Friday, August 17, 2007

The Last Excuse...Gone

Many of you have probably already seen the 1994 video that was recently found of Vice President Cheney explaining why we chose not to go into Iraq after expelling the Iraqi army from Kuwait in the first Gulf War.

For those of you that have not, here is a link. Everyone should watch this. Just push the play button on the lower left half of the video box.

Cheney speaks for only 90 seconds, but in that time he reminds me why I was excited when he joined the ticket in 2000.

To summarize, Cheney, the Secretary of Defense during the first Gulf War, basically foresees everything that has gone wrong in Iraq since we removed Saddam Hussein.

Of course, this video naturally raises questions about why he came to endorse and champion the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

But I actually think this question is not the right one to ask. We can still have endless debates on the threat Saddam posed - even knowing that he didnt have WMD. Perhaps there is a right answer, but neither side will cede it to the other.

A better question:

Why, when clearly foreseeing the challenges we were going to face, did the Administration not 1. prepare the public and 2. commit adequate resources to "win the peace" ?

People today, at home and certainly abroad, regularly accuse this Administration of intentional lies and imperialist motives in launching this war.

Although the Bush Administration has said and done some despicable things in my opinion, I've never come to believe that they were intentionally deceptive in starting this war, nor that their motives were sinister.

They were clearly negligent and sloppy when analyzing and collecting the intelligence to justify the war, but I think they believed, as did most of the world, that WMD were there. Perhaps I am wrong, but this is still what I choose to believe.

In any case, I am now absolutely baffled at the way the Administration conducted this war. Any argument I could have constructed to make our situation understandable, if not justified, is gone.

It is one thing to think that Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld simply did not anticipate the challenges we would face after Saddam was gone. This is not excusable, but it at least makes their actions understandable.

But now we know that they knew how hard it was going to be....

I just do not know what else to say.

Despite all the confidence I have lost in this Administration, I am somehow still stunned that they conducted themselves in this manner. Incompetence no longer explains our situation, as I had come to believe.

We are entitled to a direct response to this question from President Bush.

If he still believes it was necessary to go, why didn't we at least give ourselves a real chance to succeed?


Unknown said...

I know that I am too cynical, but you are not cynical enough.

Jared said...

I wonder if you are right. You may be - but fortunately at our age we can afford to be a little overly idealistic. It is not a risk for me to be so at this place in my life.

I am curious to know what you really think happened here.

Do you believe the version that these are evil men that wanted to launch a war for imperialism's sake? If so, let's talk about the case for that. I dont see it, but I am always willing to listen to an argument from someone I respect. Tell me what I am missing.

My point on this post is that I honestly dont know what happened here.

It was neither necessary nor in the interests of the Bush Administration to send us into a war without equipping us to win.

Why do you think this has happened?

Let's say that Cheney just decided he wanted a war with Saddam. Forget his motive. Why would he not go in there to win?

Unknown said...

I don't think it's an imperialism thing because that would imply a desire, however perverse and unwise, to advance the cause of the United States, and I don't think the President or the Vice President really have any regard for the success or the future of the United States.

As you say, ignorance, lack of foresight, and incompetence have been eliminated as an explanation for the mismanagement of the war. This leaves only evil. But I think it takes the form of good old thirst-for-power and avarice. The degree to which our freedoms have been trampled, to which common political decency has been thrown under the bus, to which traditional notions of accountability and responsibility have been flouted, and to which the administration's buddies have profiteered off the war would kill Jefferson if he weren't already dead.

Why not go in there to win? You've read 1984. Wars that end end. Wars that never end keep the power and the profits flowing.

Bryan said...

Hey guys! I'm back! I've been swarmed lately and haven't had time to get to Jared's blog or to email you guys. Sorry about that. I hope all is well with you guys.

Jared, your comments on our handling of the war are very well reasoned. I am asking myself many of the same questions. I don't agree with Steve's cynicism nor his perspective that the Bush administration is evil. We have obviously made some mistakes and some gross miscalculations regarding the war. There are alot of folks who have responsibility for the failures of our war machine. The President has the privalege of being the single point of focus on such failures, especially when it is easy political gain for his opponents. There are terrorists who share some blame for the mess we are in. Defeating the terrorists will require us to face truths that most Americans don't want to believe, let alone face up to. President Bush operates on a premise that many Americans don't accept. I am speaking of matters of faith and ideology. He believes he is engaging an evil ideology. How many Americans would agree with him? If he were fighting for power and imperialism then why would we give Iraq back to its people? Leadership leads to lonliness....for the President and for America. We are leading change in a major way and that will naturally alienate us. I think our greatest miscalculation occured when we thought we would be welcomed as liberators. Democracy is a foreign concept to the people of Iraq. Democracy was birthed by men who valued reason and is bolstered by Judeo-Christian ethics. I think these elements must permeate the thinking of the Iraqi people before they will thirst for freedom. And they must thirst for freedom before they will fight for Democracy.