Op-Eds Made Simple

The NY Times has nine op-eds to mark the 5th anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. Because I care about you all, I will simplify these op-eds into one sentence or less, each featuring the f-word. You will then be spared the pain of reading them.

Paul Bremer: “We fucked up, but it wasn’t my fault and I think Bush kinda fixed things last year.”

Richard Perle– “Things went great until those pussies at the State Department fucked up trying to fix what we bombed.”

Anne-Marie Slaugher: “This undertaking was fucked from the beginning.”


Kenneth M. Pollack
– “If you think we are fucked right now, wait until you see what happens if we try to leave.”

Danielle Pletka– “The anti-war left was right about everything, but I still fucking hate them and will use this column to trash them.”


Nathaniel Flick
– “Our fuck-ups can all be traced back to the fear we would be slimed.”

Major General Paul D. Eaton– “The sycophantic Republican Congress has fucked the military for a long time coming.”


Fred Kagan
– “I love my fucking pompoms, and am currently applying for the job of Chief Assistant Fluffer for General Petraeus.”

Anthony Cordesman– “Bush/Cheney- Worst fucking administration EVAH.”

If you think I am exaggerating, read these for yourself.

87 replies
  1. 1
    empty says:

    I don’t think even Cordesman gets it. The problem is not just that the occupation was carried out ineptly. It is that the occupation was ever attempted.

  2. 2

    What I found most interesting is that everyone of these folks is saying almost exactly the same thing they’ve been saying since things took a “turn for the worse” in Iraq. Just how fucking blind are these morons?

  3. 3
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Pletka’s piece is the most insulting rubbish I have read in years. John’s summary is fair and accurate. I can only wish I was James Cagney, and had a.) a grapefruit half, and b.) Ms. Pletka near.

    I didn’t realize that being right too soon, but in a strident way, was the moral equivalent of being wrong.

  4. 4
    jake says:

    This is brilliant. And I notice some of the writers have something in common.

  5. 5
    qwerty42 says:

    Matt Yglesias has a great observation on this here. He argues:
    …they’re all focuses on the execution of the war and none treat the strategic issue of Iraq. But Iraq has been, first and foremost, a strategic miscalculation based on a disastrously wrongheaded conception of the strategic challenge revealed on 9/11/01.

    Matt’s post isn’t lengthy, but its central para is right on the money. He concludes suggesting Warren Strobel of McClatchy has a better perspective here.

  6. 6
    Jen says:

    I spent the weekend watching “No End in Sight.” Sheesh. I recommend it. And if someone could please tell me who the actor is who Col. Paul Hughes (kicks butt in this documentary) reminds me of so strongly, I would appreciate it.

  7. 7
    slippy hussein toad says:

    Who let Richard Perle have a typewriter? What the fuck does that ignorant gasbag have to say?

    Oh yeah, a whole lot of nothing.

  8. 8
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    You’ll all be singing a different tune when we get it right in Iran.
    /snark

  9. 9
    bdr says:

    I used to think that the weight of maintaining kayfabe for such a collection of assclowns would cause one to inadvertently break kayfabe, but I overestimated their deceit, which isn’t deceit, it’s stupid:

    If they’re stupid enough to actually believe this bullshit there IS no kayfabe to break.

    What’s perverse is that we’d be better off if they WERE duplicitous assholes with a secret agenda than we are with them believing their own stupid-ass propaganda.

    The difference between being good and fucked and being fucked over.

  10. 10
    Palooza says:

    Let’s put it this way. There are two buildings next to each other. One is set for demolition, the other is not. The demolition company proceeds to knock down the one not slated for demo. They realize their mistake and spend big bucks and several years rebuilding the building they should not have knocked down in the first place. The rebuild caused their resources to be drained and causes them to pass up other jobs that will help their bottom line.

    Could you ever describe anything in this scenario as “a success? (even if the rebuild went swimmingly?)

    Well, that is what the current set of dead-enders are doing. With “progress” made in the Surge being the proof of “success” in Iraq. Iraq, because it was based on a false premise, will and can never be successful. Rather it is a waste of valuable time and resources. The war dead-enders simply keep lowering the bar to the point where its meaningless.

  11. 11
    ACK says:

    God, I love this blog. Funny.

