Monday, March 19, 2007

Iraq: The details will take care of themselves

This week marks the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. The overthrow of the regime of Saddam Hussein was easier than anticipated. However, the ideological blinders imposed upon American efforts by the Bush administration guaranteed failure in the long run. The absence of security around Iraq gave power to extremists as Iraqis sided with those who would provide protection even if it meant turning against their neighbors. The Iraqis were freed from tyranny but delivered to chaos and civil war.

Will the “surge” turn things around? Given the absence of an international effort to step in and lend credibility to peace-making, the over-reliance on the military to solve political problems, and the history of this administration’s incompetent leadership, it is very unlikely the current infusion of troops into Baghdad will do much more than quiet things down temporarily. After four years of war, the United States is still not on war footing – the military is stretching to come up with the additional troops called for, they will likely go into battle under-equipped, and our military and veterans’ hospitals are not prepared for the influx of wounded returning from the Middle East to name just a few of the stumbling blocks we are facing.

The lead editorial in yesterday’s L.A. Times sums it up:
…. Any confidence the American people or Congress once had in the administration's capabilities has long since been depleted.

It wasn't always so. Early on, this administration was perceived — by ideological friends and foes alike — as a paragon of competence. Names like Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and even Rice (who knew?) were supposed to signal steady, experienced leadership. How far we've come.

The botched, ill-planned occupation of Iraq will go down as the administration's capital blunder. It stemmed from a cavalier arrogance, a belief that when you are on the right side of history, the details will take care of themselves….

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