Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Friday, February 24, 2006
On failure
Authentic conservative thinker William F. Buckley recently held forth on the "venal character of the vice president of the United States." Now, he's taking a shot at the U.S. "democracy" mission in Iraq. He long ago famously said of Iraq:
“With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn’t the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war.”
Now, Mr. Buckley has gone farther:
It Didn’t Work

"I can tell you the main reason behind all our woes — it is America." The New York Times reporter is quoting the complaint of a clothing merchant in a Sunni stronghold in Iraq. "Everything that is going on between Sunni and Shiites, the troublemaker in the middle is America."

One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.

Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.

The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren't on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors. And so they join the clothing merchant who says that everything is the fault of the Americans.

The Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, elucidates on the complaint against Americans. It is not only that the invaders are American, it is that they are "Zionists." It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others' throats. ...
There's more. Read it here.

This had to be a tough editorial for the neocons at National Review to reprint, but they can't exactly say no to their spiritual father. (They didn't feature the Buckley piece on the NRO web-site, of course. You have to do a search on the site to find it, while yet another gung ho article about how things are better in Iraq than they seem sits alone under the Iraq link...) The piece ends with these two devastating paragraphs:
Mr. Bush has a very difficult internal problem here because to make the kind of concession that is strategically appropriate requires a mitigation of policies he has several times affirmed in high-flown pronouncements. His challenge is to persuade himself that he can submit to a historical reality without forswearing basic commitments in foreign policy.

He will certainly face the current development as military leaders are expected to do: They are called upon to acknowledge a tactical setback, but to insist on the survival of strategic policies.

Yes, but within their own counsels, different plans have to be made. And the kernel here is the acknowledgment of defeat.

Meanwhile, why should the American people give Mr. Bush another $75 million to try out his absurd democracy experiment in Iran, the one in Iraq having gone so badly?

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posted by JReid @ 7:32 PM  
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