  12. 12
    qwerty42 says:

    Should have added that Matt refers to this description by Ilan Goldenberg. I expect we’ll hear more about this collection of articles over the next few days, and in more detail. This is how Goldenberg concludes:
    …Let’s face it, the failure was in the initial concept and the fact that the Times feels like it needs to give both Pletka and Kagan a spot, and can’t find us a Korb, Graham, or Bacevich to make the strategic failure argument is pathetic.

    And for God’s sake. With 9 Pieces about Iraq, perhaps the Times should have had at least one piece by ummm…. perhaps an Iraqi? But after all who cares what they think. Fred Kagan and Danielle Pletka tell it like it is.

    On the bright side. No Mike O’Hanlon.

  13. 13
    El Cid says:

    Whenever I am curious as to the types and strengths of arguments being presented by the “anti-war left”, I make sure to turn to the American Enterprise Institute, since they are the best people to ask on the subject, given their deep commitment to intellectual honesty and their strong background in leftist thought.

  14. 14
    Dennis - SGMM says:

    With 9 Pieces about Iraq, perhaps the Times should have had at least one piece by ummm…. perhaps an Iraqi?

    Achmed Chalabi was too busy?

  15. 15
    joe says:

    It’s funny how the media is such a lagging indicator.

    Just now, in March 08, when levels of violence have been trending back up for two months, there is a story on the front page of the Boston Globe about how violence declined in Iraq last fall and winter.

    I wonder how long it’s going to take them to notice that it’s rising again? I’m setting June as the over/under.

  16. 16
    zack says:

    I particularly like Fred “pom-pom boy” Kagan’s comments:

    Above all, the compassion and concern our soldiers have consistently shown to civilians and even to defeated and captured enemies have turned the tide of Iraqi opinion.

    Too bad he didn’t bother to find out, you know, what Iraqi opinion really is. As recent polls by the State Department (and others) show:

    A strong majority of Iraqis want U.S.-led military forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence…

    And then there was this really big laugh line:

    Within a year, our forces went from imminent defeat to creating the prospect of success…..ever say we were close to “imminent defeat” …???

    Please, these war cheerleaders have never said that. They’ve always said how glorious the war is going – if only the American-hating press would just report it.

    That is, after all, why he’s always shaking those pom-poms.

  17. 17
    Mohjho says:

    Everything the republicans did was cool until their hedge funds started to tank.

  18. 18

    Pletka’s article is quite an achievement, fitting that many lies and distortions into three brief paragraphs. I’ll address just one of them– that Iraqis were presented with the gift of freedom, but were too immature to take advantage of it.

    We failed to provide any security anywhere except outside the oil ministry. So crime escalated, and chaos ensued. Naturally, people turned to anything they could to try to get some measure of security. Just as if all civil functioning ceased in Chicago tomorrow, you would eventually see violence along racial lines.

    That doesn’t make racial violence inevitable; it merely establishes that anarchy isn’t conducive to social cohesion.

  19. 19
    RSA says:

    You are on a fucking roll today, John.

    Fred Kagan- “I love my fucking pompoms, and am currently applying for the job of Chief Assistant Fluffer for General Petraeus.”

    I’d have said, “The bigger our guns and bombs, the more I fucking love them.”

  20. 20
    ThymeZone says:

    I will simplify these op-eds into one sentence or less, each featuring the f-word.

    This is THE best blog on the intertrons.

  21. 21
    Tsulagi says:

    Always looking at the fucking negative. You got to think of the invaluable service the Bush 43 years have provided.

    Future presidents under fire will be able to say “You think I’VE fucked up?! Take a little look at the start of this century.”

    For generations of Special Olympians to come who may have self-esteem problems they’re not smart enough for a job in government service…that’s been fucking put to rest.

  22. 22
    Rick Taylor says:

    Thank you, John; the summaries were hard enough to read, I don’t know if I could bear the gory details.

    I don’t suppose of them said anything along the lines of, “Maybe invading Iraq in the first place wasn’t such a good idea after all”?

  23. 23
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    I will simplify these op-eds into one sentence or less, each featuring the f-word.

