Skip to comments.Missed opportunities in Iraq By Madeleine K. Albright
Posted on 01/26/2005 7:44:03 AM PST by edcoil
One yearns to believe Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld when he says that "just having elections in Iraq is an enormous success and a victory." The sad truth is that it is not.
In the democratic symphony, elections are but a single note. An election that produces more of the same, or possibly even worse, will mean neither success nor victory.
Not everything in Iraq is bleak. The majority of the country is relatively peaceful. Millions of Iraqis are enthusiastic about finally having the right to vote. Thousands have braved threats to help organize and monitor the balloting. The elections should be honest. Though voting in some areas will be too dangerous, the winners will still have more legitimacy than any Iraqi government in history. They will have a mandate to write a constitution and prepare for the election of a permanent government at year's end.
Despite this, the elections Sunday may prove to be yet another "turning point" that leaves us right where we started. We have been promised breakthroughs before: the battle of Baghdad, the death of Saddam Hussein's sons, the capture of the dictator himself, the end of "the occupation," the creation of an interim Iraqi government, the attack on Fallujah and now, election day. And yet, the security situation steadily deteriorates. The elections, though cause for pride, seem unlikely to change what needs changing. Will it slow the Sunni-led insurgency? Will it soften Iraqi attitudes toward the United States? Will it prompt other countries to offer more help? In each case, the answer is doubtful.
No plan for success
It has long been obvious that the Bush administration lacks a viable plan for success in Iraq. The hardest political job drafting a constitution acceptable to all factions has not even begun. The "coalition," never robust, is shrinking. We have no military strategy that makes sense; civilian leaders have placed U.S. armed forces in an almost impossible position. America is by far the world's most powerful country, and yet the fate of its Iraq policy depends almost entirely on the goodwill of Iraq's most influential religious leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a Shiite Muslim cleric with a heart condition.
If the elections do not mark a decisive change, the administration may conclude that it has no more cards to play. In which case, it could well declare "mission accomplished" nonetheless and begin laying the groundwork for folding its hand.
What are the signs? Twenty months after the president declared an end to major combat operations, Rumsfeld has dispatched a four-star Army general to reassess the security situation. The administration has consistently rejected the advice of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to increase U.S. force levels to equal the mission. Because we lack sufficient power, each time the insurgency is attacked, it appears to gain strength. Intelligence experts worry that the conflict is spawning a new generation of international terrorists and that a flawed election could trigger civil war.
The breathtaking cost of the Iraqi conflict is draining the U.S. Treasury, jeopardizing the president's costly initiatives to reform the tax code and remake the Social Security system. Administration officials, such as Rumsfeld, have been quick to downplay the bad news and equate elections with victory and success. But if those accomplishments are already in hand, why must more Americans die?
Further, the elections will allow the president to argue that Iraqis have taken control of their own destiny, and that what they do with it is their own affair. The leading candidates in the election have pledged to work for the withdrawal of U.S. troops. If the United States starts to pull back, no Iraqi politician will dare ask it to stay.
The administration will not simply cut and run. A decent interval will be observed. The White House will need time to recondition public expectations. If it is Machiavellian enough, it will find a way to blame anti-war critics for emboldening the enemy such that phased withdrawal became the only option. The administration will blame allies for not doing more, the United Nations for inadequate election planning, Iran and Syria for fueling the violence and Iraqi security forces for refusing to kill other Iraqis. It will blame everyone except itself. And it will leave behind a deadly, unpredictable, combustible mess.
I hope I am wrong.
How to turn things around
As grim as the situation is, the United States should stay focused on how to achieve success in Iraq, not simply declare it. We owe that to our armed forces and to the Iraqis who believed in us. The bad guys in Iraq are truly bad and cannot be allowed to win. But to have any chance of turning things around, the administration must do what it has steadfastly refused to do admit mistakes; emphasize a political instead of a military strategy; do what it takes to secure the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors; hold senior officials accountable for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison and other blunders; and launch, finally, an economic reconstruction program that puts paychecks in Iraqi wallets and food in Iraqi stomachs.
The United States will not be in Iraq forever, though it may seem that way to our military families. It is reasonable to begin thinking about strategies for withdrawal. But it is critical that any plan be designed and carried out with ingredients missing from the administration's Iraq policy thus far honesty, foresight, competence and an accurate assessment of how Iraqis will respond. Perhaps then we will truly be able to talk about "enormous success" in Iraq.
