A Metaphor

This pretty much says it all about the War in Iraq:

$75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.

The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country’s security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed “the rain forest.”

“This is the most essential civil security project in the country — and it’s a failure,” said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. “The Baghdad police academy is a disaster.”

Bowen’s office plans to release a 21-page report Thursday detailing the most alarming problems with the facility.

Even in a $21 billion reconstruction effort that has been marred by cases of corruption and fraud, failures in training and housing Iraq’s security forces are particularly significant because of their effect on what the U.S. military has called its primary mission here: to prepare Iraqi police and soldiers so that Americans can depart.

When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree. In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing.

On the other hand, if I knew then what I know now- that much of the information I was basing my decision to support the war was flawed, that this administration was wholly unprepared and wholly unserious about succeeding, there is no chance in hell I would have supported the war. I trusted people I shouldn’t have, supported people who don’t and didn’t deserve my support, and as such, we are in the mess we are in.

Such is life. This story highlights what is so frustrating about having to live with this decision- the construction of a viable Iraqi police force, not based on sectarian rivalries and long-festering hatreds and with a motivation that goes beyond settling Hussein-era scores is one of the most important things that needs to be done in the reconstruction. I know that, you know that, and the administration knows it. You would think we would approach the situation with a degree of seriousness and with a fully committed desire to succeed. You would think, at the very least, the Police Acadamy would have a solid PHYSICAL foundation.

But, like everything else with this administration, we blew it. We did things piecemeal, didn’t provide the oversight, and things are deemed to be going ok just so long as they are not damaging the domestic political considerations and just so long as they don’t interfere with the mantra to ‘stay the course.’ Throw in a few chants about the media being biased, and we will get through this ‘rough patch.’ Really- everything is going peachy in Iraq- we just aren’t hearing enough media stories about our valorous troops.

So really, this is the perfect metaphor. While the Iraqi police recruits are laboring under a torrent of shit and piss, so too do I and the rest of the former administration supporters have to daily struggle to find an umbrella to shield us from the crap trickling down from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

*** Update ***

I really don’t understand what is so controversial about this statement:

When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree. In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing.

As noted in the comments section, General Custer would probably say the same thing. I was believing people I shouldn’t have believed, trusting information I shouldn’t have, and I made my decision based on that. I don’t know why people think that if I had a do over, absent the knowledge and experiences of the past few years, I would behave differently. Given the information I was working on, given the person I was at the time, my decision made sense. That I wasn’t looking in the right places and ignoring other relevant information is immaterial. In fact, as someoneelse noted, the statement is so uncontroversial as to be boring.

*** Update ***

How we got here.

121 replies
  1. 1

    When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree. In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing.

    I would hope that you’d at least realize that you didn’t have enough information to make that call, and given the same circumstances again you’d expect more questions to be asked.

    Although I still have yet to understand how anybody thought it was a good idea. I mean what did you expect to accomplish from this grand adventure? I’m serious on that, the reasoning and rationale laid out by the Republicans was always fruity.

  2. 2
    John Cole says:

    Knowing what I know now, I would not.

    But if we were to warp back in time, without the knowledge I have now, I would have done thingsthe same way.

  3. 3
    capelza says:

    First off…that is utterly appalling…I had hoped that we had contracted the building out to some fly bynight construction firm..at least that might have maybe sort of explained the shoddy (is that an understatement or what?). But, no it was a U.S. firm, under the supposedly watchful eye of the Army Corp of Engineers. Despicable. Were they so callous to think that Iraqi’s didn’t deserve competent construction..or did they simply not think anyone would notice?

    As to the metaphor…it is perfect. It breaks my heart, really..I can’t even get angry right now.

    I can give you another John. In 2003/04, U.S. forces, Marines I believe, along with some Poles, set up camp IN the ruins of Babylon. They poured a concrete pad ON TOP of some of the ruins for a helicopter pad. U.S. soldiers used archaeological material to fill sandbags. U.S. soldiers brought home bits (like cuniform tablets) and some have made their way onto E-Bay. Graffitti from U.S. soldiers cover the ancient walls.

    They dug trenches THROUGH the ruins, at least one roof and walls collasped because of the vibrations of helicopters landing.

    This past year we offered to apologise if the Iraqis asked and admitted we didn’t need to be there in the first place.
    In the meantime, archaeologists are trying to figure out how to remove tons of cement from the former pad. The damage to the site is very significant. Saddam had already “reconstructed” very badly…you’d think we’d know better.

    This one is near to my heart as a historian. In the big scheme of things, Babylon isn’t nearly as important as the lives and well-being of the people. But it is, to me, indicative of the attitude we went in with. Without an understanding of the long, long history of the region. It was in Afghanistan and Pakistan that Alexander the Great met with the most fierce resistence and ultimately had to turn around because his troops would take no more.

    Ironically, it was at Babylon that Alexander died. The same Alexander that I believe cadets still study at West Point. They might learn about his battles, but they didn’t learn to respect his, ours and the world’s treasures. Just a little thing I guess.

  4. 4
    ThymeZone says:

    When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree

    Allow me a mild disagreement. While the information may have seemed to support the decision, it could only do so if certain questions were left unasked. I don’t blame you for not asking them, we are not all required to think of the same questions.

    However, a lot of people who are not you or me, who are in fact in powerful positions, either failed to ask those questions, or failed to get the best available answers and make therefore the best possible decisions … because they were more interested in moving ahead with decisions already made.

    Them, I blame, not only for making bad choices, but also for screwing with the information so that well-intentioned people — yourself included — couldn’t make the best choices. Had those people been totally forthcoming, all of us would have had a chance to make different, and hopefully better, choices about Iraq in 2002.

    As I have said before, if a layman in Phoenix can figure out that the information has gaping holes and doesn’t add up, and that more time needs to be taken to get it right (particularly, about the WMDs), then surely the wizards in government could have figured that out. Those are the people I hold accountable.

    I have no doubt that given all the relevant information available, you would have made the right choice.

  5. 5
    Rudi says:

    Didn’t some idiot judge rule that the US government has no jurisdiction over the Iraq reconstruction. This will allow all fraud and graft to go unprosecuted in the US. Another fine example of TrickleDown economics.

  6. 6
    de stijl says:

    The walls were freshly painted, though. Why won’t you report the good news?

  7. 7
    Bombadil says:

    Knowing what I know now, I would not.

    But if we were to warp back in time, without the knowledge I have now, I would have done things the same way.

    I was composing a response to this, but TZ beat me to it. I think, John, you should also admit that a good deal of the knowledge you say you didn’t have then, you could have had, but you (and many others) dismissed or ignored it.

  8. 8
    kb says:

    I would probably do the same exact thing.

    On the other hand, if I knew then what I know now- that much of the information I was basing my decision to support the war was flawed, that this administration was wholly unprepared and wholly unserious about succeeding, there is no chance in hell I would have supported the war. I trusted people I shouldn’t have, supported people who don’t and didn’t deserve my support, and as such, we are in the mess we are in.

    And if things were repeated would you still accuse anyone who disagreed with the ‘evidence’ and stated that their evidence said that saddam did not have WMD of being ‘appeasers’ or “coddling dictators and tyrants” or ‘The Idiot French” or comment that “How do you say ‘Who cares what you think, asshole?’ in French?”

    “if I knew then what I know now- that much of the information I was basing my decision to support the war was flawed, ”

    Plenty of people knew it then.
    After all as Robin Cook said when he resigned from the UK cabinet “Iraq probably has no weapons of mass destruction in the commonly understood sense of the term – namely a credible device capable of being delivered against a strategic city target.”

    If nothing else, you should have at least learnt that if people don’t support whatever policy a US government decides to follow then there is a chance that it’s not as a result of some form of hysterical anti-american cowardice and by behaving as if it is leaves you open to mockery when they turn out to be right.

  9. 9
    ThymeZone says:

    you should also admit that a good deal of the knowledge you say you didn’t have then, you could have had, but you (and many others) dismissed or ignored it.

    Not sure I agree with that. The government did a masterful job of obfuscation and deflection, along with cherry-picking the facts and factoids.

    I came to the problem rather outside of the mainstream to begin with, so I was inclined to be pretty skeptical. I never thought that Gulf War One was a smart move in the first place. First of all, it was meddling with a territorial issue that probably tracks back 1000 years amongst the tribal buttheads over there. Second, the liberation of Kuwait was and is a farce, I considered Kuwait to be about an inch above barbaric as a country, an oligarchy whose only purpose is to make sure only those with the power get the money. The idea that we’d risk American lives to “liberate” those assholes only works if you are a rich American family that smokes the bone of the Arab establishment. To me, the man on the street, it was a misuse of American power. And of course, look at the fallout …. A lot of the turmoil in the Middle East can be traced directly to that foolish war. I also deeply resented the comparison of Hussein to Hitler by Bush the Elder, a lie that is still making the rounds to this day. Hussein is not Hitler, or anything like Hitler. Never was.

    But anyway, I wouldn’t expect everyone to look askance at the baloney being sold in 2002 the way I did. Except those in government who had all the facts, and who didn’t see to it that the people … that’s us …. had all the facts.