    I only see the word fix in the first two of your summaries, John. What about the others? These fine public servants and savants were assembled by the NYT for the purposes of telling us how to fix..

    .. the blame for this mess.

    Were they not?

  24. 24
    Rick Taylor says:

    Hmmmm. I think you were far too generous to Kevin Pollack. How about:

    It doesn’t matter that we invaded a country under completely false pretenses, ignoring our allies who tried to warn us, and with no idea what we were doing; all that’s important is that we leave Iraq a better place than before we invade it, so that people will appreciate my good intentions, so sadly undermined by the reckless arrogance of the Bush administration.

  25. 25
    Incertus says:

    So, nine op-eds, none by anyone who was actually opposed to the war from the beginning. And the NY Times is a liberal rag?

  26. 26

    While we’re mocking the war supporters it appears John McCain is having a lovely time in Baghdad. As long as you ignore the fact that he can’t “freely” walk through his favorite marketplace this year its seems to be going swimmingly well!

  27. 27
    skyler says:

    With these hacks the nytimes should have least let colbert write a blurb.

  28. 28
    skyler says:

    it doesn’t matter what marketplace McCain walks or doesn’t walk “freely” through, all the media will focus on is how dashing he looks with a bulletproof vest and what great barbecues he has

  29. 29
    Rick Taylor says:

    The more I think about Kevin Pollack’s piece, the more bizarre it seems to me. I mean the opening sentence, suggesting that if things somehow turn out well now (whether or not that there’s actually any sign that’s going to happen in the foreseeable future) that this will be good, because the mistakes of people who advocated this colossal screw up won’t seem so bad.. . It really is unbelievable.

    I’ve read a few of them now; bad idea, my stomach is turning.

    It’s just so sad, every one of them had such noble ideals, and of course how could they have known the Bush administration would screw them up so badly?

    Ugh. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be someone of importance, an authority of some sort, one who people actually listened to, someone who advocated a course of action that turned out to be completely deluded resulting in the loss of thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, millions of refugee, and the destabilization of an important part of the world. I think I’d feel, at least a little personal responsibility.

  30. 30
    Rick Taylor says:

    They’re unbearable to read, still trying to justify it all. Ugh. There’s only one commentator who ever came clean on what the war was really about.

  31. 31
    Soliton says:

    So, nine op-eds, none by anyone who was actually opposed to the war from the beginning. And the NY Times is a liberal rag?

    As Greenwald would most likely say.. Only Serious commentators are allowed access to our nation’s paper of record. And of course, to be opposed to the war from the beginning is a clear sign that one is not a Serious commentator.

    Or somethin’ like that..

  32. 32

    (cleaning spewed coffee from keyboard….)

    Brilliant summation Mr. Cole. I think those drugs must be working…

  33. 33
    Soliton says:

    I think I’d feel, at least a little personal responsibility.

    Personal responsibility is for the little people and requires an actual functioning conscience.

    To have a functioning conscience automatically shows that you are not a Serious commentator.

  34. 34
    Rick Taylor says:

    Incertus Said:

    So, nine op-eds, none by anyone who was actually opposed to the war from the beginning. And the NY Times is a liberal rag?

    Atrios wrote:

    It’s weird imagining the history of the last few years without blogs. I’m not sure how different events would actually be, but it certainly would’ve been a lot more lonely. During the runup to the Iraq war, blogs and other internet news sources were practically the only places where most people could find people saying, basically, that this was bullshit, that Saddam was not a threat to the US, that Colin Powell’s vial was filled with talcum powder, etc. The only Village-approved critique of the Iraq war was about how we went – with UN approval, with enough allies – not whether we went.

  35. 35
    Soliton says:

    Rick Taylor,

    I got kicked off one of the premier amateur astronomy sites on the web during the run up to the Iraq war for stating I thought it was the wrong thing to do and would end up as a disaster.

    I thought astronomers, even amateurs, were folks who took a thoughtful long view of things..

    Boy, was I ever wrong about that.

  36. 36
    mark says:

    There’s only one commentator who ever came clean on what the war was really about.

    I haven’t followed Friedman closely but sort of got that he had worn out his “reasonable” pose. But this left me gaping. He sounded like a pod person.

