|Hawks who learned nothing|
|by Matt Duss||Mon, Jan 2, 2012, 03:17 PM|
This month, after almost nine years that left 4,484 American soldiers and well over 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead, the
As my colleague Peter Juul and I noted in our recent report on the war’s costs, The Iraq War Ledger, the end of former
While these questions will doubtless continue to be debated into the future, the holiday season and the New Year are an appropriate time to move beyond the rifts that so divided our country over this war.
But before we do, let’s take a moment to remember some of the people who got the Iraq War completely wrong. This is important not only as a historical matter, but also because many of these same people are now calling for escalation against
It’s worth noting that a lot of people got various things wrong about
Bill Kristol, Editor, the Weekly Standard
It tells you a lot about the neocon Don that “Sarah Palin as John McCain’s VP” is not the dumbest thing he’s ever advocated. Kristol’s ability to be consistently wrong on the most important issues of the day is matched only by his refusal to ever cop to it (though the fact that he shut down the Project for the New American Century — the neocon letterhead most closely associated with the Iraq debacle — and rebooted it in 2009 as the Foreign Policy Initiative at least shows that he recognized that he had a branding problem).
It’s probably impossible to catalog all of Kristol’s incorrect assertions about Iraq, but surely one of the most representative is this dismissive response to war critics in 2003: “I think there’s been a certain amount of, frankly, a kind of pop sociology in America that, you know, somehow the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime.”
Soon after, of course,
Kristol has been calling for escalation against
Charles Krauthammer, columnist, the Washington Post
In April 2002, Krauthammer responded to critics who noted the absence of Iraqi WMDs, “Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.” Indeed. April 22 is now observed as “Krauthammer Day,” on which Americans are encouraged to pause to consider his credibility problem.
Krauthammer responded angrily to the U.S withdrawal, declaring that “Obama lost
Reule Marc Gerecht, senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Gerecht likes to joke that he talks about bombing Iran so much that “even my mother thinks I’ve gone too far,” which is funny because thousands of people will die.
Back in 2002, Gerecht dismissed as “unfounded” the idea that a war with
Gerecht’s understanding of the workings of power in the
Gerecht has also claimed that bombing
Danielle Pletka, vice president, the American Enterprise Institute
An early backer of Iraqi confidence man Ahmad Chalabi — whom Pletka accused the U.S. of “betraying” when it was revealed that Chalabi had passed classified information to his friends in the Iranian government — Pletka helped make AEI into a key player behind the Iraq invasion.
When the war went bad, Pletka classily blamed … the Iraqis themselves, for not appreciating freedom enough. “Looking back, I felt secure in the knowledge that all who yearn for freedom, once free, would use it well,” Pletka wrote in 2008. “I was wrong. There is no freedom gene, no inner guide that understands the virtues of civil society, of secret ballots, of political parties.”
Pletka declared herself in agreement with recent Iranian propaganda that the
“What I’m saying is not propaganda,” Halevi shot back. “The danger is in believing the propaganda of others.”
Max Boot, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick senior fellow for national security studies, Council on Foreign Relations
“The debate about whether Saddam Hussein was implicated in the September 11 attacks misses the point,” Boot wrote — on Oct. 15, 2001. “Who cares if Saddam was involved in this particular barbarity?”
Once Saddam was removed, Boot continued, “We can impose an American-led, international regency in
Initially a huge fan of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “New American Way of War,” Boot scoffed at those who suggested that “the war could last months and result in thousands of casualties” or “that Rumsfeld had placed the invasion in jeopardy by not sending enough troops.”
Years later, Boot lamented the size of the force that had been sent into
Urging President George W. Bush not to be swayed by antiwar protests in 2003, Boot wrote, “When the demands of protesters have been met, more bloodshed has resulted; when strong leaders have resisted the lure of appeasement, peace has usually broken out.”
Similarly railing against appeasement of
Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent, the
Goldberg wins the award for the single most condescending/most incorrect claim by an Iraq War supporter. In a Slate symposium on
In regard to
Harold Rhode, senior advisor to Hudson Institute
A lesser-known player in the lead-up to the Iraq war (he worked in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment), Rhode recently authored a piece for the Hudson Institute in which he claimed that “there would be no reason for this Iranian regime not to use -– or threaten to use — [nuclear] weapons against the Sunni Muslims and their oil fields, and against Iran’s non-Muslim enemies in Europe, the US, Israel and beyond” because, according to Rhode, Iranians believe “their Imam would come and save them.”
As I’ve written elsewhere, the idea that the Iranian regime, by virtue of its Shiite ideology, is uniquely immune to the cost-benefit calculations that underpin a conventional theory of deterrence is one unsupported by evidence. But Rhode’s claim is not out of character when one considers that he was also a supporter of perhaps the single most bizarre idea about how to handle post-invasion
A bit of history: the British installed the Hashemite monarchy in
In order for
Originally appeared in Salon.com.
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