T Nation

Apologizing for Iraq

It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong. Especially when one’s support has cost so many lives and resources. But I was especially wrong to support the Iraq war. I did so with noble intentions. I believed there was a real true threat without stopping and seriously, seriously, questioning my assumptions, and what I was being told. I didn’t question what would come next after the fall of Saddam. I didn’t ask myself “Is Saddam the ruler Iraqis deserve?” And, is an Iraq invasion the hope of Osama and the Taliban? I’ve decided I must lean on the “Just War” doctrine to avoid this mistake again. After all, had I listened to my Church over my country, I wouldn’t have found myself with such regrets.

Afghanistan is in a world of hurt, and we’re losing.

WASHINGTON - Islamic insurgents are expanding their numbers and reach in Afghanistan and Pakistan , spreading violence and disarray over a vast cross-border zone where al Qaida has rebuilt the sanctuary it lost when the United States invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.

There is little in the short term that the Bush administration or its allies can do to halt the bloodshed, which is spreading toward Pakistan’s heartland and threatening to destabilize the U.S.-backed governments in Afghanistan and Pakistan .

In Afghanistan , U.S. and NATO forces are facing “a classic growing insurgency,” Adm. Michael Mullen , the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Friday.

But the U.S. military, stretched thin by the war in Iraq , is hard-pressed to send more than the 3,200 additional Marines the Bush administration is dispatching to Afghanistan . The growing insurgency there is fueling rifts within the NATO alliance as Germany and other nations refuse to allow their troops to participate in offensive operations in Afghanistan . The Afghan army is making progress but still cannot operate independently.

“Make no mistake, NATO is not winning in Afghanistan ,” warned an Atlantic Council of the United States report last week. The report was directed by retired Marine Corps Gen. James Jones , the former top NATO commander. “What is happening in Afghanistan and beyond its borders can have even greater strategic long-term consequences than the struggle in Iraq .”

In Pakistan , the army, trained for conventional warfare against India , has declined to send major forces into battle against the Islamists, fearful that heavy casualties could unhinge the military along ethnic and sectarian lines. The U.S. and its allies can do little more than help train some Pakistani troops because a major U.S. military role in Pakistan would further enrage a population that’s already seething with anti-government and anti-U.S. rage.

The threat of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan , Pakistan and the West by jihadis indoctrinated and trained in the frontier zone is now higher than ever.

“The Taliban in Afghanistan now control more of the country than at any time since 2001, and their confederates in the tribal areas of Pakistan are expanding their operations almost day by day. While our attention has been diverted by Iraq , we’ve overlooked a potentially far more serious threat to the security of all Americans,” Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joseph Biden , D-Del., told McClatchy .

There’s no hard evidence of direct collusion between the Afghan Taliban and a new Pakistani Taliban alliance, both of which are made up mostly of Pashtun tribesmen, who dominate the region of soaring mountains and rugged deserts that span the frontier. Indeed, the Afghan Taliban deny links with the Pakistani insurgents.

But the ties among the Pashtuns are personal, historic, ethnic and ideological, and experts worry that the region faces a growing jihadi movement that’s aided by al Qaida with Arab and Central Asian fighters, coordination, money and motivation.

“You see some indication that there is a blurring of the lines and some associations that are not helpful,” said a senior U.S. defense official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The groups “have become one seamless whole,” said Husain Haqqani, a political scientist and former aide to the late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto . The Pakistani government blamed Bhutto’s Dec. 27 assassination on Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.

The Taliban groups on either side of the Afghan-Pakistan border are descendants of the Islamic guerrilla factions that fought the 1979-89 Soviet occupation of Afghanistan with Pakistani coordination and arms supplied by the United States , Saudi Arabia and Britain .

Pakistan’s powerful military intelligence service helped the Taliban come to power in 1996 to ensure a pro- Pakistan regime in Kabul . The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate also encouraged Pakistani extremists to support the Taliban and an insurgency on India’s side of the disputed Kashmir region.

Some U.S. military intelligence officials have argued that ideological and strategic differences between the groups will trigger crippling disputes. Some in the groups are hard-core Islamists, while others are fighting for money.

“It is true that there are degrees of separation developing between them,” said Army Col. John Lynch , a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution . “But when you are in the land of plenty and there are fighters and money to be spread around, these differences are minimal.”

There’s widespread agreement, though, that the Bush administration bears much of the blame for the worsening crisis.

The administration diverted U.S. troops and resources to the 2003 invasion of Iraq without first securing Afghanistan after the 2001 U.S. intervention there.

And Washington pressured Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf to send tens of thousands of troops for the first time in his country’s history into the tribal region to hunt down al Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and his core supporters, who had escaped there from Afghanistan . Little heed was paid to the Taliban.

