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Sowell: A Bitter After-taste
Creators Syndicate ^ | June 17, 2014 | Thomas Sowell

Posted on 06/16/2014 8:28:29 AM PDT by jazusamo

The news from Iraq that Islamic terrorists have now taken over cities that American troops liberated during the Iraq war must have left an especially bitter after-taste to Americans who lost a loved one who died taking one of those cities, or to a survivor who came back without an arm or leg, or with other traumas to body or mind.

Surely we need to learn something from a tragedy of this magnitude.

Some say that we should never have gone into Iraq in the first place. Others say we should never have pulled our troops out when we did, leaving behind a weak and irresponsible government in charge.

At a minimum, Iraq should put an end to the notion of "nation-building," especially nation-building on the cheap, and to the glib and heady talk of "national greatness" interventionists who were prepared to put other people's lives on the line from the safety of their editorial offices.

Those who are ready to blame President George W. Bush for everything bad that has happened since he left office should at least acknowledge that he was a patriotic American president who did what he did for the good of the country — an assumption that we can no longer safely make about the current occupant of the White House.

If President Bush's gamble that we could create a thriving democracy in the Middle East — one of the least likely places for a democracy to thrive — had paid off, it could have been the beginning of a world-changing benefit to this generation and to generations yet unborn.

(Excerpt) Read more at creators.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: foreignpolicy; obama; sowell; thomassowell

1 posted on 06/16/2014 8:28:29 AM PDT by jazusamo
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2 posted on 06/16/2014 8:29:55 AM PDT by jazusamo (Sometimes I think that this is an era when sanity has become controversial: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

There was NO chance that this region could ever become peaceful and civilized. Lives, time and money were wasted in the vain hope that bearded savages could become peaceful, kind, tolerant, civilized, cultured and democratic.


3 posted on 06/16/2014 8:34:31 AM PDT by I want the USA back (Media: completely irresponsible. Complicit in the destruction of this country.)
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To: jazusamo

The lesson to the world is you cannot rely on the United States because eventually the Democrats will be in charge and stab you in the back.


4 posted on 06/16/2014 8:35:16 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Conservatism is the political disposition of grown-ups.)
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To: jazusamo

MFLR


5 posted on 06/16/2014 8:35:32 AM PDT by Rummyfan (Iraq: it's not about Iraq anymore, it's about the USA!)
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To: jazusamo
Some say that we should never have gone into Iraq in the first place.

DING! DING! DING!

6 posted on 06/16/2014 8:37:09 AM PDT by gdani (Every day, your Govt surveils you more than the day before)
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To: Jeff Chandler

Sad but true.


7 posted on 06/16/2014 8:37:13 AM PDT by jazusamo (Sometimes I think that this is an era when sanity has become controversial: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3168297/posts

From the above link:

These mujahadeen are incapable of maintaining the weapons they already have. Weapons need upkeep. Weapons have to be oiled, cleaned, and upgraded. Upkeep interferes with raping, pillaging, and chopping off heads. Within two years, they will be slaughtering each other with scimitars and rusty AK-47s.

Iraq’s president, Maliki has asked for US assistance. Oh really?


8 posted on 06/16/2014 8:39:30 AM PDT by GOPJ (#2 reply spot RESERVED for Tokyo Rose comments: "nothing works - give up - it's all hopeless".)
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To: jazusamo

“If President Bush’s gamble that we could create a thriving democracy in the Middle East — one of the least likely places for a democracy to thrive — had paid off, it could have been the beginning of a world-changing benefit to this generation and to generations yet unborn.”

Exactly.

That’s why you take bets like Iraq. If it had worked the payback would be effectively infinite. A good bet that doesn’t pay off doesn’t mean it was wrong to take. You just got unlucky.

At least in this case, “Unlucky” means 0bama squandered any chance of the bet paying off.

And now we know something: Arabs and Islam are not ready for Democracy for the next several generations. If we ever need be involved, just bomb the heck out of the stronger guy, and let them keep killing one another for a few generations. That ought to keep them busy.


9 posted on 06/16/2014 8:41:57 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Radicalized via the Internet)
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To: I want the USA back

The only way to deal with Islamic terrorism is through the credible threat of overwhelming retaliatory force.

Nuke something inconsequential to show that you’re willing to use them,

then tell them “Haji be good” or you lose mecca.


10 posted on 06/16/2014 8:42:52 AM PDT by MrB (The difference between a Humanist and a Satanist - the latter admits whom he's working for)
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To: I want the USA back

I wonder if anyone said that about Japan or Germany


11 posted on 06/16/2014 8:46:45 AM PDT by woofie
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To: jazusamo

“bitter after-taste” is a nice way of putting it.