    Those are the people I detest, the ones who don’t trust the people with all of the truth.

  10. 10
    John Cole says:

    I am not so sure why what I have said is that controversial- if we were warped back in time, absent any knowledge of what has happened in the past 4-5 years, to the same exact spot we were during the run-up to the war, I probably would have acted the same way.

    Do you want me to pretend that given a second chance, with no new information, I would have behaved differently. That would be silly.

    The difference is, I have learned someting in the past few years, and now, were a similar thing to happen today, I would act differently.

    That’s called learning. What you want me to do is just make shit up if you think I would react any differently if I had it do do over again, absent the knowledge i have today.

  11. 11
    jg says:

    You would think we would approach the situation with a degree of seriousness and with a fully committed desire to succeed.

    Why? the point is to get paid. Whether they are successful in getting the job done or not they will get paid. Same with Katrina. A list campaign donors get the contracts and then get bathed in treasury money.

    I’ll say it again its a Sopranos style bust out. People are getting filthy rich off this war and off of the gov’t handouts. Pharmaceutical companies making bank on the medicare bill, oil and gas industry making bank off the war and the energy policy, construction companies making bank off the war and Katrina. What a country. Lets bankrupt the treasury for the benefit of the few.

  12. 12
    Proud Liberal says:

    Great post John, and while I did not support this war from the beginning, I can understand your position. Reasonable people could have supported the war in Iraq if indeed what the administration was telling us was true. But there WERE signs, even back then, that they were not telling us the truth. You, along with most of the MSM, just didn’t care to look very hard. We collectively wanted to kick some Arab ass after 911 and nothing was going to get in the way of doing that.

    I guess the bottom line is that one tends to believe what then want to believe. Hey, look at MacBuckets and Darrell.. incredibly they STILL believe. There is no amount of evidence or fact that will remove these two from their bizzaro alternative universe.

  13. 13
    Davebo says:

    When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision.

    Well, to quote our host..

    Some Perspective for the Willfully Stupid

  14. 14
    Pb says:

    I’m with John Cole on this one–the only difference between him and me is the trust issue. I personally have a high threshold on issues like taking America to war, and I didn’t see any convincing evidence presented at the time to justify going into Iraq. The administration’s response to that was “trust us”; they said they were good for it. I wasn’t willing to trust them, and John was. I won’t hold it against him–it was his party after all, he should be able to trust them. Sadly, they weren’t worthy of his trust. But if it weren’t for that betrayal, he wouldn’t have found that out.

    On the other hand, I didn’t oppose them when they went into Afghanistan, because I trusted that they were going after Osama bin Laden in the wake of 9/11. Perhaps some of that trust was misplaced as well, although it seems like we’re stil finding out more details about how much they weren’t actually doing, and how deceptive, mendacious, and incompetent these fools really are.

  15. 15
    jg says:

    The difference is, I have learned someting in the past few years, and now, were a similar thing to happen today, I would act differently.

    You are now officially off the reservation. No way can you ever stand with the ‘stay the course’ folks ever again. Changing your mind even in the face of overwhelming facts, simply isn’t allowed on the right. That’s what got me tossed out. Once I started reacting to the news out of iraq and stopped adhering to party dogma people started calling me a liberal. Weird.

  16. 16
    RSA says:

    Do you want me to pretend that given a second chance, with no new information, I would have behaved differently. That would be silly.

    I think this is pretty much tautological; it’s not as if making that decision was a coin flip that would have turned out differently if it were done again, under the same conditions.

    What outrages me is the comparable-on-the-surface-but-very-different-underneath statement made by Dick Cheney and some others: Knowing what they do now (and of course what they knew then), they’d still have made the same decision to go into Iraq. Moral bankruptcy.

  17. 17
    capelza says:

    TZ, that is the bottomline, the Bush Admin sold the American people a bill of goods..at a time when they were freaked out by 9/11. I can understand this.

    Like I’ve said before I and mine have known that Bush/Cheney were dangerous idiots from day one…but like Thyme Zone, I was coming from a different perspective.

    I just want the recriminations to stop. It’s a done deal. Where do we go from here? The core “limbic” Bush believers are not going to change, but they don’t reflect most Americans. I honestly believe most Americans are at best uneasy about what is going on in this country right now. Butting heads with the radicals on the right and the left is pointless, well except that radical extremists on the right are in charge right now.

    Is there a way to sift, intelligently through all the crap still being fed us? If enough people voice their discontent will it make headway? Arguing about who was a fool 2, 4, 6 years ago isn’t the way forward.

  18. 18
    Zifnab says:

    When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree. In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing.

    Some will tell that if the Iraq War was a multiple choice test, it would have but two answers. I, personally, believe there were three.

    A) Go to war
    B) Don’t go to war
    C) Not enough information

    While the US and the Brits did an excellent job of coming up with a number of compelling reasons to invade, the UN and the surrounding regions came up with a number of compelling reasons not to. The information we had, the information availible to anyone with a web browser and a google link, yielded some fairly conflicting data. On the one hand, we had satellite images of “mobile chemical weapons plants” and single-source claims of covert weapons programs (see: Curveball). However, we had the other hand as well. A fervently objective Hans Blix who contended that his teams had been through and done their jobs well, yielding no evidence of hidden weapons. A daring ambassador who, having found connections to Niger yellowcake wanting, dared to publicize his findings in the NYT.

    What we lacked, more than anything, was a powerful need to invade. This was not 24. Saddam didn’t not have a bomb in a briefcase waiting to be over-nighted to a major American Metropolis. There was no ticking time bomb, no nuclear button waiting to be pushed, no muss, no fuss, no hurry. So while the question, “Which was the better answer at the time,” may leave us debating whether A) or B) was the better answer, I can’t see anyone realistically arguing that C) wasn’t the best answer.

  19. 19
    jg says:

    First of all, it was meddling with a territorial issue that probably tracks back 1000 years amongst the tribal buttheads over there

    Saddam started wars with Iraq and Kuwait because he didn’t recognize the borders drawn by a british general.

    Didn’t some cute girl in a scifi movie mention something about powerful people being hated because they meddle? I bet John can answer that.

  20. 20
    ThymeZone says:

    Do you want me to pretend that given a second chance, with no new information, I would have behaved differently. That would be silly.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I am not arguing with that.

    That’s called learning.

    Agreed. And the thing I’d learn is not so much about Iraq, as it is about us. I’d learn to hold the government to a much higher standard of information and reason than it was being held to in 2002.

    Had it been held, or held itself, to that higher standard, I doubt that we’d be where we are today.

    Whether you think you personally could ask that you’d do that part differently, that’s up to you. Since you are being good enough to be totally honest about the outcome now, I’d trust you to judge yourself appropriately on the learning thing, and I’d accept your own judgement on the question.

    However, I would not be so kind to the likes of people like Jim Lehrer or Dan Rather. Where the hell were they?

  21. 21
    Bombadil says:

    I am not so sure why what I have said is that controversial- if we were warped back in time, absent any knowledge of what has happened in the past 4-5 years, to the same exact spot we were during the run-up to the war, I probably would have acted the same way.

    Do you want me to pretend that given a second chance, with no new information, I would have behaved differently. That would be silly.

    Suppose that, despite what the inspection teams were saying, and despite what Richard Clarke found and reported, and what so many CIA analysts were saying, that WMD had been found. What would your reaction be to anyone saying, “But if we were to warp back in time, without the knowledge I have now, I would have done things the same way”? I doubt you you be willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, nor would you think it “silly” to expect them to have behaved differently.

  22. 22
    Pb says:

    Proud Liberal,

    Reasonable people could have supported the war in Iraq if indeed what the administration was telling us was true. But there WERE signs, even back then, that they were not telling us the truth. You, along with most of the MSM, just didn’t care to look very hard.

    I agree, the whole thing was sketchy at best, but we really were railroaded into this, and the administration did its damndest to forcefully shout down or smear all who dared oppose them, and they did it from a position of strength. In the wake of 9/11, they had the unprecedented approval and trust of America and the world, and that’s what they abused to get us into Iraq.

    Now if I had trusted the administration because of that, if I had believed what they said about their critics, then I probably would have supported the war. Instad, I stopped to say, “hey, that doesn’t sound right, is Iraq really that much of a threat?” And the more I looked, the more it looked like it wasn’t. But if I had trusted them more, I might never have asked that question in the first place.

  23. 23
    Bombadil says:

    Excuse me, in my haste, I’m confusing a couple people here. The “found and reported” was meant to refer to Joseph Wilson and the yellowcake issue. I’m reading Clarke’s book and his name was stuck in my head. Sorry for any confusion.

  24. 24
    John Cole says:

    and the administration did its damndest to forcefully shout down or smear all who dared oppose them,

    I share no small amount of the blame on this, as well.

    Really, I wish I could come up with an excuse for deleting my archives.

  25. 25
    Zifnab says:

    I am not so sure why what I have said is that controversial- if we were warped back in time, absent any knowledge of what has happened in the past 4-5 years, to the same exact spot we were during the run-up to the war, I probably would have acted the same way.