The Pakistani army’s presence enraged the tribes. Its heavy-handed tactics claimed civilian lives, as did U.S. cross-border strikes on al Qaida targets. Support for militants exploded last summer after Musharraf ordered an assault on a radical Islamabad mosque that killed scores of people.

Since its formation in December, the new Taliban Movement of Pakistan has extended its reach to all seven tribal agencies and into the settled areas of North West Frontier Province.

It has rocketed the provincial capital, Peshawar , captured and killed hundreds of Pakistani security forces, hijacked ammunition trucks and briefly seized control of a major tunnel, cutting off a key city from the rest of the country for the first time.

In Afghanistan , the Taliban have expanded the territory they control and where they can move freely despite suffering huge losses last year in battles with U.S. and NATO troops.

“The number of districts in which the Taliban operate exploded last year,” said John McCreary , a former senior intelligence analyst with the Joint Chiefs of Staff who’s now with the private contractor dNovus RDI. “This is the first year they have managed to sustain over 100 attacks per month for the whole year since they started to climb back. One hundred attacks per month used to be surge figure. Now it’s the new norm.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080203/wl_mcclatchy/2836564

sloth,

Wow.

You (and other moRon’s) are taking paul’s loss far too personally.

You are becoming completely unhinged.

Take some time off. Get yourself together.

These posts, while reprehensible, would have been slightly more understandable when the war was going poorly.

JeffR

This sucks. We had a legitimate reason to go into Afghanistan and make it work for those people. It’s a shame we let them all down. I’d hate to see it once again become a den of terrorism, but that’s the way it’s heading.

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
This sucks. We had a legitimate reason to go into Afghanistan and make it work for those people. It’s a shame we let them all down. [/quote]

I’ll say.

The worse part is that the US lost a tremendous amount of credibility on the international scene. Did you read the “up yours” missive the Germans sent to Washington in reply to the request for more troops?

The invasion of Iraq was Al-Qaeda’s wet dream. Hear me out:

  • It shattered the American image abroad.
  • It deeply divided the country.
  • It created a rift between the people and the ruling class.
  • It is essentially bankrupting the US economy.
  • It turned the place into a terroristarium.
  • It galvanized the movement around the world.
  • It is the direct cause of Abu-Ghraib, Al-Mahmoudiya massacre, etc…
  • It was the driving force behind the modern arms’ race.
  • It killed a lot more Americans than 9/11.
  • It may be the reason Ben-Laden is still on the loose.
  • It is weakening the unity of Saudi Arabia.

For an alien watching us from its spaceship orbiting the Earth, it may seem as if Osama planned it himself.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
I didn’t ask myself “Is Saddam the ruler Iraqis deserve?” [/quote]

Are you trying to confirm stereotypes about American arrogance?

[quote]lixy wrote:
Sloth wrote:
I didn’t ask myself “Is Saddam the ruler Iraqis deserve?”

Are you trying to confirm stereotypes about American arrogance?[/quote]

If they didn’t deserve him they would eventually fight in sufficient numbers to overthrow him.

Ok, then what can be done to turn the situation around in Afghanistan?

[quote]Gkhan wrote:
Ok, then what can be done to turn the situation around in Afghanistan?[/quote]

To turn it around? The draft.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
lixy wrote:
Sloth wrote:
I didn’t ask myself “Is Saddam the ruler Iraqis deserve?”

Are you trying to confirm stereotypes about American arrogance?

If they didn’t deserve him they would eventually fight in sufficient numbers to overthrow him. [/quote]

I believe he was referring to the fact that many Americans seem to believe they know what people in other countries need or deserve even though the culture is completely different. This is the same mentality that caused so many to believe everyone in that country would welcome us with open arms and praise our intervention. These would be the ones thoroughly surprised when this doesn’t happen.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Sloth wrote:
lixy wrote:
Sloth wrote:
I didn’t ask myself “Is Saddam the ruler Iraqis deserve?”

Are you trying to confirm stereotypes about American arrogance?

If they didn’t deserve him they would eventually fight in sufficient numbers to overthrow him.

I believe he was referring to the fact that many Americans seem to believe they know what people in other countries need or deserve even though the culture is completely different. This is the same mentality that caused so many to believe everyone in that country would welcome us with open arms and praise our intervention. These would be the ones thoroughly surprised when this doesn’t happen.[/quote]

Ah. But, I meant it as an open ended question. In otherwords, the Iraqis would have to decide what government or regime they’re willing to live with, or fight.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Professor X wrote:
Sloth wrote:
lixy wrote:
Sloth wrote:
I didn’t ask myself “Is Saddam the ruler Iraqis deserve?”

Are you trying to confirm stereotypes about American arrogance?

If they didn’t deserve him they would eventually fight in sufficient numbers to overthrow him.

I believe he was referring to the fact that many Americans seem to believe they know what people in other countries need or deserve even though the culture is completely different. This is the same mentality that caused so many to believe everyone in that country would welcome us with open arms and praise our intervention. These would be the ones thoroughly surprised when this doesn’t happen.