  37. 37
    sglover says:

    This is why I stopped buying newspapers, and will never again give them a nickel. In a just world People like Perle and Kagan and Pletka would be dangling from nooses. But even in our own muddled reality there is simply no excuse for giving them any readership broader than a toilet stall in a bus terminal. Never mind that their “strategic” “insights” have ALL been self-serving throughout their careers — shouldn’t they be expected to be approximately correct at least ONCE? Why should KNOWN serial liars be published at all? What could they possibly say that is worth anyone’s time?

    Obviously not an issue, if you’re an editor of the NYT or the equally debased Washington Post. And they wonder why their readership and revenue plummet quarter after quarter…..

  38. 38
    dslak says:

    Naturally, people turned to anything they could to try to get some measure of security.

    Some old English guy once said something like this. I think his name was Thomas Hobbes.

    Some of you folks may have heard of him and his ideas, but I don’t think any of the “they’ll greet us with flowers and candy” people did.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    sglover Says:

    This is why I stopped buying newspapers, and will never again give them a nickel.

    This is one of the bus-stops on Solution Ave. We need a better media, and we won’t get a better one until we fire the ones we’ve got now, or better yet beat then about the head and shoulders with the cudgels of their own stupidity. The 2000 election campaign. The Iraq War. How many more icebergs do these morons have to hit, before we take the ship’s wheel away from them?

    Everyone I know, I preach the same sermon to: Fire The Media. Find a better one. You can start by reading as much of the non-USA English language press as you can find. The stuff printed in other newspapers is a real eye-opener, even after discounting the hate-America rags and just reading the folks who actually like us most of the time.

  40. 40
    milo says:

    Danielle Pletka who is the vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute declares:

    There is no freedom gene.

    The stupidity. It burns.

  41. 41
    Jen says:

    Really, Paul Hughes doesn’t look familiar to anyone but me? I’m gonna have to find that celebrity-resemblance generator…

  42. 42
    Wilfred says:

    Kagan is the worst – führer treu till the end. Last night I watched “Good Night and Good Luck”, the movie about Murrow and McCarthy. Instead of commies, we’re now terrorist sympathizers or Islamo-fascist 5th columnists. It never stops and never will.
    Any country capable of putting Paul Bremer in charge of an occupation envisioned by Fred Kagan and authorized by George W. Bush is not going to trouble itself too much about what went wrong.

  43. 43
    lorri says:

    That fucking cracked me up.

  44. 44
    Rick Taylor says:

    THE mantra of the antiwar left — “Bush lied, people died” — so dominates the debate about the run-up to the Iraq war that it has obscured real issues that deserve examination

    Yes, we do keep harping on the fact that all the original justifications for going to war have been utterly discredited. How unreasonable of us.

    After all, for those of us who supported the war, rebutting arguments about weapons of mass destruction has become reflexive.

    Where have there been any rebuttals?

    We point to all the United Nations Security Council resolutions, the International Atomic Energy Agency statements, the C.I.A. analyses, the Silberman-Robb report, the Senate Intelligence Committee findings — if we were wrong, we were in good and honest company.

    It’s a real pity about all those dead people, and all those refugees, but the important thing is, we’re good people!

    But what about the mistaken assumptions that remain unexamined? Looking back, I felt secure in the knowledge that all who yearn for freedom, once free, would use it well. I was wrong.

    Finally someone who helped get us into this mess confesses to failure. She was just to idealistic! Too good hearted! Too willing to believe the best about people. It’s like during an interview, someone asks you what your biggest fault is and you tell them you work too hard.

    Some have used Iraq’s political immaturity as further proof the war was wrong, as if somehow those less politically evolved don’t merit freedoms they are ill equipped to make use of.

    Yes, those of us who opposed the war were just bigots who thought Iraqis were less than fully human and didn’t deserve to be free. It’s not that we saw the causus belli for war was a bunch of trumped up falsehoods, and that we foresaw smashing a country and expecting democracy to spontaneously rise made no sense whatsoever, and even if it did, the current administration couldn’t be trusted to carry this out with any competence.

    I’m sorry, but these people are monsters. The advocated an unnecessary war of choice, and now that it’s resulted in incalculable harm, all they can do is try to rationalize things so they look good. There isn’t a hit of conscience or regret for the harm the actions they advocated have lead us to. It’s monstrous. It’s inhuman.