    It’s a question of judgement, John. If you’d been warped back in time, ceteris paribus, I think any question of how would have choosen differently is less a question of politics and more a question of quantum mechanics.

    However, there is a question of whether your judgement was sound. Given the same information – the same facts – that you knew then, should you have trusted the Administration assuming you weren’t allowed to peak into the future? Were there any reasons to doubt? Were they compelling? Was the con that good a con, or should you have known better? That’s largely a personal debate, in my head. But it’s one you brought up so its in the debate.

  26. 26
    Davebo says:

    If you’re willing to forget the fact that there were inspectors on the ground in Iraq saying, “yes, we understand you know where the weapons are Don, but could you give us a hint?”. Followed by silence.

    If you’re willing to forget that the administration was called prior to the war for fabricating evidence of Iraq’s nuclear weapons program from aluminum tubes to non existant IAEA reports.

    Basically, if you just need to believe so badly, there’s not much that can be done for you.

  27. 27
    BlogReeder says:

    Terrible story. Although, you must realize that you could be accused of cherry picking.

    When has the government ever been accused of spending money wisely? I want to know. Now couple that with spending it in another country. You’re accusing the administration of failing in Iraq because of bad plumbing in a bad building, built by a bad contractor that sub-contracted it out to bad people and is now in the middle of an investigation without which we wouldn’t have heard of this? You have to take that into account too.

    I don’t want to be accused of BDS but it’s easy to find examples of bad government spending.

  28. 28
    matt says:

    Bombadil, I think John is speaking, like, literally.

  29. 29

    I can give you another John. In 2003/04, U.S. forces, Marines I believe, along with some Poles, set up camp IN the ruins of Babylon. They poured a concrete pad ON TOP of some of the ruins for a helicopter pad. U.S. soldiers used archaeological material to fill sandbags. U.S. soldiers brought home bits (like cuniform tablets) and some have made their way onto E-Bay. Graffitti from U.S. soldiers cover the ancient walls.

    Do you have a link for this? That’s absolutely heartrending. Didn’t the Taliban manage to piss off the whole world when they leveled a couple statues of Buddha at Bamiyan? What makes this different, the lack of intent to destroy, or the fact that Babylon wasn’t TOTALLY destroyed?

  30. 30
    Helene Curtis says:

    “I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing.”

    Yeah, Dick Cheney said the same. Nice company, John.

  31. 31
    VidaLoca says:

    I am not so sure why what I have said is that controversial- if we were warped back in time, absent any knowledge of what has happened in the past 4-5 years, to the same exact spot we were during the run-up to the war, I probably would have acted the same way.

    John, don’t get me wrong because I’m not trying to harsh on you, but it seems to me that either this is controversial (in the Dick Cheney sense, which is not what I think you’re trying to express here) or it’s so uncontroversial as to be uninteresting. I mean

    Do you want me to pretend that given a second chance, with no new information, I would have behaved differently. That would be silly.

    you could probably get a similar quote from General Custer.

    As others have already pointed out. we were well lied to. I think I tend to be more of a skeptic on government policy than you are, and I was taken in — specifically, finally, by Colin Powell. Now that we’ve realized that we need to figure out what to do.

    The difference is, I have learned someting in the past few years, and now, were a similar thing to happen today, I would act differently.

    Good on you.

    Also, what Pb and capelza said.

  32. 32
    Pb says:

    Zifnab,

    I agree, but I’d also argue that C implies B. That was the “give the weapons inspectors more time” argument. The Bush administration, however, argued that C implied A–that was the “can we trust Saddam to tell the truth” / “Saddam is crazy and might have nukes” argument.

    In late January of 2003, I wrote this:

    At the moment it seems the U.S. is at the brink of war with Iraq, for reasons that are not altogether clear. They aren’t directly connected with the original “War on Terror”; at best, a tenuous historical link can be dredged up, but that could be done for any country. George W. Bush has admitted that “It’s personal”, but hopefully his personal judgement alone will not be enough to start a war. U.N. inspectors have been searching the country, but instead of chemical weapons or nuclear warheads, all they have managed to find are empty warheads. It seems that while the U.S. is quite focused on the ends, they haven’t yet found a way to adequately justify the means.

    And of course, never mind that at the time, there was also another (more brutal?) dictator who was acting crazy and said he *did* have nukes, but they were busily ignoring him. Also quoting myself from late Jan 2003:

    North Korea is Iraq’s polar opposite in the U.S.’s recent war negotiations. Where the U.S. appears overly aggressive with Iraq, it appears to be overly passive with North Korea. Where Iraq appears to be overly passive with the U.S., North Korea is distinctly aggressive. And where Iraq’s countryside is being fruitlessly scoured for dangerous weapons, North Korea is openly working on nuclear weapons. Apparently the reason the U.S. isn’t going after North Korea and is going after Iraq is because Iraq is defenseless and easy to pick on–they have few friends and many enemies, no weapons have been found yet, and any that are found will likely be confiscated and used as a justification for war. The U.S. is currently negotiating with North Korea and China to try to achieve a peaceful settlement, which seems like a much more admirable choice of means than the sabre-rattling approach to diplomacy the U.S. seems to have with Iraq.

  33. 33
    matt says:

    You’re accusing the administration of failing in Iraq because…

    He couched the story as a metaphor.

  34. 34
    capelza says:

    Blog Reeder…John isn’t accussing the U.S. of failing in Iraq because of bad plumbing, it is, as the title says, a metaphor.

    TAFKAGOP4Me…google Babylon and helicopter pad. It will take you to plenty. I don’t have a direct link, I got my information from some Archaeology journals and articles. I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of years as the news filters out.

  35. 35
    BlogReeder says:

    He couched the story as a metaphor.

    I know.I just didn’t like it because it’s too easy.

  36. 36
    Bombadil says:

    Bombadil, I think John is speaking, like, literally.

    He couched the story as a metaphor.

    Well, I’m confused. Matt, what do these two comments refer to?

  37. 37
    matt says:

    If you went back in time, with none of the knowledge you had acquired since that time, how or why would you make different decisions? I think John is explicitly not saying “if I knew then what I know now”.

  38. 38
    Richard 23 says:

    Off topic, but I think this is important: an editorial about the Antiterrorism bill being debated right now: Rushing Off a Cliff

    Offenses: The definition of torture is unacceptably narrow, a virtual reprise of the deeply cynical memos the administration produced after 9/11. Rape and sexual assault are defined in a retrograde way that covers only forced or coerced activity, and not other forms of nonconsensual sex. The bill would effectively eliminate the idea of rape as torture.

    What does this mean?

    We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration.

    They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.

    As they say, read the whole thing.

  39. 39
    matt says:

    Well, I’m confused. Matt, what do these two comments refer to?

    The first comment is regarding John’s point about being warped back in time. The second comment is addressing someone who implied John was using this story, by itself, to accuse the Bush administration of failure in Iraq.

  40. 40
    Pb says:

    BlogReeder,

    FYI… Literally billions of dollars in cash has gone missing, unaccounted for, or just outright stolen in Iraq:

    The 15-month proconsulship of the CPA disbursed nearly $20 billion, two-thirds of it in cash, most of which came from the Development Fund for Iraq that had replaced the UN Oil for Food Program and from frozen and seized Iraqi assets. Most of the money was flown into Iraq on C-130s in huge plastic shrink-wrapped pallets holding 40 “cashpaks,” each cashpak having $1.6 million in $100 bills. Twelve billion dollars moved that way between May 2003 and June 2004, drawn from accounts administered by the New York Federal Reserve Bank. The $100 bills weighed an estimated 363 tons.

    Once in Iraq, there was virtually no accountability over how the money was spent. There was also considerable money “off the books,” including as much as $4 billion from illegal oil exports. The CPA and the Iraqi State Oil Marketing Board, which it controlled, made a deliberate decision not to record or “meter” oil exports, an invitation to wholesale fraud and black marketeering.

    Thus the country was awash in unaccountable money. British sources report that the CPA contracts that were not handed out to cronies were sold to the highest bidder, with bribes as high as $300,000 being demanded for particularly lucrative reconstruction contracts.

    The contracts were especially attractive because no work or results were necessarily expected in return. It became popular to cancel contracts without penalty, claiming that security costs were making it too difficult to do the work. A $500 million power-plant contract was reportedly awarded to a bidder based on a proposal one page long. After a joint commission rejected the proposal, its members were replaced by the minister, and approval was duly obtained. But no plant has been built.

  41. 41
    matt says:

    I know.I just didn’t like it because it’s too easy.

    Fair enough.

  42. 42
    Bombadil says:

    The first comment is regarding John’s point about being warped back in time. The second comment is addressing someone who implied John was using this story, by itself, to accuse the Bush administration of failure in Iraq.

    Thanks, Matt.

    I understood what John meant about going back in time. My point was that, back then, he still had access to information that should have at least raised questions about what the administration was saying. Actually, Zifnab made my point better than I could (and with Latin, too!).

  43. 43
    Pb says:

    Let me try to make some sense of this, because I don’t think it’s that hard to understand; correct me if I’m wrong here, but I think what John Cole is saying is this:

    If he had it to do over, and he didn’t know then what he knew now, he thinks he’d be correct in reaching the same conclusions, because of who he trusted, believed, listened to at the time, etc. However, if he *did* know then what he knew now, then that new information would totally change his outlook, who he trusted, believed, listened to at the time, etc., and he would have reached different conclusions. That’s it.

