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Iraq War Architects Shrug Off Truth
Townhall.com ^ | May 2, 2008 | Diana West

Posted on 05/02/2008 5:54:41 PM PDT by rmlew

So there I was, listening to a few of the major "architects" of the war in Iraq -- Paul Wolfowitz, formerly No. 2 man at the Pentagon under Donald Rumsfeld; Douglas J. Feith, formerly No. 3 man at the Pentagon under Rumsfeld; Peter Rodman, another former senior adviser to Rumsfeld; and Dan Senor, former senior adviser to Paul Bremer of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). They had assembled at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., for a discussion of Feith's new book, "War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism," but what they were drawn to discuss was what went wrong with the war in Iraq.

A rather large topic. Would it cover, perhaps, such grand themes as the multicultural Big Lie that insists Western ways may be grafted -- presto! -- onto Islamic cultures? Or maybe the difficulties inherent in the Western-style, humane projection of power against seventh-century terrorist barbarians?

No.

The main discussion I heard turned more or less on one extremely narrow point of historic contention. It concerned the CPA rule of Iraq, which came to an end almost exactly four years ago. Wolfowitz and Feith, and Rodman to a less explicit degree, agreed that this period of American governance -- that is, the interlude before Iraq officially became sovereign -- was the fatal flaw, the fly in the ointment, the monkey wrench, the skunk at the garden party, the bad penny and overall cause of all of America's troubles in Iraq. It wasn't the overweening Bush administration plan for Jeffersonizing the Fertile Crescent, or our leaders' misreading of the "democratic ally" potential therein. It was the 14-month-reign of the CPA that caused all our woes. The CPA, the argument goes, in effect created the Sunni insurgency, which later gave rise to the Sunni-Shiite wars, and which ultimately required the added infusion of American troops known as the surge.

If I'm following this theory correctly, there is absolutely nothing in Iraqi history, politics, religion, sectarianism or culture that manifested itself in the bloody insurgency that followed the removal of Saddam Hussein. According to Feith & Co., it was only the American face on (and muscle behind) initial efforts to bring order, civil society and air conditioning to Iraq that made the newly ejected-from-power Sunnis (and others) organize, shoot, stab, blow up, maim and make violence a fact of Iraqi life to this day, four years into Iraqi sovereignty.

This sounds a bit like the asinine theory that tells us U.S. foreign policy made 19 jihadists attack us on 9/11. But isn't there also something a little goofy about the notion that if only the United States hadn't run an occupation government for a year, everything in Iraq would be hunky-dory? Not surprisingly, the CPA's Senor didn't agree with the Feithian proposition, arguing that the lack of a U.S. counterinsurgency strategy was a bigger problem. He didn't get much argument that this was a problem; indeed, Wolfowitz agreed the United States was, as he put it a trifle breezily, "pretty much clueless on counterinsurgency."

The classic clueless moment, however, came later in answer to a question from the floor: Did the administration ever tell Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia to bar combatants from crossing their borders into Iraq -- or else? And if not ("not" is clearly the answer since these borders have been Grand Central Station for jihadists), why not? Wolfowitz owned up that the United States had said something or other at some point, but, overall, the consensus on the dais came down to a big, shrugging non-answer.

I got one of those answers myself, at least from Feith. I asked: What did these gentlemen think the United States would ultimately get out of Iraq in exchange for our massive investment of blood and treasure? And had they learned anything to make them doubt the president's often-repeated promise that Iraq would become an "ally" in the "war on terror"? Shrug. Not interested in answering.

Looking back, there was a narrowness in the scope of discussion that time constraints alone can't explain. It was as though the men believed every clue to heartbreak in Iraq could be found in the chain of events as they had already occurred -- in papers already generated, debates already argued, rounds of infighting already waged, decisions already executed. In other words, to these men, there would seem to be nothing new worth pondering -- like, for instance, the havoc Islamic ways wreak on Western-style nation-building.

Shrug.

Diana West is a contributing columnist for Townhall.com and author of the new book, The Death of the Grown-up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: dansenor; dianawest; dod; feith; iraq; liberalism; neocons; wilsonianism; wolfowitz
Res Ipsa Loquitur
1 posted on 05/02/2008 5:54:41 PM PDT by rmlew
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To: rmlew

All I can glean from that giberish?

It appears Diana needs to get laid.


2 posted on 05/02/2008 6:02:34 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Crim
I had a hard time figuring out the essence of this composition as well. The last word probably sums up Diana's message she tried to convey.

It appears Diana needs to get laid.

Isn't Wolfowitz single again?

3 posted on 05/02/2008 6:04:55 PM PDT by SolidWood
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To: Crim
All I can glean from that giberish?
It appears Diana needs to get laid.