  45. 45
    Rick Taylor says:

    Sorry, I should have mentioned at the top, that was Pletka’s article, “There’s no Freedom Gene.”

  46. 46
  47. 47
    Mike says:

    Richard Perle: Why the fuck wouldn’t they fucking hand the fucking country over to Ahmed Fucking Chalabi, like we fucking planned?

  48. 48
    Mike says:

    Danielle Pletka: The fact that we didn’t have one fucking clue what we were doing matters only to dirty fucking hippies.

  49. 49
    Rick Taylor says:

    I’ve just read Nathaniel Flick’s, “Worries over being Slimed,” which strikes me as more honest than the others I’ve read so far. But even here, one paragraph in particular shines a light on how unwilling we are, as a country, to take responsibility for what we’ve done, and how we paint ourselves as the unfortunate victim in what was a war of choice we initiated.

    The weapons, we now know, were some combination of relic, bluster and ruse. We focused on the nerve-agent feint, and got roundhoused by the insurgent hook.

    The weapons were a combination of relic, bluster and ruse. See, we were the victims of a ruse. We honestly thought the Iraqi regime had chemical weapons, but it was all bluster, all a ruse. Saddam Hussein had cleverly tricked us by loudly and publicly declaring there were no weapons of mass destruction and letting the inspectors in to see for themselves and cooperating with them every way he could. Such bluster, such a ruse, no wonder we were fooled!

    It is amazing, so many years after the invasion when the facts are so crystal clear that someone can write something like that. This wasn’t even something said off the cuff, but presumably composed after deliberation.

    The Iraqi regime did not fool us innocent Americans into believing he had wmd, we fooled ourselves. We wanted to invade (most likely because on a visceral level we wanted to beat up ragheads after what they did to us after 9/11, see Friedman’s “suck on this”), and we found a way to do it.

  50. 50
    myiq2xu says:

    It seems that Peter Daou has called BULLSHIT on Obama for going negative:

    Senator Obama and his senior campaign officials have engaged in a systematic effort to question Hillary’s integrity, credibility, and character. They have portrayed her as someone who would put her personal gain ahead of the lives of our troops, someone who would say or do anything to win an election, someone who is dishonest, divisive and disingenuous. They have adopted shop-worn anti-Clinton talking points, dusted them off and unleashed a torrent of unfounded character attacks against her.

    Strangely enough, the story doesn’t appear on any prObama site I’ve seen. Maybe I missed it.

  51. 51
    Kirby Krieger says:

    I can sum up _all_ of them in a short one-fuck sentence (which says everything anyone who is ever in a position to give any Republican any power or decision-making responsibility needs to know):

    We fucked up, but I am blameless.

  52. 52
    The Raven says:

    John, sometimes you are a big reason why I keep pressing forward. You made the leap. Others can, too.

  53. 53
    VictorLaszlo says:

    Paul Hughes = Jimmy Stewart?

  54. 54
    sglover says:

    They’re just aping the line that their intellectual and moral forbears used so often in ’46, ’47, ’48 — If only Der Fuhrer had listened to me…..

  55. 55
    William Jensen says:

    I don’t get why Perle or Bremer have access. When a bus driver drives a bus off a cliff, we don’t go ask for his opinion about how to drive a bus or to get the bus out of the cliff. We simply say “you were an asshole for driving the bus off the cliff, go home, shut up, we don’t want to hear from you anymore”. Why do we continue to treat them like their grown up?

  56. 56

    We wanted to invade (most likely because on a visceral level we wanted to beat up ragheads after what they did to us after 9/11, see Friedman’s “suck on this”), and we found a way to do it.

    It was revenge, but for that ‘death threat’ Hussein put out on W’s daddy. It was my gut feeling when all of this was building up and it remains the same. I listened to Powell’s address to the U.N. and knew, just knew. But as that lady that gets to suck off the teat of the ever shrinking GOP money machine, I am nuts for even thinking it.

  57. 57
    myiq2xu says:

    They’re just aping the line that their intellectual and moral forbears used so often in ‘46, ‘47, ‘48—If only Der Fuhrer had listened to me…..