    Basically, he’s saying that he trusted the wrong people, and he was hoodwinked by them, but he doesn’t see how he personally would have done otherwise absent the information that they were not trustworthy and were being deceptive. I think it all stems from that.

  44. 44
    tzs says:

    I think George W. Bush will go down in history as the ultimate example of the Peter Principle in action.

    He’s screwed up everything else in his life; why did people expect he’s do any better with the Presidency?

    What is surprising to me the number of people that continue to give such a pass to incompetence. And to GWB’s executive power grab. Rip up habeus corpus, allow torture, etc., etc., and so forth, all for the sake of a wonderfully ill-defined “war” that will never end…with the Democrats sitting back with the spines of limp jellyfish.

    Ah well, “stupidity should hurt” as the saying goes….I guess the US will have to go through its own little bout of Soviet stupidity (with the accompanying ultimate crash of the economy) before the average american really does get pounded into him why the Founding Fathers had checks and balances all over the place.

    So what happened to the REAL conservatives? Where did they all dissappear?

  45. 45
    jg says:

    Pb Says:

    BlogReeder,

    FYI… Literally billions of dollars in cash has gone missing, unaccounted for, or just outright stolen in Iraq:

    Bust out

    Remember people, Kerry voted against it….because there would be no oversight to the reconstruction.

  46. 46
    BlogReeder says:

    FYI… Literally billions of dollars in cash has gone missing, unaccounted for, or just outright stolen in Iraq:

    So? That’s the nature of the beast that is government spending. How do you decide who gets the contract? But I do think this “Once in Iraq, there was virtually no accountability over how the money was spent.” is an outright lie.

  47. 47

    When reading such stories, I find myself questioning assessments that suggest that we have trained nearly 300,000 Iraqi troops. Here’s the problem. If we began our occupation of Iraq with less than 200,000 American soldiers and no Iraqi security forces and we now have nearly 300,000 Iraqi troops along with over 140,000 U.S. soldiers, why can’t we seem to bring order to the country and why does the death toll continue to alarm? Perhaps this story about the police academy, coupled with other failures, provides the answer to my question.

    The Bush administration, under the guidance of Donald Rumsfeld, continues to ignore the realities being voiced by numerous former military officers and countless other war critics. It takes minimal analysis to posit that the lack of sufficient forces in the region also translates into a lack of supervision and oversight which then leads to these colossal failures.

    Look, the reality is obvious…we have an administration that has miscalculated and mismanaged the Iraq war from the outset. There were no WMD’s, we were not greeted as liberators, we didn’t have a plan for securing the country once Hussein was toppled, we didn’t have enough troops to achieve our objectives, we are in the midst of a civil war, and we are fomenting more extremism. Sadly, the only constant remains the unequivocal denial exhibited by our President and his assemblage of neocon associates.

    Read more here:

    http://www.thoughttheater.com

  48. 48
    Pb says:

    jg,

    A “bust out” is a common tactic in the organized crime world where a business’s assets and lines of credit are exploited and exhausted to the point of bankruptcy.

    Aha. Yep, that’s it.

  49. 49
    salvage says:

    I really don’t understand what is so controversial about this statement:

    Here’s the thing; it was so obviously such a bad idea from day one.

    I think that Americans, even the very smart and sensible ones have an ingrained hubris which is actually earned. You guys kicked Hitler and Japan’s collective ass, walked on the moon, stared down the Soviets and have generally done more good than any nation of power has ever done in the history of this planet.

    So it’s inevitable that it’d swell your collective ego but the reality is America cannot do everything it sets out to do.

    And it was such a tempting idea, who wouldn’t want to see Saddam in jail and a peaceful Middle East? That’s certainly worth a risk but an Iraq invasion wasn’t a risk it was destined to fail because the only ones who can change the Middle East are the people living in the Middle East just as the only ones who can change America are Americans.

    And I can’t get how so many people couldn’t and still can’t get that.

  50. 50
    Bombadil says:

    Basically, he’s saying that he trusted the wrong people, and he was hoodwinked by them, but he doesn’t see how he personally would have done otherwise absent the information that they were not trustworthy and were being deceptive. I think it all stems from that.

    A fair assessment, I think. But I also think that John’s explanation smacks too much of a “nobody could have anticipated that the levees would break” kind of defense. The information was there that should have at least raised more questions to be answered.

    All that said, John’s come to the right conclusions about this regime, and my arguing about what he should have thought back then is kind of useless, so I’m not going to do it any further.

    Not on this thread, anyway. :)

  51. 51
    Pb says:

    BlogReeder,

    FYI… Literally billions of dollars in cash has gone missing, unaccounted for, or just outright stolen in Iraq:

    So? That’s the nature of the beast that is government spending.

    No, it’s actually breathtakingly worse; regarding one major contract, I quote: “the most blatant and improper contract abuse I have witnessed during the course of my professional career.” Of course, ‘In August 2005, she was demoted in what her lawyer called an “obvious reprisal” for her revelations about the Halliburton contracts.’

    How do you decide who gets the contract?

    In this case? Probably greed, partisanship, campaign contributions, bribes, you name it…

    But I do think this “Once in Iraq, there was virtually no accountability over how the money was spent.” is an outright lie.

    Oh really, do tell… If there was accountability, then where did the money go, or who has taken responsibility for the theft? I await your reasoned, well-sourced argument on this point.

  52. 52
    jg says:

    BlogReeder Says:

    FYI… Literally billions of dollars in cash has gone missing, unaccounted for, or just outright stolen in Iraq:

    So? That’s the nature of the beast that is government spending. How do you decide who gets the contract?

    The nature of the beast? Are you familiar with the phrase , ‘that’s the drug they feed you’? In this case it means shouting that all gov’t s are corrupt is an excuse to be corrupt and they feed you that line so you won’t be outraged.
    Who gets the contract? High dollar campaign donors. Not the most qualified company submitting ht elowest bid. Cronies who get paid whether they succeed or not.

    This is what happens when people snicker like school girls instead of asking how a senator got two votes and why did he change his mind.

  53. 53
    Vladi G says:

    I don’t think you’re statement is very controversial, John, but it’s also of absolutely no value. That’s kind of like someone who gets a speeding ticket who says “If I had a do-over, and the traffic conditions were exactly the same, and I was under the exact same time crunch, and I still didn’t see the cop, I would probably do it again.” Well duh, of course. If you were to go back in time, and all of the conditions were exactly the same as they were the first time, and you had no new knowledge that you could bring to the situation, I’d expect everyone would always do the exact same thing they did the first time. Saying that provides absolutely no insight.

  54. 54
    Pb says:

    Bombadil,

    I also think that John’s explanation smacks too much of a “nobody could have anticipated that the levees would break” kind of defense. The information was there that should have at least raised more questions to be answered.

    I see what you’re saying, and actually I nearly had the same reaction, but to be fair–and after trying to put myself in his place–I really don’t think that’s what he was trying to say. It’s about trust and personality as much as it is about the facts. I’m not John Cole, I don’t have his loyalties or his personality, and so I came to different conclusions, and I asked those questions.

    And as John said, “When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree.” He had his information, and experience, and he made his decision; I had different information and experience, and I made a different decision.

    But you didn’t want to discuss it further, so we can just agree to disagree on this. :)

  55. 55
    jg says:

    How do you decide who gets the contract?

    The long version:
    While you are sec def you push for military logistics to be outsourced (privatised baby yeah!). A company sprouts from this initiative. You leave your gov’t post and become CEO of that company. Then you leave that company and become the second most powerful person in the country (by your own choosing BTW) and push wars that will enrich the company you used to work for and that you pretty much founded (in the same way that Gore invented the internet) and in which you still own stock.

  56. 56
    Pb says:

    Vladi G,

    I’m also guessing that John was trying to say that given the circumstances, he doesn’t think he was acting unreasonable or irrational. He just trusted the wrong people, and therefore didn’t have or know all the facts. However, given different information, he would have made different decisions, which he might not have done had he actually been acting unreasonably or irrationally. That is to say, he’s ‘persuadable’. Some people apparently are not.

  57. 57
    BlogReeder says:

    Salvage, think of it as a pendulum that is swinging away from what America had done in the last 30 years. I mean, before GWB, weren’t we leaving the Middle East to its own devices? Except for Gulf War I that is. Did we attack Iran after the hostage crises? No. Did we pursue Saddam into Iraq after Kuwait? No. What did our diplomacy get us? 9/11.

  58. 58
    jill says:

    The truth was always out there. You and your rah-rah jingoistic friends chose not to see it. Go read Sy Hersh’s New Yorker articles from the end of ’01 until the middle of ’03, go read The Nation from the same time period, listen to Scott Ritter, Robin Cook and the Brit Kelly (?) who committed suicide after he accused British intel of “sexing up” the evidence. The majority of people who backed this fiasco accused all of my examples above of being loony leftists, unpatriotic and “with the terrorists”. GWB bullied the American people and politicians into supporting this absolutely failed policy that is now having dark and lasting effects on our own constitution. Iraq is nothing compared to what is happening now with legalizing torure, abandoning habeas corpus, and pardoning Bush and his cronies while leaving the low level soldiers who followed Bush’s orders in Abu Ghraib to serve time in jail. Atleast Nixon waited for Ford to pardon him, Bush is trying to pardon himself.