Madeleine K. Albright was secretary of State during President Clinton's second term in office.
The only opportunity we missed there was not having women in combat--failing to have Maddy the Marxist Mouth serve America on advance mine-detection duty....
STFU Madeline. She's just po'd because Bush had the stones to do in the first two years of his administration what Clinton would/could not do in 8 years in office.
Barf Alert is your friend.
She was one of those sharp knives in Clinton's drawer's. No pun intended!
Her opposition to the Iraq policy confirms it's validity.
Bush is achieving everything she said was not possible.
Just another Liberal who's own policies have proved to be failures.
That's her real problem here, she's been shown to be wrong, again.
But to have any chance of turning things around, the administration must do what it has steadfastly refused to do admit mistakes....
This is really all the leftists want -- FOR BUSH TO ADMIT MISTAKES --- so they can say "SEE WE TOLD YOU SO"...just more garbage from the bottom-feeding left.
Bitch! If this public official had spent less time giving her boss's shoes a spit polish with her tongue, we'd have likely been spared having to take most of the actions that she's complaining about now. Everly Clinton official should be scorned for the rubish they were in office.
Yep, to the Dems, it's the results of the election that matter, not the will of the voters - which they have shown time and time again in this country. Why would Iraq be any different?
The left is so angry that Bush isn't the miscreant Clinton was/is. They are desperate to nail him on anything.
It took much longer for this country to draft it's final constitution, from the time that the Revolutionary War ended.
Maddy Albright, you are irrelevant!
Try a salad, Mad!
"But to have any chance of turning things around, the administration must do what it has steadfastly refused to do admit mistakes; emphasize a political instead of a military strategy; do what it takes to secure the cooperation of Iraq's neighbors;..."
Which neighbors of Iraq might that be?
This whole article is a bunch of B.S.
Someone please tell me what Madeline Albrights claim to fame wasas Secretary of State, What great opportunity did she ever take advantage of except to get a paycheck ever two weeks?
The Articles of Confederation didn't take root. America is a failure. Vomit.
Albrights biggest accomplishment as SOS was creating a small discussion about broachs.
The left is so angry that Bush isn't the miscreant Clinton was/is. They are desperate to nail him on anything.
Exactly. The left is still trying to justify the reprobate behavior of Clinton, and Bush simply flies in their criminal faces --- they cannot stand it!!! The big spot light in the sky is on the crooked left, and they are running like cockroaches from the light...
Oh I think her coming out of the White House assuring the nation Clintons hadn't had an afair with Monica, ranks right up there. What a pathetic POS that woman is.
FREEPER ARTIST OF THE DAY AWARD!
Maddy is trying to be profound here. But instead of lecturing the public about the limitations of elections, she should tell her buddy Jimmy Carter. He just loves to certify elections in places like Sandanistan Nicaragua, Haiti, and Chavez' Venezuala. Places where the winners get to arrest the losers with impunity. Those abuses are not likely to happen in Iraq with 120,000 US troops on the ground.
What!!! You're being downright unfair. There is no way a Cabinet Member would . . . uhhh . . . lie to the American people. They . . .
(geedee's conscience to a gullible geedee) . . . "Ssshhh. Think before you leap. THIS is a Clintonite you're talking about. A Pee Wee Clinton appointee!
(geedee) . . . They wouldn't purposefully . . . uhhhh . . .
(geedee's conscience) . . . Think before you speak, dumb*ss. Check this out first . . .
Cabinet members were sent out in public to express confidence in Clinton's denial. "I believe the allegations are completely untrue," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said then. "I'll second that. Definitely," said Commerce Secretary William Daley. "Third it," said Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala.
(geedee, properly chastened) . . . Okay, okay, Doughty, I apologize. She's a lying skank with the IQ of a lava rock.
(geedee's conscience) . . . Good boy. Now back to the Goodship Lollipop for you.
Oh yeah that Bill Clinton, he didn't surround himself with yes men like President Bush.
Maddy Maddy Maddy, where to start with this tripe. You are suddenly concerned that the mission in Iraq will seem like it is forever to "our military families." Where was this concern with the mission to Kosovo?