    By 1946 there were no Nazis left. There were some people who were only “technically” Nazis because they joined the party in order to keep their jobs or avoid persecution, but no “real” Nazis.

    Even the ones hiding in Paraguay and other places weren’t really Nazis.

    This is a slightly different meme. “Conservatism never fails, only conservatives do.”

    There are two versions. Version one is “George Bush wasn’t a real conservative.” This one is rare. More common is “George Bush was betrayed by his staff, who weren’t real conservatives.”

    Then there are one or two conservatives who say “Those mother-fuckkkers made me turn Democrat!

    This breed is particularly angry and dangerous.

  58. 58
    Sidelights says:

    The New York Times Iraq op-eds made simple

    The New York Times Iraq op-eds made simple…

  59. 59
    Sidelights says:

    The disgusting Danielle Pletka of the New York Times

    The disgusting Danielle Pletka of the New York Times…

  60. 60
    mvr says:

    The cumulative effect of these short pieces is not what the authors intended. About half these people had some serious responsibility for the mess and the they include the half dozen that are breathtakingly myopic and self-serving. A good rebuttal might just have obscured stark picture of folks who treat the world as their sandbox. The two that aren’t in the same place as the rest don’t get in the way of the overall picture as on person noted already.

    And wasn’t the Times a bit squeamish about getting 3 of them from the very same think tank?

  61. 61
    Dave Johnson says:

    And what does Judith Miller have to say? Or the New York Times editors?
    Did they f#ck up? Or did they just lie to us?

  62. 62

    […] Yes, it’s been five long years since we invaded Iraq and, as Supreme Warlord Bush is frequently reminding us, the mission was a success. In honor of this fifth year of the Glorious Revolution, the New York Times published nine op-eds on the invasion. The inimitable John Cole (I told you he was a genius) has saved you the trouble of wading through some of the shit by shortening each one to just a sentence. Paul Bremer: “We fucked up, but it wasn’t my fault and I think Bush kinda fixed things last year.” […]

  63. 63
    edub says:

    We point to all the United Nations Security Council resolutions, the International Atomic Energy Agency statements, the C.I.A. analyses, the Silberman-Robb report, the Senate Intelligence Committee findings — if we were wrong, we were in good and honest company.

    “if” we were wrong? And what does “honest” company refer to? When is the C.I.A., whether you take them at face value or not, considered de facto “honest” company?

    And this doesn’t even begin to address those that took the opposite view — the U.N. weapons inspectors, etc. that found no evidence of WMDs and found invading Iraq not only pointless but criminal.

  64. 64
    mark says:

    The weapons were a combination of relic, bluster and ruse. See, we were the victims of a ruse. We honestly thought the Iraqi regime had chemical weapons, but it was all bluster, all a ruse. Saddam Hussein had cleverly tricked us by loudly and publicly declaring there were no weapons of mass destruction and letting the inspectors in to see for themselves and cooperating with them every way he could. Such bluster, such a ruse, no wonder we were fooled!

    I bought into this because Saddam had kicked the inspectors OUT and didn’t allow them in again until threatened with invasion. Another factor for me was the perception that Iraqis were suffering under the sanctions and that we didn’t dare lift them without removing Saddam. Then there was Colin Powell’s performance at the UN.

    John, people still chide you for your support of this war; having been there myself, I think it would be a public service if you played back your thinking at the time in some detail in light of what you’re learned since. You’re been doing this piecemeal, perhaps, but a recap would have my rapt attention.

  65. 65
    geoff miller says:

    Nate FICK I believe…?

  66. 66
    Stormwater says:

    But Saddam didn’t kick the inspectors out. He knew giving them access was the only way to prevent the air assault. Bush had other plans.

  67. 67
    tBone says:

    I’ve just read Nathaniel Flick’s, “Worries over being Slimed,” which strikes me as more honest than the others I’ve read so far. But even here, one paragraph in particular shines a light on how unwilling we are, as a country, to take responsibility for what we’ve done, and how we paint ourselves as the unfortunate victim in what was a war of choice we initiated.

    Fick’s book (it’s Fick, not Flick, btw) is a good read. He doesn’t go into politics much in the book, but he’s not an apologist for the Bush administration or the war. The NYT must not have vetted him thoroughly enough, I guess.