  59. 59
    Bruce Moomaw says:

    John, if it’s any comfort, Mark Kleiman and I supported the war initially too — and for the the same reason: we both thought that if Saddam really DID have an energetic nuclear-weapons program underway despite all the sanctions against him, it had to be crushed. And we both assumed that — while Bush was a definite dumbass, and Cheney and Rumsfeld might be venal as hell — the latter two were at least grownups, not suicidal idiots, and would therefore make sure that the nation didn’t get into a war that would actually DECREASE its safety from nuclear-terrorist attack (especially since there was, and still is, a real chance that C. and R. themselves would be in Washington when it went up in a ball of flame). Silly us. We both seriously overestimated their brains and seriously underestimated their hubris.

    Don’t forget that Kevin Drum and Josh Marshall also initially supported the war for generally similar reasons — they underestimated the sheer lunatic stupidity of the current White House crew, and thus their willingness to lie us into an utterly idiotic war.

  60. 60
    mrmobi says:

    BlogReeder:

    Although, you must realize that you could be accused of cherry picking.

    When has the government ever been accused of spending money wisely? I want to know.

    If you must know, how about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration?

    You are remarkably blase about this, BR. You must remember Howard Beal’s advice, “First, you’ve got to get mad!” You’re not one of those Grover Norquist “starve the government until it’s small enought to drown in a bathtub” people, are you? This administration’s record on that “smaller government” thing isn’t working out too well, is it?

    Seriously, though, it should make you furious that a critical component of the infrastructure necessary to enable the very police force which might make it possible to bring our troops home has been used as a cash cow by an American company? 20 years in prison sounds about right to me. Vote for some Democrats and you’ll see some hearings that will set your hair on fire.

    I don’t know about the company that was hired to do this work, but, given the administration’s penchant for hiring its’ base, I’d guess they are a big company with loyal Republican owners. Whatever their level of expertise, this appears to have been allowed to happen because of a lack of oversight by the Army Corps of Engineers, the folks who brought you the levees of New Orleans.

    Finally, BR, cherry-picking?
    You must mean all the re-building that has been successful. Well, maybe, no so much, huh? Do some reading. This conflict is going to go down as the worst-managed foreign policy catastrophe in our history. You will be watching years of FrontLine programs about the egregious incompetence of this group. I highly recommend “Fiasco” if you really want to absorb the underpinnings of this war.

  61. 61
    Pb says:

    BlogReeder,

    before GWB, weren’t we leaving the Middle East to its own devices? Except for Gulf War I that is.

    Yeah, bin Laden was pissed about that, by the way.

    Did we pursue Saddam into Iraq after Kuwait? No.

    Be glad that we didn’t, too:

    ‘While we hoped that popular revolt or coup would topple Saddam, neither the U.S. nor the countries of the region wished to see the breakup of the Iraqi state. We were concerned about the long-term balance of power at the head of the Gulf. Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in “mission creep,” and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.’s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different–and perhaps barren–outcome.’ — George H. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, Time, 03/02/1998

    We’re watching this play out now, just as they feared.

    What did our diplomacy get us? 9/11.

    It wasn’t diplomacy that got us 9/11, it was inaction. Clinton foiled the millenium plot, Bush sat on his hands.

  62. 62
    sglover says:

    I was composing a response to this, but TZ beat me to it. I think, John, you should also admit that a good deal of the knowledge you say you didn’t have then, you could have had, but you (and many others) dismissed or ignored it.

    I will go further. We are not (yet) the former Soviet Union; there are many media outfits that are a lot like Pravda, but there’s not (yet) a monolithic Ministry of Truth. The truly unprecedented thing about the run-up to the Iraq disaster was that it happened at a time when any interested citizen could effortlessly look beyond government propaganda, go to primary sources, and communicate directly with sceptics. We were (and are) awash in information. So it’s disingenuous as hell to say that we launched this misbegotten war out of ignorance. Anyone who says “If I knew then what I knew now” just wasn’t interested in “knowing” uncomfortable realities then. It’s no excuse.

  63. 63
    Tsulagi says:

    Really, I wish I could come up with an excuse for deleting my archives.

    That’s funny. We all have “archives” we wish we could delete.

    Not going to jump on, but there were plenty of holes in this admin’s claims and rationale to invade Iraq in public view. You didn’t have to have the inside info that led LTG Greg Newbold, director of operations for the Joint Chiefs, to call bullshit and resign four months before the invasion. People just didn’t want to see it. They wanted action. Be nice if it was directed a little better.

    Of course the real credit/blame belongs to Bush and his Republican enablers, not on those who trusted them. Think they’ll man-up to claim their own shit? Yeah, when they’re beamed up in the Rapture.

  64. 64
    sglover says:

    mrmobi, Pb, and others —
    You know that ‘Blogreeder’ is an ignoramus, and that by trying to argue with him you’re buying a sucker’s ticket to the Festival of Moving Goalposts, don’t you? I think that if you ignore the dumb bastard, eventually he’ll shove off.

  65. 65
    Bombadil says:

    Salvage, think of it as a pendulum that is swinging away from what America had done in the last 30 years. I mean, before GWB, weren’t we leaving the Middle East to its own devices? Except for Gulf War I that is. Did we attack Iran after the hostage crises? No. Did we pursue Saddam into Iraq after Kuwait? No. What did our diplomacy get us? 9/11.

    In what alternative universe would the argument be made that we were attacked because we tried diplomacy?

  66. 66
    Pb says:

    sglover,

    it’s disingenuous as hell to say that we launched this misbegotten war out of ignorance

    It’s also somewhat disingenuous to say that ‘we’ launched it. There wasn’t really a broad base of support for the war until it had already started. You could say that we didn’t stop it, but then, could we have stopped it? The largest protests ever weren’t over Vietnam, they were over this war.

    Anyone who says “If I knew then what I knew now” just wasn’t interested in “knowing” uncomfortable realities then. It’s no excuse.

    And it’s also most of America, sadly. But I can’t really blame them all for being busy and working to feed their families. However, surely some people could have or should have known better–and that goes triple for the media. I guess research isn’t cool, yo.

  67. 67
    Pb says:

    sglover,

    Shh…

    mrmobi, Pb, and others—You know that ‘Blogreeder’ is an ignoramus

    Yes.

    and that by trying to argue with him

    i.e., giving him more rope…

    you’re buying a sucker’s ticket to the Festival of Moving Goalposts, don’t you?

    Well, we’ll see if he has the balls to respond, or if he just tries to change the subject again.

    I think that if you ignore the dumb bastard, eventually he’ll shove off.

    If he keeps it up, I will eventually, although first, I’d tell him off. I have a low tolerance for the ‘play dumb’ routine a la scs, but Blogreeder is usually at least civil, which I appreciate.

  68. 68
    sglover says:

    It’s also somewhat disingenuous to say that ‘we’ launched it. There wasn’t really a broad base of support for the war until it had already started. You could say that we didn’t stop it, but then, could we have stopped it? The largest protests ever weren’t over Vietnam, they were over this war.

    Well…. I’ve always been one of those folks who never managed to work up too many tears for Dresden or Hiroshima, because Hitler and Tojo weren’t solo acts — their societies went along with their monstrosities. I really hate saying this — I’m an American, too — but I think we’re all complicit, now. Though I have to admit, I don’t know what more we could have done to stop the damn thing.

  69. 69
    ThymeZone says:

    how about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration?

    Not to mention FDA, FAA … regulatory agencies that protect lives, health and property every day.

    Not to mention the Interstate Highway System which has made commerce over the vast territory of the 48 states possible.

    Not to mention the original (pre-Shuttle) space program, which has repayed its investment costs many times over.

    Not to mention public education, which helped America become a world leader in the twentieth century. Not to mention the land grant colleges and the …..

    Well, you get the idea.

  70. 70
    Skip says:

    As the very first comment suggested, at the very least you are guilty of extreme gullibility.

    But more importantly, the standards for waging pre-emptive major war are surely higher than simply accepting the “information” you were “given.” When nearly the whole world sees the evidence otherwise, I would suggest more examining of the evidence and less puerile jokes about the French.

  71. 71
    mrmobi says:

    Did we attack Iran after the hostage crises? No. Did we pursue Saddam into Iraq after Kuwait? No. What did our diplomacy get us? 9/11.

    I’ll tell you what our diplomacy didn’t get us, BlogReeder. Hundreds of billions of dollars of debt, thousands dead, tens of thousands permanently disfigured and a de-stabilized Middle-East.

    Those of you in the “War First” party seem to think that because we are the only remaining super-power, we can do whatever the fuck we want. News Flash One, war doesn’t achieve anything. News Flash Two, we don’t have the battle-ready troops, the equipment or the leadership to wage any more wars for some time to come.