Maddy, you lament that Iraq is "draining our national treasury" at the expense of Bush's "costly" tax reform and Soc security reform initiatives. First off, thank you for repeating the DNC talking points. But you sort of slipped up. See, your statement implies that you are lamenting that there is not enough money for tax reform and soc. security reform. Sure, and pigs fly. You could care a less about anything but funding the UN so they can continue to enable dictators, thugs and tyrants.
Maddy, you hope and pray elections in Iraq fail. You want them to fail because it clearly is a victory for the Bush administration's policy. That is of paramount importance to you Maddy because every Bush admin. success highlights your failures, see for example, North Korea.
Maddy, you and the rest of the leftists in this country can't stand that Iraq is going well. You take the challenges we face there and, with the able aid of the Tired Old Media, turn them into failures. You take the fact that, and this is a REAL SHOCK, Al Queda is opposing free elections, as a sign that elections will NOT work and are worthless. Oh my God, you mean our enemy in this war is opposing us, shocking and unheard of!!. Oops, I forgot, according to you this is not a war at all. Terrorism should be treated as a law enforcement action, its threat is overblown. Sorry about that.
Anyway, you and leftists reaction and actions, they aren't exactly what Al Queda wants, are they? Naaahh, not good ole Al Queada and Sweet Kind Saddam. Some one issue a warrant for those guy's arrest, get me the ACLU on the line and lets put up those inter agency walls again so we can blame Bush for the next 9/11 type attack. (Michael Moore, is that you?)
Maddy, I digress. It is truly pathetic, but predictable that you and the DNC supply Al Queda with exactly what they want. In short Maddy, you want and pray for America's failure, because it means Bush's failure. Bush's policy, and thus America, isn't failing and it is driving you and your traitorous friends on the left nuts.
Maddy, you were a disgracefully incompetenet Secretary of State. Your sole role was to provide photo ops for Mr. Clinton. As for being a true Sec. of State, if failure was to be rewarded, you would be in the Hall of Failure Fame. Maddy, let me make this clear to you, the elections in Iraq are an important step for the entire region where Islamofacism lives and breeds (you know, that lil problem you completely ignored as attack after attack on our troops, who you care soooo much about, happened). Elections help establish a democracy (that means freedom and that means opportunity) in a region that is otherwise devoid of such things. That means security at home.
P.S. Maddy, tell Teddy and the bunch that the Cost of Iraq/WMD/Abu Grahib act is wearing thin. Not more than a week ago Teddy proposed spending us into oblivion by turning us into Canada, i.e. weak and defenseless. At any rate, Teddy et. al. certainly were hawks when your boy was in office spouting about Iraqi WMD's. Now suddenly they were deceived when Bush made his case based upon the SAME intelligence. What, we the people can't do a Lexis Nexis search (that means actually finding out the truth without a Michael Moore/Air America filter) and see what they said back in the day. The voters certainly knew what John Kerry said about WMD's during the last election and they have spoken. Now Maddy, run along and keep those speaking engagements on the failure hall of fame circuit. Leave our national security to the grown ups who currently occupy the White House.
Maddy sobered up long enough to write this drivel?? Good for her.
Jocelyn Elders lecturing the Bush Administration on AIDS prevention?
Please pull the microphone out from under the big rock that has been hiding Madelaine Microbright!
Halfbright and Janet Reno....who wins the ugly contest ?
This article appears the same day as Rice is confirmed.
It must really burn Albrights biscuts that her fathers star student is going to be a FAR superior sec. of state than she ever was.
(Rice has already proven a better advisor. Remmeber Albright was mucking around europe on behalf of Kerry and the DNC to keep up the party gravitas)
MISSED and OPPORTUNITIES are not two words that should come out of the mouth of Madeline Albright!!!
Liberal revisionist politics...
1. There will never be elections in Iraq.
2. There will be elections in Iraq but they will have to be postponed.
3. There will be elections in Iraq and they will not have to be postponed but in the end they will mean nothing.
More rocks could be thrown but the target is of low value.
The only opportunity fat brite never missed was the one to stuff her repulsive face. Gag, what an ugly witch.
What's going on in Kosovo now?
LOL, you've got more energy than I do.
What a doofus.