  68. 68
    mark says:

    But Saddam didn’t kick the inspectors out. He knew giving them access was the only way to prevent the air assault. Bush had other plans.

    I meant during the Clinton admin.

  69. 69
    mrrichardfeder says:

    And it turns out that living under Saddam Hussein’s tyranny for decades conditioned Iraqis to accept unearned leadership, to embrace sect and tribe over ideas, and to tolerate unbridled corruption.

               Danielle Pletka

    Uh-huh. It also turns out that living in the District of Columbia for a while may condition some Americans to accept unearned leadership, to embrace sect and tribe over ideas, and to tolerate unbridled corruption. Not to mention blaming their betters for being right about … stuff.

  70. 70
    Rick Taylor says:

    I meant during the Clinton admin.

    Actually, even that’s a myth. Saddam never kicked the inspectors out even during Clinton’s term. We pulled them out so we could bomb, because we thought Saddam was not cooperating and they were ineffective. Interesting how we can’t get the most basic facts of what did and did not happen straight.

  71. 71
    mark says:

    Actually, even that’s a myth. Saddam never kicked the inspectors out even during Clinton’s term. We pulled them out so we could bomb, because we thought Saddam was not cooperating and they were ineffective. Interesting how we can’t get the most basic facts of what did and did not happen straight.

    So noted. I blame the librul media.

  72. 72
    jukeboxgrad says:

    John, thanks for those excellent summaries.

    In an attempt to be similarly succinct, I’ve tried to sum up the whole war in about fifty words. They are here, here, here, and here.

  73. 73
    myiq2xu says:

    I blame the librul media.

    Are you sure it wasn’t Hillary’s fault?

    If she was doing her wifely duties Bill wouldn’t have put his cigar in Monica and then the GOP wouldn’t have been forced to try to impeach him and it never would have happened.

  74. 74
    sglover says:

    By 1946 there were no Nazis left. There were some people who were only “technically” Nazis because they joined the party in order to keep their jobs or avoid persecution, but no “real” Nazis.

    Well, I was thinking more of guys like Guderian, who got to collect royalties from his memoirs for years after the war. Fucker was right there helping Hitler with all his murderous schemes, and should have been strung up — and there were DOZENS of German generals who fit the same profile.

  75. 75
    gypsy howell says:

    Shorter all of them:

    I wasn’t really fucking wrong, everyone else just fucked things up.

  76. 76
    derek says:

    You who were right about Saddam when the Reagan government supported him with money and weapons were wrong for being right about him *too early*. Similarly, when you were right about invading Iraq, you were wrong to be right, because you were *too quick* to correctly say it would be a fuck up. The correct time to say it would be a fuck up is five years after the fuck up, clearly.

    This reminds me of another airbrushed piece of American history, the 1930s and 1950s. In the Thirties, many influential Americans openly admired Hitler and dealt with the Nazis. Instead of a firing squad, all they had to deal with in the 1940s was a bit of embarassment. Unfortunately even that much was apparently a burning slight, so they got their revenge on the people who were right about Hitler by turning them in as Russian agents. What was the evidence that the victims were Russian agents? That they were right about Hitler *suspiciously early*. The correct time to realize Hitler was an enemy was after Germany declared war on the USA, not before.

    Watch your backs. The American Enterprise Institute and the New York Times hate you for being right, and will punish you for it if they can, if it takes two decades.

  77. 77
    Justin D-Z says:

    I just read Perle’s article. How do you reward suicide bombers with cash? I think that needs more specificity. If they succeed, you get off scott free? If they fail, you pay them for failure?

    I suppose he means rewarding them in advance with cash so they could dole it out or request that it be buried with them? Anyone?

  78. 78
    Xanthippas says:

    Wow, thanks NY Times for taking advantage of this opportunity to get some real meaningful commentary on the war. There’s pretty much nothing there that hasn’t been said 100 times already. At least they were short.

  79. 79
    Soliton says:

    Personally I think the passive voice is more fitting.

    Fuckups happened..

  80. 80
    Birdzilla says:

    More misinformation and lies from the NEW YORK SLIMES and its lie a day bunk news

  81. 81
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    Ah, there’s nothing quite like the sound of little rat feet paddling furiously as the ship of state slowly sinks beneath the waves. Perle’s piece was especially amusing.