    Last time I checked (today), people in the military were saying they need lots of cash and several years to get their forces back into fighting shape, not to mention all the equipment which must be re-furbished. Stay the Course is not an option, here in the real world. You’re going to have to buy some really violent video games to keep yourselves busy, because we just don’t have the horses.

    Our diplomacy did not get us 9/11. We got 9/11 because the Bush administration did not take the threat from Al Qaeda seriously. Condi Rice referred to the “Bin Laden intent on attacking America” PDB as a “historical document.” The Attorney General told a subordinate to “stop talking about terrorism.” Does it sound to you like they had a plan at the time?
    So where are the money, troops and equipment going to come from for this never-ending series of wars? You guys make me laugh.

  72. 72
    Bombadil says:

    So where are the money, troops and equipment going to come from for this never-ending series of wars? You guys make me laugh.

    mrmobi, you either have a stranger sense of humor than I do, or a stronger stomach.

  73. 73

    I really don’t understand what is so controversial about this statement:

    I didn’t think your statement was controversial at all.

    I guess my confusion is quite honestly that I never understood the argument for invasion. I mean it’s not that I’m opposed to war. It’s not even that I’m opposed to knocking over Saddam Hussein. I simply did not understand how any rational person could look at reality and come to the conclusion “Hey, this sounds like a good idea.”

    Now in large part that opinion came about because of the way the War was proposed and the way it was argued. This wasn’t a “Good for the country” justification. It was a “Good for the Party” justification. That is, the experiment was dreamed up thinking it was going to be a cakewalk, over in three weeks with Bush riding atop a white horse and breaking ground on the foundation of the Arch d’Triumph in Washington DC. It was very much like the Terri Schiavo “Hey, this will make the Democrats look bad” type of political theatre. This was blatantly obvious in September of 2002, and it’s certainly been well established now via plenty of leaked documents.

    Now if your argument is simply that you didn’t want to spend the time to understand and think about the ramifications of the decision, but rather were willing to simply trust that the leadership had your best interests in mind. I can understand where you are coming from.

    But if you really really believed that invade Iraq was a good idea, and not just because GW Bush told you so. Man, I would really love to understand why.

  74. 74

    But more importantly, the standards for waging pre-emptive major war are surely higher than simply accepting the “information” you were “given.” When nearly the whole world sees the evidence otherwise, I would suggest more examining of the evidence and less puerile jokes about the French.

    I just want to correct a mistake a lot of people make.

    Invading Iraq was not pre-emptive.

    It was preventative. Japanese attacking our bases a Pearl Harbor was also a preventative strike. That is, there was no danger that the US was going to attack Japan. But there was a concern that the US might attack Japan in the future.

    I just want people to fully understand the signifigance of this.

    By calling it pre-emptive you muddy the water.

    No offense, it’s just a pet peeve of mine.

  75. 75
    Krista says:

    Anyone who says “If I knew then what I knew now” just wasn’t interested in “knowing” uncomfortable realities then. It’s no excuse.

    I can’t really blame people who supported it. I wasn’t in their shoes, and people were scared, confused, and looking for answers. I do wish that those people had been more willing to listen to those who were opposed to the war, however, instead of dismissing their concerns and accusing them of being “soft on terror”. That “you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists” kind of rhetoric served no purpose except to cripple any sort of productive discussion and debate.

    Hopefully, if the shoe is on the other foot someday (and it might be, politicians being the asshats that they are), we’ll remember what happened here and won’t close off debate.

    Hopefully.

  76. 76
    salvage says:

    I mean, before GWB, weren’t we leaving the Middle East to its own devices?

    No.

    Except for Gulf War I that is.

    There was a lot more than just that.

    Did we attack Iran after the hostage crises?
    No.

    Of course not, that would have been madness.

    Did we pursue Saddam into Iraq after Kuwait? No.

    Of course not, that would have been madness. And I quote the President Bush who didn’t screw everything up:

    Trying to eliminate Saddam, extending the ground war into an occupation of Iraq, would have violated our guideline about not changing objectives in midstream, engaging in “mission creep,” and would have incurred incalculable human and political costs. Apprehending him was probably impossible. We had been unable to find Noriega in Panama, which we knew intimately. We would have been forced to occupy Baghdad and, in effect, rule Iraq. The coalition would instantly have collapsed, the Arabs deserting it in anger and other allies pulling out as well. Under those circumstances, furthermore, we had been self-consciously trying to set a pattern for handling aggression in the post-cold war world. Going in and occupying Iraq, thus unilaterally exceeding the U.N.’s mandate, would have destroyed the precedent of international response to aggression we hoped to establish. Had we gone the invasion route, the U.S. could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land. It would have been a dramatically different–and perhaps barren–outcome.

    What did our diplomacy get us? 9/11.

    9/11 was a terrorist act commited by terrorists that HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IRAQ and even less to do with diplomacy. That’s like saying we have laws against rape yet women still get raped so what do laws get us? In other words very shoddy thinking.

  77. 77
    BlogReeder says:

    mrmobi: ..of you must know, how about Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration?

    I really don’t have to look too hard to come up with stories just as bad as John’s example about each and everyone of those. All I’m saying is that if you’re spending other people’s money on other people, you’re not as careful.

    Pb: ..If he keeps it up, I will eventually, although first, I’d tell him off.

    Bring it on!

  78. 78
    BlogReeder says:

    9/11 was a terrorist act commited by terrorists

    Exactly. For the last 30 years we were going after them one way, now we’re doing it another. Maybe it’ll work. We haven’t had an attack in 5 years that hasn’t been against the military. Before 9/11 there were several attacks to American interests abroad. What’s different now?

  79. 79
    RSA says:

    We haven’t had an attack in 5 years that hasn’t been against the military. Before 9/11 there were several attacks to American interests abroad. What’s different now?

    From infoplease, under the heading Terrorist Attacks (within the United States or against Americans abroad):

    2002
    June 14, Karachi, Pakistan: bomb exploded outside American consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing 12. Linked to al-Qaeda.

    2003
    May 12, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: suicide bombers killed 34, including 8 Americans, at housing compounds for Westerners. Al-Qaeda suspected.

    2004
    May 29–31, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists attack the offices of a Saudi oil company in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, take foreign oil workers hostage in a nearby residential compound, leaving 22 people dead including one American.

    June 11–19, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: terrorists kidnap and execute Paul Johnson Jr., an American, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 2 other Americans and BBC cameraman killed by gun attacks.
    Dec. 6, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: terrorists storm the U.S. consulate, killing 5 consulate employees. 4 terrorists were killed by Saudi security.

    2005

    Nov. 9, Amman, Jordan: Suicide bombers hit 3 American hotels, Radisson, Grand Hyatt, and Days Inn, in Amman, Jordan, killing 57. Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility.

  80. 80
    HyperIon says:

    People just didn’t want to see it. They wanted action.

    this is what i think. and i don’t see how saying “if only i knew then” addresses this aspect of the matter. i remember so many people saying “we have to strike back. we have to show them.” it was not rational; it was emotional/visceral.

    yet now some folks (not just John Cole) want to say that if they had just been supplied with other information, they would have reasoned differently. i disagree…it wasn’t about reasoning. it was about wanting to hit back.

    “you want to hit back?” “yeah, i do.” “and so do i!” “so let’s do it.” “yeah!” this is not reasoning.

  81. 81

    TAFKAGOP4Me…google Babylon and helicopter pad. It will take you to plenty. I don’t have a direct link, I got my information from some Archaeology journals and articles. I’ve been sitting on this for a couple of years as the news filters out

    Thanks. Found it.

    Absolutely shameless. At this point, I wouldn’t trust Bush to hold a door open for me. When it inevitably slammed into my face, my only question would be whether Bush let it happen due to incompetence, or if he was doing it on purpose.

  82. 82
    salvage says:

    Exactly. For the last 30 years we were going after them one way, now we’re doing it another. Maybe it’ll work. We haven’t had an attack in 5 years that hasn’t been against the military. Before 9/11 there were several attacks to American interests abroad. What’s different now?

    Homer: Ah, not a bear terrorists in sight. The Bear Patrol invasion of Iraq must be working.

    Lisa: That’s specious reasoning, Dad.

    Homer: Thank you, honey.

    Lisa: By your logic, this rock invasion of Pago Pago keeps tigers terrorists away.

    Homer: Oh? How does it work?

    Lisa: It doesn’t work.

    Homer: Uh-huh.

    Lisa: It’s just a stupid rock island.

    Homer: Uh-huh.

    Lisa: But I don’t see any tigers terrorists around here, do you?

    pause

    Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock Pago Pago invasion!

    Lisa Haliburton shurgs takes the money

  83. 83
    mrmobi says:

    GOP4Me: you don’t even need to ask, he’s doing it on purpose. Happy to help.

  84. 84
    RSA says:

    When it inevitably slammed into my face, my only question would be whether Bush let it happen due to incompetence, or if he was doing it on purpose.

    Boy, the malice versus incompetence question really comes into sharp focus when Bush is the subject.