And you need to grow up and work on your reading comprehension skills.
4 posted on 05/02/2008 6:05:45 PM PDT by rmlew (Don't Blame me. I voted for Hunter.)
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To: dennisw; Alouette; Paleo Conservative

Ping


5 posted on 05/02/2008 6:06:31 PM PDT by rmlew (Don't Blame me. I voted for Hunter.)
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To: rmlew

All I can glean from that giberish?
It appears Diana needs to get laid.

“And you need to grow up and work on your reading comprehension skills.”

Sorry..too busy getting laid.


6 posted on 05/02/2008 6:10:18 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Crim

>>
All I can glean from that giberish?

It appears Diana needs to get laid.
<<

That remark is moral giberish.


7 posted on 05/02/2008 6:20:11 PM PDT by theBuckwheat
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To: rmlew

btt


8 posted on 05/02/2008 6:32:53 PM PDT by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: Crim
My opinion is that she is trying to point out that the architects of the war thought that Iraqi's would react rationally to the overthrow of Saddam, but they did not and the reason they did not is tied more to Islam than to any local political issues. Should that be the case, then nation building in Islamic countries, unlike places like Germany or Japan, is doomed to failure.
9 posted on 05/02/2008 6:38:22 PM PDT by Old North State
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To: rmlew

Ah, Diana West. She’s been sour on the Iraq war for a long time now. Reading her columns has a kind of morbid fascination - what is the current doom and gloom on our war efforts?

That being said, I doubt Feith is entirely correct. I think that al Qaeda and the Baathists can be blamed for a great deal of the problems in post-Saddam Iraq. Al Qaeda had a strategy of inciting sectarian warfare in Iraq, and it may be that without their meddling sectarian violence never would have erupted the way it did. I’m not convinced that giving the Iraqis power immediately would have had such a chilling effect on al Qaeda terrorists - or disgruntled Baathists.

But we will never know what would have happened if the CPA was never created; we can only guess.


10 posted on 05/02/2008 6:41:45 PM PDT by Irish Rose (Will work for chocolate.)
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To: Old North State
Should that be the case, then nation building in Islamic countries, unlike places like Germany or Japan, is doomed to failure.

Look at Iraqi Kurdistan. Islam gets pushed back from political thinking, western democracy fills the void. It has a realistic chance, but it takes time... decades. Probably too long for the impatient "I want success now or never" American public. Iraq was under the most primitive and decadent tyranny for almost half a century. A lot has been achieved in 5 years.

11 posted on 05/02/2008 6:48:12 PM PDT by SolidWood
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To: theBuckwheat

“>>
All I can glean from that giberish?

It appears Diana needs to get laid.
<<

That remark is moral giberish.”

And yours is Moral snootyness...Otay butweet?

Put it this way..If I hadnt seen the scource and read the article..I would have assumed it came from MSMNC or the daily KOS...

You wanna go back in time and cry over spilt milf...er milk (feudian slip) be my guest....but understand...it’s generally considered a liberal trait.


12 posted on 05/02/2008 6:53:05 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Old North State

“My opinion is that she is trying to point out that the architects of the war thought that Iraqi’s would react rationally to the overthrow of Saddam, but they did not and the reason they did not is tied more to Islam than to any local political issues. Should that be the case, then nation building in Islamic countries, unlike places like Germany or Japan, is doomed to failure.”

Thank you Mr Obvious...I had no clue that’s what she is saying...

Der...

To put it more clearly...she’s a racist...she view’s the arab man as incapable of the gift of liberty...

Sorry..I dont see it that way.

That doesnt mean it’s going to be easy.


13 posted on 05/02/2008 6:56:07 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Crim
It appears Diana needs to get laid.

OK...guess someone has to do it...

14 posted on 05/02/2008 7:04:51 PM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Fire the CIA and hire the Free Clinic, someone who knows how to stop leaks.)
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To: Doctor Raoul

*snicker*

Duty calls....


15 posted on 05/02/2008 7:05:46 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Crim

LOL


16 posted on 05/02/2008 7:07:02 PM PDT by Doctor Raoul (Fire the CIA and hire the Free Clinic, someone who knows how to stop leaks.)
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To: Crim
Thank you Mr Obvious...I had no clue that’s what she is saying...

Your welcome for what you understood, but her concern is not with ‘Arab man’ as a race of some sort, but with Islamists, Muslims, followers of a 7th century religious creed that has never reconciled with the modern world and as such she hardly presents a racial issue and there is no reason to use the unthinking, catchall, epitaph ‘racist’.

17 posted on 05/02/2008 7:07:52 PM PDT by Old North State
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To: Irish Rose

I think that’s a good take on the article. West is right about some things, but her consistent insistence in denigrating Islamic culture as being “barbaric” and 6th century merely displays her ignorance of history, including the history of western culture—which itself was saved by the fact that Islamic scholars preserved so much of the classical culture that invigorated the Renaissance. But I digress.

