April 7, 2010

After the Surge, judging the Iraq Invasion

A discussion of whether the Surge worked in Iraq. Abu Muqawama argues that the Surge
did work, contrary to blogists like Andy Sullivan and Thomas E. Ricks. Muqawama says the
war was stupid, but the Surge worked.

I can understand the conclusion that the Iraq invasion was stupid, and the cost in lives
high, but....
We don't know how many Iraqis would have died if Saddam Hussein were still in power.
Or how many children would be deprived of medical care. How many Iraqis would die in
prison and be tortured (and I'm not talking of panties on the head). We don't know
how long the U.S. would have maintained the No Fly Zone, protecting the Kurds in the
North and Shia in the South from hellfire from above. We don't know if Saddam Hussein
would activate his chemical factories and possibly nuclear technology after the inspectors
left the country. We don't know what terrorism outside the borders of Iraq that Hussein
would bankroll. We don't know the numbers of UN officials Hussein would have bribed.
We don't know the extent to which nations and their industries would have dealt with
Hussein's dictatorship. And we don't know how long Hussein could have maintained
his dictatorship and how many deaths would happen with his downfall. And we don't know
what organization would take control after Hussein. Al Qaeda? Iran? More Baathists?
Or if Iraq's neighbors would have invaded. We don't know yet if establishing a democracy
in Iraq was a turning point in the war against al Qaeda, the Wahabis and the Ayatollah.
This drama is still unfolding, and the historians will have a different view than the majority
of contemporaries in media.

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