  85. 85
    John Cole says:

    this is what i think. and i don’t see how saying “if only i knew then” addresses this aspect of the matter. i remember so many people saying “we have to strike back. we have to show them.” it was not rational; it was emotional/visceral.

    yet now some folks (not just John Cole) want to say that if they had just been supplied with other information, they would have reasoned differently. i disagree…it wasn’t about reasoning. it was about wanting to hit back.

    I think to some extent this is true- there was a sentiment of retaliation. But in my case, it was more a matter of never again, and we will stop this threat before we get hit again. That, and I really did (and, the idealist in me still does) believe in reshaping the middle east as the key foundation to ending terrorism.

  86. 86
    salvage says:

    in reshaping the middle east as the key foundation to ending terrorism.

    True. However it’s up to the people in the Middle East to do the shaping.

  87. 87
    capelza says:

    RSA…when you list terrorist attacks against Americans, don’t forget the Anthrax letters.

  88. 88
    mrmobi says:

    Exactly. For the last 30 years we were going after them one way, now we’re doing it another. Maybe it’ll work.

    Jeebus, BlogReeder. Did you read any of my post? What army are we going to continue to fight this enemy with? It has not worked, and it is ending very badly, both in Iraq and Afghanistan. We don’t need maybe, we need a plan, and we need it before our troops get caught in the crossfire of a sectarian war.

    I guess in a very backhanded way, we have something to thank the Bush administration for. They are proving conclusively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that this kind of enemy cannot be defeated by military force alone.

    John Kerry was right. He said during the 2004 campaign that Police work and Intelligence are the main tools needed to fight this enemy. He may have been a crappy candidate, but he clearly has a better grasp of foreign policy than Bush ever will.

    I really don’t have to look too hard to come up with stories just as bad as John’s example about each and everyone of those.

    Yes, you are correct. So what? All of those agencies still do a great deal of good. Mr. McFlightSuit and his party have been chronically underfunding the Veterans Administration, and, guess what, there is a huge deficit. In the Party of Torture that’s called “Supporting The Troops,” isn’t it? Someone should write a “New Speak” dictionary based on the sayings of the grand old party, it would put George Orwell to shame.

  89. 89
    capelza says:

    The Asshole Formerly Known as GOP4Me Says:

    Thanks. Found it.

    Absolutely shameless.

    It is, isn’t it. Heartbreaking is the right word. I condemn what the Taliban did and still does in Afghanistan to the sites there. It isn’t just the giant Buddhas, but other sites that are pre-islamic. A very special place called Ai-Khanum, only recently in the past few decades excavated and was an Alexandrian city had been bulldozed by them. Barbarians…but we weren’t much better in this case.

    It makes me wonder how careless we have been in our “liberation” as evidenced by so much, including John’s example.

  90. 90

    Police Academy Debacle in Iraq

    “A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.” (WaPo) McQ @…

  91. 91
    BlogReeder says:

    From infoplease, under the heading Terrorist Attacks (within the United States or against Americans abroad):

    RSA, naturally not those terrorist attacks. Good site to remember.

    Humperdink: Ah, my dulcet darling! Tonight, we marry. [turns to Yellin]
    Tomorrow morning your men will escort us to Florin Channel, where every ship in my armada waits to accompany us on our honeymoon.

    Buttercup: [disturbed] Every ship but your four fastest, you mean.
    [Humperdinck looks confused]. Every ship but the four you sent.
    Humperdink: [recovering badly] Yes. Yes of course. Naturally not those four.

  92. 92
    HyperIon says:

    That, and I really did (and, the idealist in me still does) believe in reshaping the middle east as the key foundation to ending terrorism.

    i believe this also but then why don’t we put maximum effort into the palestinian “problem”?

    whatever happens in iraq, it will do nothing to address that. we could actually effect change on that issue. yes, it would mean being less cozy with israel and piss of many US citizens but a solution (several solutions, in fact) can be devised. and IMO, ignoring the palestinian cause ultimately leads to the destruction of israel…they WILL be overwhelmed at some point.

  93. 93

    Exactly. For the last 30 years we were going after them one way, now we’re doing it another. Maybe it’ll work. We haven’t had an attack in 5 years that hasn’t been against the military. Before 9/11 there were several attacks to American interests abroad. What’s different now?

    It’s interesting that you ignore London, Madrid, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, etc. etc. etc. where terrorism has struck at a much greater rate than in years past. Such a parochial mindset is enabling of Al Qaeda.

    If you read Imperial Hubris, which came out in 2004 and as such isn’t a new concept, Michael Scheuer argues that we haven’t been hit because they aren’t trying. Instead what Al Qaeda is doing is hitting our allies, the goal being to divide us from them.

    And we seem to be more than happy to just play along with our little parochial view that it’s better them then us.

  94. 94

    It is, isn’t it. Heartbreaking is the right word. I condemn what the Taliban did and still does in Afghanistan to the sites there. It isn’t just the giant Buddhas, but other sites that are pre-islamic. A very special place called Ai-Khanum, only recently in the past few decades excavated and was an Alexandrian city had been bulldozed by them. Barbarians…but we weren’t much better in this case.

    Yes. The Taliban, in addition to hating women and Hazaras and religious minorities of every stripe, are barbarian vandals. But incidents like this do a lot to erode our moral superiority in that regard. And now that we torture people, we’re well on our way down into the gutter alongside these vandals over whom we lord this lofty notion of our enlightenment and our civilization.

  95. 95
    Pb says:

    BlogReeder,

    I really don’t have to look too hard to come up with

    So do it, then. You have yet to credibly support any ‘argument’ you’ve made yet, unless you consider ignorance or willful blindness to be a credible source. Put up or shut up–and get cracking, because I’m done doing your homework for you.

  96. 96
    capelza says:

    I think that is what bothers me the most, aside from the carnage…is the idea that I was raised with…the United States was a special place, that we progress. The Founding Fathers laid the foundations and we advance from there…slavery was ended, women were emancipated. We knew we weren’t perfect, but a hell of a lot better than most everyone else.

    Now..not so much.

  97. 97
    Mac Buckets says:

    Hey, look at MacBuckets and Darrell.. incredibly they STILL believe.

    You haven’t got the faintest idea of what I believe. Stop pretending you have that level of depth.

  98. 98
    jg says:

    is the idea that I was raised with…the United States was a special place, that we progress. The Founding Fathers laid the foundations and we advance from there…slavery was ended, women were emancipated. We knew we weren’t perfect, but a hell of a lot better than most everyone else.

    That’s because clearly you weren’t educated by those who don’t believe in human equality. Who don’t believe we can live without a noble class or aristocracy. Those who felt we were being disloyal to the king. Conservatives.

  99. 99
    jg says:

    Mac Buckets Says:

    Hey, look at MacBuckets and Darrell.. incredibly they STILL believe.

    You haven’t got the faintest idea of what I believe. Stop pretending you have that level of depth.

    Because you never say what you believe. You just attack the people who are saying anything the left cheers.

  100. 100
    capelza says:

    jg Says:

    That’s because clearly you weren’t educated by those who don’t believe in human equality. Who don’t believe we can live without a noble class or aristocracy. Those who felt we were being disloyal to the king. Conservatives.

    Actually I was raised by Conservatives. Not the morphed out of recognition “conservatives” of the past decade ot two, byt real ones. Even a Southern Baptist minister, my grandfather. He was the one who taught me that all people were equal and he supported the Civil Rights movement to his own cost. But he was a Republican till the day he died.

    My mother was a huge Goldwater supporter, “Goldwater, Goldwater, he’s own man…throw old Johnson in the trash can!”..from my school yard in 1964. Though my mom’s a character..she belongs to the NRA and is an activist environmentalist, too.

  101. 101
    ThymeZone says:

    Because you never say what you believe. You just attack the people who are saying anything the left cheers.

    You have to admit, the guy has the act down cold. Never take a position or strongly argue anything, and then say “You don’t know what I believe.”

    Well, close. At this point, why would anyone care what he believes?

  102. 102
    jg says:

    Actually I was raised by Conservatives.

    Cool. I was mostly joking around anyway. BTW I said educated not raised. I was making a joke about all those who beleive in a living document constitution were educated by northeast liberals who don’t teach the Civil War right either. Plus I read that the conservative movement was born from the Tories from the Revolutionary War.

  103. 103
    jg says:

    You have to admit, the guy has the act down cold. Never take a position or strongly argue anything, and then say “You don’t know what I believe.”

    All he does is tell us we shouldn’t listen to The Mustache or The Sock Puppet or whoever else for which he has a handy putdown nickname. Funny thing is he knows we are well aware of what it says about a person who has to give opponenets funny putdown nicknames. Yet he does it anyway.

  104. 104
    kb says:

    That, and I really did (and, the idealist in me still does) believe in reshaping the middle east as the key foundation to ending terrorism.

    Right, so your view on how to end Islamic terrorism was to destroy the most secular government in the middle east….

    One that had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks.
    Here in the UK even Blair didn’t have the gall to try and pretend Saddam had anything to do with that. He would have been laughed out of office if he had tried.Instead of limping on whining about he is still important.

    Those of us who were actually following the news and checking out the evidence that was (at least outside the US) widely available were rather less than convinced.

    I suppose when the UN, the EU , france ,russia ,china etc are all saying “no wmds” theres no reason to believe any of them….