You are correct to point to the Baathists as the main wellspring of problems in the early stages. Too many people miss the fact that the Baathists are, at root, anti-clerical and for the most part, National Socialists. They are little different from Nazis in terms of their views toward economics and society. They were the main players in the initial insurgency and opened the door (literally) to al-Qaeda when their “stay behind” operations were falling apart. I think there’s little doubt that the CPA was a mistake, if for no other reason than that it delayed a decisive elimination of the insurgency before it turned into a proxy war between the US and its regional enemies. I don’t think the Iranian play would have amounted to much either were it not for the fact that the CPA was so inept at dealing with the Baathist stay-behind operation. The US could have dealt Sadr a fatal blow in 2004 but chose not to in the mistaken belief that Sadr’s army might be of aid in the fight against the insurgency.

Democracy has taken root in Islamic nations at several junctures—it has been because of the misinformed, like West, that those efforts resulted in failure. By not nurturing nascent democracies in Iran, Lebanon, etc., in the 1950s, the US and Europe missed tremendous opporunities to transform international relations.

The current problems in Islamic nations, particularly Iraq and Syria, have far more to do with the invidious influence of French expatriates living in Damascus in the 1940s and 50s, who inspired so-called Arab nationalism, tinged, of course, with socialism. Islamic radicalism is largely a reaction against those influences.

That said, Iraq absolutely can be transformed into a democratic state. The fact that its democracy may not look like Main street is no more cause for distress than the fact that democracy in India (the largest democratic nation on earth) is somewhat different too.


18 posted on 05/02/2008 7:12:56 PM PDT by Ilya Mourometz
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To: rmlew
"Would it cover, perhaps, such grand themes as the multicultural Big Lie that insists Western ways may be grafted -- presto! -- onto Islamic cultures? Or maybe the difficulties inherent in the Western-style, humane projection of power against seventh-century terrorist barbarians?

I gather this is some sort of racist screed that Arabs are too stupid to do democracy.

I don't recall "presto," but I DO recall multiple iterations of "long, hard and difficult."

19 posted on 05/02/2008 8:10:12 PM PDT by cookcounty (Obama reach across the aisle? He's so far to the left, he'll need a roadmap to FIND the aisle.)
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To: Old North State

“Your welcome for what you understood, but her concern is not with ‘Arab man’ as a race of some sort, but with Islamists, Muslims, followers of a 7th century religious creed that has never reconciled with the modern world and as such she hardly presents a racial issue and there is no reason to use the unthinking, catchall, epitaph ‘racist’.”

Ok..Bigot if you prefer...

Question:

Is liberty itself simply a western value?

Something the dirty islamic barbarians just cant grasp?

Or is it a small minority that clings to power...power through ignorance...power through hatred...power through abuse of their fellow man...power through death and fear of the innocent?

I want you to think of something:

If the least of them is not worth our effort...who amongst us is worthy of our own liberty??

You?...Diana?

Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack....George S. Patton


20 posted on 05/02/2008 9:04:23 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: rmlew
It wasn't the overweening Bush administration plan for Jeffersonizing the Fertile Crescent, or our leaders' misreading of the "democratic ally" potential therein. It was the 14-month-reign of the CPA that caused all our woes. The CPA, the argument goes, in effect created the Sunni insurgency, which later gave rise to the Sunni-Shiite wars, and which ultimately required the added infusion of American troops known as the surge.

They are right. Go in, kick ass, control the place, and things fall in place later. She could say the same things about postwar Japan, yet after several years of American military governance, the place was as quiet as a titmouse. Would that Diana were.

21 posted on 05/02/2008 9:34:11 PM PDT by Defiant (McCain's big vein drains mainly from his brain.)
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To: Crim
Islamic terrorist are like thugs. They want their way or the highway. They will bully their way to power and once they get their create Sharia laws to help hold power.

What we are doing in Iraq seems to be stabilizing the rest of the Middle East. For example look at United Arab Emirates they are becoming more westernized everyday. My theory is that the extremist are to busy in Iraq and can not bully their way to power in other Middle East countries.

22 posted on 05/02/2008 10:00:28 PM PDT by Steve Van Doorn (*in my best Eric cartman voice* 'I love you guys')
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To: Steve Van Doorn

“Islamic terrorist are like thugs. They want their way or the highway. They will bully their way to power and once they get their create Sharia laws to help hold power.”

There is no doubt....

“What we are doing in Iraq seems to be stabilizing the rest of the Middle East. For example look at United Arab Emirates they are becoming more westernized everyday. My theory is that the extremist are to busy in Iraq and can not bully their way to power in other Middle East countries.”

Afganistan and Iraq drew the faithful by the score..... same as they die...

I dont really like all that much McCain...but he nailed it....

“This isnt a choice between war and peace....this is a choice between war and something much worse.


23 posted on 05/02/2008 10:14:59 PM PDT by Crim (Dont frak with the Zeitgeist....)
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To: Crim

Is liberty itself simply a western value?

Something the dirty islamic barbarians just cant grasp?

Bingo!!

Hank


24 posted on 05/03/2008 5:34:18 AM PDT by Hank Kerchief
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