12 posted on 06/16/2014 8:48:12 AM PDT by equaviator (There's nothing like the universe to bring you down to earth.)
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To: MrB

Once again this morning I second your view.

I’m waiting for someone like Cruz to articulate a starkly simple foreign policy:

1) Our few close allies will know they are our allies, and we will know they are ours.

2) Any nation/motley terrorist group/any combination of the two that provokes us or our allies will feel our punch.

3) Any...blah blah...that attacks us will feel our might.

4) Any “ “ “ that seriously harms us, a la 9/ll, will effectively cease to exist. If it is a terrorist group, the host nation will be responsible for any collateral damage we are forced to cause.

5) No more welcome wagons, no more hand-holding, no more nation building, only the purest cleanest most obvious national self-interest. We will use force including troops sparingly but, once committed, fiercely, relentlessly and victoriously.


13 posted on 06/16/2014 8:58:13 AM PDT by Fightin Whitey
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To: jazusamo

“If President Bush’s gamble that we could create a thriving democracy in the Middle East — one of the least likely places for a democracy to thrive — had paid off, it could have been the beginning of a world-changing benefit to this generation and to generations yet unborn.”

Admittedly haven’t read past the excerpt yet, but will later today.

Have to run right now as other projects call, but wanted to comment I never thought that Bush’s priority was to create a Democracy in Iraq, but only did so as we were there.

I always thought the priority was the location in the ME for our ability to heavily influence the region. I always thought had the Democrats, their media, and their RINO’s kept off his backside perhaps that influence would still be today.

I still think Iraq’s coordinates in the ME make it the perfect location for our interests in establishing such “influence”.


14 posted on 06/16/2014 9:09:18 AM PDT by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, call 'em what you will. They ALL have fairies livin' in their trees.)
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To: Uncle Miltie
If we ever need be involved, just bomb the heck out of the stronger guy, and let them keep killing one another for a few generations. <<

Yup!...previously known as the LeMay Doctrine!

(In hindsight it woulda worked in Viet Nam as well as in Iraq....)

15 posted on 06/16/2014 9:24:34 AM PDT by M-cubed
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To: jazusamo
The take down of Saddam was masterful. The occupation of Iraq was a disaster. The State Department opposed turning the country over to an Iraqi strong man. They and others correctly predicted that if we held the reins for more than a few weeks we would be resented as occupiers. It seems Condeleeza Rice tried to reconcile these two opposing views into something less stark than an "either/or" choice. As diplomatic as this was, to me it seems she did her boss a disservice by masking the stark nature of the choice.

President Bush should have resolved this dichotomy before the invasion. My preference would have been to tell the State Department that their objections are understood but we're not "nation building".

Perhaps if the Administration understood just how awfully thirty years of Saddam had destroyed the fabric of Iraqi society, they wouldn't have tried to unleash "instant democracy".

It's like that old saying that where social standards exist, laws are not needed. Where they don't exist, laws are ineffective. When people have been forced to lie, cheat and steal for decades just to stay alive, law and order cannot quickly return. Just as Pakistan and Iran have gone from modern societies to places where villagers gleefully stone women to death for being raped. That can't get flipped back overnight. You would need an entire generation to live in a society where good was rewarded and evil punished for decades before good became the norm and crime the exception. The post WWII occupations of Japan and Germany would look like cake walks in comparison.

There is a middle ground between "nation building" and "no ground troops": The ground troops accomplish the military objective and then GTFO. The only way that could have worked in Iraq would be to put an Iraqi strong man in place right away.

From a larger perspective, perhaps having British cartographers define country boundaries wasn't the way to go.

16 posted on 06/16/2014 9:27:55 AM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: jazusamo

leave the “nation building” to God.


17 posted on 06/16/2014 9:32:21 AM PDT by dadfly
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To: woofie
I wonder if anyone said that about Japan or Germany

Some did.

18 posted on 06/16/2014 9:39:18 AM PDT by uglybiker (nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh-BATMAN!)
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To: Jeff Chandler

So true.


19 posted on 06/16/2014 9:52:12 AM PDT by gogeo (If you are Tea Party, the Republican Party does not want you.)
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To: woofie

Neither of them historically have followed religions that proselytize by the sword...

I’d say Japan came close though, Halsey made a comment to the effect of making Japanese only spoken in hell in the future if they kept up the fight.


20 posted on 06/16/2014 10:14:06 AM PDT by Axenolith (Government blows, and that which governs least, blows least...)
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To: Uncle Miltie
That’s why you take bets like Iraq.

Except that the Middle East is not a casino and the outcome of the "Iraq bet" was not determined by the roll of the dice or the flip of a card. There were too many factors in play that could simply not be controlled. That's what made it a bad gamble. If it were as simple as a casino table game, then I'd agree with your assessment.

