxford University


        “I believe it is appropriate to have an ‘over-representation’ of the facts
        on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.”
        – Al Gore,
        Climate Change activist


        “It doesn’t matter what is true,
        it only matters what people believe is true.”
        – Paul Watson,
        co-founder of Greenpeace


        “The only way to get our society to truly change is to
        frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”
        – emeritus professor Daniel Botkin


        There’s not a corner of Hell hot enough to house these bastards.

      • M. Noonan May 21, 2015 / 12:29 am

        And all of the leaders of the left are like that – they simply must lie to advance their cause because the truth demonstrates that their cause is wrong.

        Now, why do that? Why retain a cause which the facts demonstrate to be false? Primarily I think it is because a sub-set of the human population desires control above all else…as they can’t get control by telling the truth, they subscribe to the lies which justify their control. I, for one, don’t believe that people like Lenin and Hitler actually believed a word they said…Toland, in his biography of Hitler, hits upon a very important point in understanding Hitler…when he was a young layabout in Vienna, he noted to a friend that advertising, properly done, can get you anywhere…he was convinced that if he had the resources to set it up, he could sell a “product” which made windows unbreakable…you just had to find the right way to tell your lie. And he was right – think of all the utter nonsense people believe just because someone official-sounding says it. Over at Ace tonight, they’ve got a chart showing the studies which show that meat and coffee and wine will kill you…and showing the studies which show they won’t. Are any of them true? Doubtful. But people just eat that stuff up – like Kraft changing their recipe for their Mac n Cheese because some un-educated nitwit started a social media campaign against the dye they use.

        On and on it goes – our society is awash in lies spread by people who want something they can’t get if they spoke the truth…

      • Cluster May 21, 2015 / 7:49 am

        “It doesn’t matter what is true,
        it only matters what people believe is true.”
        – Paul Watson,
        co-founder of Greenpeace

        The quote above sums up the entire Democrat agenda. The war on women, war on the poor, war on gays, mass incarceration, etc., etc., are all manufactured crisis’s that the over emotional and under informed liberal base believe to be true.

      • Retired Spook May 21, 2015 / 7:52 am

        Why retain a cause which the facts demonstrate to be false?

        H. L. Mencken said it best:

        “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.”

      • Retired Spook May 21, 2015 / 8:05 am

        One of the most interesting and telling aspects of the Left’s lies about global warming was when they started calling it climate change because the actual data didn’t line up with the models. The only problem with that is that their whole solution was to get away from a carbon-based society because an increasing level of CO2 was warming the planet. Even though they blame some of the recent harsh winters we’ve had (Europe two or three years ago and the American Midwest the last two) on climate change, their solution is still to reduce the miniscule compound in the atmosphere that makes it warmer — and, as an added bonus, makes plants grow faster. Just another example of a one-size-fits-all, big government solution.

  4. Count d'Haricots (@Count_dHaricots) May 21, 2015 / 5:56 pm

    Would YOU have invaded Iraq knowing what you know now?

    We wouldn’t know what we know now if we had known then that now knowing meant we’d know we didn’t need to know we were going to be accused of not knowing.

    But we didn’t know and had we knot known before we knew we were going to invade Iraq then we would have already known that.

    But, imagine what we would know now if we had known then what we now know was unknowable to know then – much less now.

    Sure, but did we know them in the Biblical sense?

    Ya know?

    • M. Noonan May 21, 2015 / 10:58 pm

      I don’t know.

    • Retired Spook May 21, 2015 / 10:06 pm

      The Shadow knows.

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