  82. 82
    Jay C says:

    @ Justin D-Z:
    I think the reference to Saddam’s “rewarding suicide bombers” relates to his announced program back after the First Intifada (c. 2000) to give cash bonuses to the families of Palestinian suicide-bombers who bought it while blowing up Israelis. And I recall reading somewhere that the Iraqis actually paid about $250,000.

    Of course, like almost everything else in the NYT’s ghastly Op-Ed crapfest, the reference was half-assed, badly phrased and misleading: some confusion is only natural.

  83. 83
    mazzy says:

    Paul Hughes=James Noble, the governor from the TV show Benson.

  84. 84
    David Brin says:

    David Brin here. (Author of The Postman and The Transparent Society.)

    Great comments. But there is a central point that’s been missed.

    Danielle Pletka’s piece, at least, does a tepid “mea culpa I was wrong.” But with a whimpering “leave me alone” tone that repents only for having believed too idealistically in nation-building and the spreading of freedom by force —

    — without ever mentioning that these had been central objects of ire and derision, denounced by her own American Enterprise Institute for decades and certainly when Clinton tried, tepidly to help in Bosnia and Somalis. That is, until the AEI court jesters were commanded to reverse-message, by their masters.

    Her slinking return to the older message suggests where the “conservative” spin will now head. “We admit we were too idealistic!” will be one of their cries, in the face of this calamity.

    But not a thought or word will go toward the real purpoise and effect of the Iraq Incursion… to provide “emergency” excuses to over-ride U.S. contracting laws and procedures, so that no-bid, crony deals might direct hundreds of billions straight into the pockets of… donors to the American Enterprise Institute. Without a whit of a care for whether the Iraqis ever get electricity again (perhaps enough electricity to turn on their “freedom gene?”)

    The failure of liberals and democrats to even notice this central theme and purpose of the Iraq War, is one of the great, blithering stupidities of recent years. Perhaps it derives from their having heeded that bright dope, Michael Moore. (If it was “about oil”, um, where’s the oil?) Or maybe most people simply turn off their hearing, when dry matters like “contracting rules” are brought up. But this is THE way that up to a trillion dollars has been stolen during wartime, while the armed forces (and the regular military industrial complex) has actually declined by starvation.

    And the Institute that styles itself as a protector of American Enterprise has been a principal enabler of the greatest kleptocratic raid upon our nation in its history.

    So much for “enterprise.” It is not by our standards they Pletka and her peers stand revealed as traitors and monsters. It is by their own.

    David Brin
    http://www.davidbrin.com
    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/

  85. 85
    Bill Arnold says:

    So, nine op-eds, none by anyone who was actually opposed to the war from the beginning. And the NY Times is a liberal rag?
    I read it as subtle mockery by the NY Times, with the editors knowing that each and every one of the nine would claim that they were blameless. Perhaps too subtle. The suggestion upstream that they should have asked Colbert to write #10 seems about right.

  86. 86
    Tax Analyst says:

    That was a fucking hysterical thread post, JC.

    Take some more fucking pain pills and then write more fucking shit like that.

    We fucking need to laugh at these fucking assholes, at least until they’re fucking gone.

  87. 87

    […] Reading Krugman from 5 years ago is actually more useful than reading all the “five years later” articles. […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Reading Krugman from 5 years ago is actually more useful than reading all the “five years later” articles. […]

  2. […] Yes, it’s been five long years since we invaded Iraq and, as Supreme Warlord Bush is frequently reminding us, the mission was a success. In honor of this fifth year of the Glorious Revolution, the New York Times published nine op-eds on the invasion. The inimitable John Cole (I told you he was a genius) has saved you the trouble of wading through some of the shit by shortening each one to just a sentence. Paul Bremer: “We fucked up, but it wasn’t my fault and I think Bush kinda fixed things last year.” […]

  3. Sidelights says:

    The disgusting Danielle Pletka of the New York Times

    The disgusting Danielle Pletka of the New York Times…

  4. Sidelights says:

    The New York Times Iraq op-eds made simple

    The New York Times Iraq op-eds made simple…

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