21 posted on 06/16/2014 10:18:17 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (Only Liberals can look at an amendment that says "shall not be infringed" and see blank parchment.)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

The alternative of inaction in the face of Saddam’s continuous provocations is an unknown that might have turned out worse.

Saddam caused 100,000 deaths per year for over 20 years. We cut that dramatically. Less death is a net good, in my book.

There wasn’t a clean answer. Non-action was also a bet. Which we could easily have lost. We all have to accept that dirt was going to accumulate to any position we chose.

The result historically is fact: America chose to go to war. Democrats demanded a vote so that a majority of them could vote “Aye”. The whole of our polity made the bet that action was better than inaction.

Inaction on Hitler was also an option. We didn’t take that bet on inaction either.

Nothing is so antiseptic as all that.


22 posted on 06/16/2014 10:26:32 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (Radicalized via the Internet)
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To: Uncle Miltie

“At least in this case, “Unlucky” means 0bama squandered any chance of the bet paying off.” As soon as barry bastard boy changed the ROE to benefit the Islamic terrorists it was quite apparent that this current bastard in the Lie House was actively trying to make it not work. It is not lucky or unlucky when the enemy within commits treachery against our people in uniform. Obama is the domestic enemy of The Republic, the perfect democrap leader.


23 posted on 06/16/2014 10:37:21 AM PDT by MHGinTN
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To: I want the USA back
There was NO chance that this region could ever become peaceful and civilized. Lives, time and money were wasted in the vain hope that bearded savages could become peaceful, kind, tolerant, civilized, cultured and democratic.

It's called the trial and error method. It would have been the perfect solution: defeat the bad guys, give the good people a chance to have freedom and democracy. All the other Middle East countries would have turned on the extremist mullahs.

We now move to the next best choice, and then the next best until we solve the problem or one of our cultures gets eliminated.

24 posted on 06/16/2014 10:54:46 AM PDT by oldbrowser (We have a rogue government in Washington)
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To: jazusamo
OK, it is time for a reality check here. Who has been POTUS since 29 January 2009? [Hint to the MSM: It is NOT George W. Bush.]

That's right, Barack Hussein Obama and Hillary Clinton (and Valerie Jarrett) were responsible for policy in Iraq. If we are going to lose Iraq to the Taliban or Charlie's Aunt, Barry Obama had the watch and he's responsible (even if he was too busy golfing or fundraisers). Hillary was Secretary of State — WTH was see doing besides playing hide the salami with Huma Abedin-Weiner?

Which one of the Republican castrati have the courage to state the obvious? This emperor lost Iraq and he's going to lose Afghanistan, too. [The sound of crickets is deafening.]

25 posted on 06/16/2014 11:37:08 AM PDT by MasterGunner01
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To: MasterGunner01
This emperor lost Iraq and he's going to lose Afghanistan, too.

No doubt that you're right and he'll make a point of it before he leaves office, if he leaves.

26 posted on 06/16/2014 11:45:13 AM PDT by jazusamo (Sometimes I think that this is an era when sanity has become controversial: Thomas Sowell)
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To: jazusamo

Every president thinks they are going to be the one who can bring peace to the Persian Gulf. Why?


27 posted on 06/16/2014 11:48:27 AM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: I want the USA back
I disagree. In fact, we - the United States - have a template in our own history as the pacification of a nation. Our dealings with the American Indians. It took decades and will but it was done.

I am not saying that it was the right thing to do against the American Indians but it is a template. Concerning the Muslims - hunt them down. Disperse the tribes. Put them on reservations. Teach them English. And - this is the big thing - constantly introduce them to new ideas and new religions. Bombard them constantly with Chrisiianity, Bhuddism, Shinto, etc. Make them see that there are other viewpoints that do not promote forcible conversion and/or death.

But all this requires a will and the ability to explain to the American public what we want to achieve. And we are sorely lacking in both since Ronald Reagan left office.

28 posted on 06/16/2014 11:49:45 AM PDT by 7thson (I've got a seat at the big conference table! I'm gonna paint my logo on it!)
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To: jazusamo
Well, who's better at completing the destruction of the U.S. than Hillary(!) Rodham Clinton?
29 posted on 06/16/2014 11:55:10 AM PDT by MasterGunner01
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To: Uncle Miltie
Less death is a net good, in my book.

We lessened nothing.

We DID, however, affect the TIMING of the deaths.

There is still, and always will be, one death per person - as long as that person is a Christian.

I hear there is something called the SECOND death that can evidently be avoided.

30 posted on 06/16/2014 1:20:48 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: 7thson

Chivington said...


31 posted on 06/16/2014 1:21:31 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: GSWarrior

Why?