    After all GWB & rumsfeld are more believable…….

    And it was obvious in 2003, never mind 2004 that the above was true. Still ‘heh french surrender monkeys’ was the easier solution than actually looking at the evidence.

  105. 105
    RSA says:

    I forgot about anthrax! Inconceivable, given what just happened to Olberman.

  106. 106
    Skip says:

    ‘not a pre-emptive war but a preventative war.”

    Then why the extensive effort to justify preemptive war, right before the invasion?
    What was being prevented? Smacks of sophistry.

  107. 107
    jg says:

    RSA Says:

    I forgot about anthrax! Inconceivable, given what just happened to Olberman.

    That was just a prank, probably fraternal in nature. Remember if it happens to sworn enemies of the United States, within (liberals) and without (terrorists), its a prank.

  108. 108

    Now..not so much

    Yep. It’s a very sad thing. Bush has done what even Nixon and Reagan couldn’t do, he’s broken the heart of the American dream.

    This is the first time in I’ve given serious thought to moving to New Zealand. Or Hong Kong. Or China. Shit, at the rate things are going, in 5 years China will have the moral high ground vis-a-vis the US.

  109. 109
    kb says:

    “It’s interesting that you ignore London, Madrid, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, etc. etc. etc. where terrorism has struck at a much greater rate than in years past. Such a parochial mindset is enabling of Al Qaeda.”

    Hmm, In the UK , the Northern Islands troubles used be responsible for around 100 deaths a year(mainly in NI).

    AQ and chums have managed to kill 52 people since ,say,2001
    10 a year ?
    Around 50 people a year commit suicide by jumping in front of a london underground train.

  110. 110
    capelza says:

    GOP4Me…the hub and I have talked about it at times…though we’d probably head for the hills of Alaska, but I survived Nixon and he survived Vietnam..so I’ll wait it out. I worry for the kids, though, they are the ones who have to clean this up.

    Was over at OB reading about this article..the one that John posted.

    Just passing it on if someone wants to look it up:

    The best part is Saddam Hussein fired Parsons Corp. back in the 1980s, apparently for their incompetence in failing to build a subway for Baghdad on-time and on-budget.

    Posted by: BruceR | September 28, 2006 at 01:30 PM

    Don’t know if it’s metaphor, but if true..really, really fucking satiricaaly sad to me. It isn’t just the Police Academy, but a lot of other buildings. I thik even the Soviets left better buildings when they occupied or “advised” countries…now THAT is pathetic.

  111. 111
    ThymeZone says:

    This is the first time in I’ve given serious thought to moving to New Zealand

    Don’t do it, man. They’re sheep down there.

  112. 112
    vetiver says:

    John Cole, I object to statements like your uncontroversial one above because they’re not only boring, they’re vacuous. If we could unspin the globe back to early 2003, of course you’d make the same decisions. So would we all. Why even bother saying it?

    The whole point of hindsight or retrospection or history is to identify the places in which we could have done things differently–not through superhuman effort, just by seeing or thinking about things differently, taking advantage of opportunities we missed or rejected then. Ideally, we’ll use the pattern-seeking capabilities of our primate brain to recognize similar situations in the future and use our hard-worn knowledge to avoid making that particular mistake again. But as we know, what’s ideal is not universal or even common.

    Which is why the escalating campaign for war on Iran should fail, but won’t.

  113. 113
    p.lukasiak says:

    The reason the statement is controversial is that you didn’t say what you later purported to say…

    Here is what you originally said…

    In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing.

    and here is your revised statement

    if we were warped back in time, absent any knowledge of what has happened in the past 4-5 years, to the same exact spot we were during the run-up to the war, I probably would have acted the same way.

    in reality, the second statement is meaningless… whereas the first statement says “I’ve learned nothing over the past five years. I haven’t learned to be more skeptical of those in power, more wary of my own instinctive/emotional reactions, and more respectful of those who disagree with me.”

    Its the kind of statement that, were we ever to arrange to meet, would compel me to show up wearing an “I’m with Stupid” T-shirt.

    Now, the fact is that you aren’t that stupid — for example, you are more than willing to raise serious questions about military action against Iran. Five years ago, if Bush had been selling a war against Iran rather than Iraq, you would have bought into it lock, stock, and barrel.

    Bottom line…your original statement was an attempt to avoid admitting that you were an idiot back in 2002-2003… Well you’re still an idiot, because you don’t recognize (or won’t acknowledge) that you have learned something over the past five years.

    Those of us who opposed the war in Iraq from the start weren’t the people who suffered from Bush Derangement Syndrome, it was people like you. We were the ones being skeptical, asking the questions, and seeing clearly. You weren’t. The information was available — you were just too “deranged” by 9/11 to process it.

  114. 114
    Sojourner says:

    Now..not so much.

    Be patient. The U.S. will come back. 20, 40, 100 years from now, Americans will look back on this time and say “Never again.” They will learn from the mistakes and cowardice of the Americans of this generation.

    America will return to her former glory. It just may not be in our lifetimes.

    Never underestimate the resilience of this country.

  115. 115
    Decided FenceSitter says:

    Sojourner, I am patient that we will say “Never Again” and then find some new way to remove rights for security. It IS the consistent pattern.

  116. 116

    […] He would have done the same thing. When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree. In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing. […]

  117. 117

    […] In Iraq, apparently a police academy building was so poorly built that it has to be tore down and rebuilt. Most annoying about this is that this building was constructed by the corp of engineeers. Juan Cole from Baloon Juice has this to say: Such is life. This story highlights what is so frustrating about having to live with this decision- the construction of a viable Iraqi police force, not based on sectarian rivalries and long-festering hatreds and with a motivation that goes beyond settling Hussein-era scores is one of the most important things that needs to be done in the reconstruction. I know that, you know that, and the administration knows it. You would think we would approach the situation with a degree of seriousness and with a fully committed desire to succeed. You would think, at the very least, the Police Acadamy would have a solid PHYSICAL foundation. […]

  118. 118
    vadkins says:

    This post and most of the comments are a perfect example of what Professor Victor Davis Hanson wrote in his post, The Will of the President:

    In all these cases, it is hard to see without a Lincoln, Churchill, FDR, or Truman, how civilization would have withstood the forces of chattel slavery, fascism, or communism. So too in our own time. Whatever one says about George W. Bush, it is not at all clear that an Al Gore would have gone to Afghanistan after 9/11. And despite the acrimony over Iraq (a war sanctioned in October 2002 by a majority of Democratic Senators, and supported by 75% of the populace when Saddam’s statue fell), almost any other politician would long ago have bailed on the enterprise—given the unprecedented level of slurs. Each day another low point is reached—to kill George Bush by now has been the subject of a Broadway Play, late-night comedy, an Alfred Knopf Novel, and recently a new British docu-drama.

    And yet here we are, 5 years after 9/11 without another attack, and struggling democracies fighting terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    I have no confidence that Mr. Bush’s approval ratings will return to 50%, but a great deal that history will look kindly on his resolve. And while I can fathom the hysterical Left’s hatred of him, and perhaps even the crazy attacks from the paleo-right, what is inexplicable and unpardonable is the venom from the neocon erstwhile supporters of Iraq.

    And I bet none of you people have the wisdom of VDH-who still supports President Bush and the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns in the WOT.

  119. 119
    poofla says:

    Mr. Cole,
    The question is, will you remember all of this when it comes to Iran?

  120. 120
    Skip says:

    “And I bet none of you people have the wisdom of VDH-who still supports President Bush and the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns in the WOT.”

    Ah, to have the wisdom of Victor Davis Hanson and team it with the historical perspectiev of, say, a May Fly.

    VDH— an icon of wrongness.

  121. 121

    You know it is real tempting…

    To say I told you so. The current mia culpas coming from the right almost cry out for it. I could point out that all of us who criticized this war were called traitors, Bush Haters and worse. But not…

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. You know it is real tempting…

    To say I told you so. The current mia culpas coming from the right almost cry out for it. I could point out that all of us who criticized this war were called traitors, Bush Haters and worse. But not…

  2. […] In Iraq, apparently a police academy building was so poorly built that it has to be tore down and rebuilt. Most annoying about this is that this building was constructed by the corp of engineeers. Juan Cole from Baloon Juice has this to say: Such is life. This story highlights what is so frustrating about having to live with this decision- the construction of a viable Iraqi police force, not based on sectarian rivalries and long-festering hatreds and with a motivation that goes beyond settling Hussein-era scores is one of the most important things that needs to be done in the reconstruction. I know that, you know that, and the administration knows it. You would think we would approach the situation with a degree of seriousness and with a fully committed desire to succeed. You would think, at the very least, the Police Acadamy would have a solid PHYSICAL foundation. […]

  3. […] He would have done the same thing. When it comes to the war in Iraq, I still think that I was right to support it, given the information I was using to base my decision. Others can disagree. In fact, I will go so far to say that were things to play out the same way again today, given the same information, the same state the country was in post 9/11, I would probably do the same exact thing. […]

  4. Police Academy Debacle in Iraq

    “A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.” (WaPo) McQ @…

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