Because they’ve been ELECTED by an astute American populace: one well acquainted with History and the issues at hand?


32 posted on 06/16/2014 1:22:52 PM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Elsie

Well, I sure didn’t vote for getting involved in a permanent war in the Persian Gulf.


33 posted on 06/16/2014 4:19:12 PM PDT by GSWarrior
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To: Dilbert56
President Bush should have resolved this dichotomy before the invasion.

The book The Generals, by Thomas Ricks, is a history of civil-military relations in the US. It has a chapter on the utter failure of both the President and the generals in command in Iraq to agree (or even recognize the need for an agreement) on what the desired "end state" should be, and what actions had to be taken to reach it. This wasn't the only problem, of course, but it was the root problem from which all the others flowed.

Another good book on the Iraq disaster is We Meant Well, by Peter Van Buren. The author was a Foreign Service Officer involved in "reconstruction" in Iraq. His tale of how the "occupation" was botched, despite the best of intentions, is enough to make one cry.

34 posted on 06/16/2014 4:19:14 PM PDT by JoeFromSidney (Book: Resistance to Tyranny. Buy from Amazon.)
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To: Uncle Miltie

I’ll add that during the 90s, I flew patrols over Iraq for nearly half of each year. By the 2000 time frame, we were being shot at regularly. Iraq was not a good choice for places to do nothing at all. Bush didn’t have GOOD choices.

His failure was he did not lay the groundwork for us remaining for 50 years with enough force to intimidate anyone who wanted to cause trouble.


35 posted on 06/16/2014 4:27:57 PM PDT by Mr Rogers (Left wing. Right wing. One buzzard.)
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To: jazusamo
At a minimum, Iraq should put an end to the notion of "nation-building," especially nation-building on the cheap, and to the glib and heady talk of "national greatness" interventionists who were prepared to put other people's lives on the line from the safety of their editorial offices.

Thank you, Dr. Sowell. Hard to believe a Republican administration embraced this idiocy and that so many "conservatives" cheered on the madness. Why W decided to listen to the chicken-hawks who wanted to recast his presidency along the lines of LBJ will always be a mystery to me. The conservative movement will be tainted with this disaster for years to come. Any future conservative standard-bearer should make it clear they will bury the putrid corpse of "nation-building" for once and all.

36 posted on 06/16/2014 4:49:36 PM PDT by hcmama
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To: hcmama

I always felt W had a grudge to settle against Saddam for trying to assassinate his father.
I cut him some slack for that.


37 posted on 06/16/2014 4:51:30 PM PDT by nascarnation (Toxic Baraq Syndrome: hopefully infecting a Dem candidate near you)
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To: nascarnation

Since reading one freeper’s “Century of War” and his many references to Thucydidies I recall one reason the Athenians lost the Pelopenesian War. They were so convinced of their superiority and victory they didn’t need to engage in ugly brutality. Their enemies took this for weakness. Hence the war dragged on.


38 posted on 06/17/2014 1:11:06 AM PDT by wastoute (Government cannot redistribute wealth. Government can only redistribute poverty.)
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To: Dilbert56
From a larger perspective, perhaps having British cartographers define country boundaries wasn't the way to go.

That partition has kept tribal/religious factions within national boundaries at each others' throats for some time--which may well have been the intent.

39 posted on 06/17/2014 1:23:56 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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To: Smokin' Joe
That partition has kept tribal/religious factions within national boundaries at each others' throats for some time--which may well have been the intent.

Good point. Yet, even if the sects had their own countries, they would fight over the boundaries instead of within them.

40 posted on 06/17/2014 4:13:21 AM PDT by Dilbert56
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To: GSWarrior

We have ALWAYS been at war with EastAsia.


41 posted on 06/17/2014 5:24:03 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Dilbert56
Yet, even if the sects had their own countries, they would fight over the boundaries instead of within them.


Genesis 16:7-12

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?”

She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.”

The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.”

10 The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude.”

11 And the angel of the Lord said to her,

“Behold, you are pregnant
    and shall bear a son.
You shall call his name Ishmael,
    because the Lord has listened to your affliction.
12 He shall be a wild donkey of a man,
    his hand against everyone
    and everyone's hand against him,
and he shall dwell over against all his kinsmen.”

 

 

 

42 posted on 06/17/2014 5:31:17 AM PDT by Elsie (Heck is where people, who don't believe in Gosh, think they are not going...)
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To: Dilbert56
Yet, even if the sects had their own countries, they would fight over the boundaries instead of within them.

Likely. But the boundaries give them the excuse of seeking to dominate a particular piece of turf, and the way it was divided ensures conflict.

43 posted on 06/17/2014 5:43:29 AM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly. Stand fast. God knows what He is doing.)
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