Ah. But, I meant it as an open ended question. In otherwords, the Iraqis would have to decide what government or regime they’re willing to live with, or fight.[/quote]

The problem is, we didn’t give them that choice. We decided for them. We decided (or at least strongly guided) what government they should have and what ideas they should support. We decided for them when to fight as a group of people.

[quote]Professor X wrote:

The problem is, we didn’t give them that choice. We decided for them. We decided (or at least strongly guided) what government they should have and what ideas they should support. We decided for them when to fight as a group of people.[/quote]

Heh, you’re preaching to the choir. That’s my point.

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Professor X wrote:

The problem is, we didn’t give them that choice. We decided for them. We decided (or at least strongly guided) what government they should have and what ideas they should support. We decided for them when to fight as a group of people.

Heh, you’re preaching to the choir. That’s my point my point.[/quote]

…and I strongly agree that our entire approach was wrong as it was based on “revenge”. No significant thought went into what the hell we were going to do once we toppled the existing regime. Many of these sentiments were trampled when we were in a rush to enter Iraq. I also have no doubt that history will eventually look very unfavorably at our current administration, possibly labeling it one of the worst once many of the cheerleaders die off.

I am just highlighting what Lixy wrote. If we don’t learn from this at all, then a whole lot of people died in vain. As a culture, we are very arrogant. Most great countries have been…and eventually it tore them up from the inside out.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Sloth wrote:
Professor X wrote:

The problem is, we didn’t give them that choice. We decided for them. We decided (or at least strongly guided) what government they should have and what ideas they should support. We decided for them when to fight as a group of people.

Heh, you’re preaching to the choir. That’s my point my point.

…and I strongly agree that our entire approach was wrong as it was based on “revenge”. No significant thought went into what the hell we were going to do once we toppled the existing regime. Many of these sentiments were trampled when we were in a rush to enter Iraq. I also have no doubt that history will eventually look very unfavorably at our current administration, possibly labeling it one of the worst once many of the cheerleaders die off.

I am just highlighting what Lixy wrote. If we don’t learn from this at all, then a whole lot of people died in vain. As a culture, we are very arrogant. Most great countries have been…and eventually it tore them up from the inside out.[/quote]

We’re agreeing it was a horrible decision. And we’re agreeing that it was up to Iraqis to decide their destiny. To accept life under Saddam, or not. Just to be clear, that’s all my question was meant to convey. Were they ready for a post-Saddam era? It should have been left to them to decide if bloodshed and the following power struggles were going to be worth it. I hope everyone is satisfied with my fleshing out of that specific comment.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I believe he was referring to the fact that many Americans seem to believe they know what people in other countries need or deserve even though the culture is completely different. This is the same mentality that caused so many to believe everyone in that country would welcome us with open arms and praise our intervention. These would be the ones thoroughly surprised when this doesn’t happen.[/quote]

Wait…

You mean that people in other countries don’t love America as much as Americans do?!

The people who are surprised when the native populace doesn’t embrace America with open arms are the same ones who’d go on an impassioned rant about how they’d resist until their last breath if the USSR, China, UN peacekeepers, or any other force set foot on American soil.

Funny they can’t see that it works both ways.

Funny or sad. I haven’t decided yet.

ElbowStrike

I agree that it would be terrible to lose Afghanistan - Iraq on the other hand is a fucked up situation and you truly have to look at the hypocrisy of the western world to understand where the anti-war group comes from. I am constantly frustrated by major media’s failure to portray the situation as it really is - you can’t understand the motives behind either the Afghan or (especially) Iraq war without understanding the political and economic histories of that region’s relation with the Western World. I don’t think the public is too stupid to understand it, its just that the format and delivery of mainstream media doesn’t lend itself to painting the bigger picture.

Being wrong sucks. Admitting you were wrong sucks one hell of a lot more.

You’ve gained a lot of respect in my book. Basically meaningless (the respect of a 17 year old on the internet that is), but you’ve still got it.

[quote]lixy wrote:

The invasion of Iraq was Al-Qaeda’s wet dream. Hear me out:

  • It shattered the American image abroad. [/quote]
    Yes, we should only do things that make us popular. Fer Sher.

Actually that was politics attempting to destroy a sitting president for the sole purpose of gaining power. (Disgusting.)

The what?

Not barely. Socialism Security and fiscal irresponsibility is doing that.[quote]

  • It turned the place into a terroristarium.[/quote]
    And before that it was a wonderful place of genocide, and support for terrorists. (Anyone remember Zarqawi? Al-Qadea member who received assistance from Saddam?)[quote]
  • It galvanized the movement around the world.[/quote]
    I thought you converted before that.[quote]
  • It is the direct cause of Abu-Ghraib, Al-Mahmoudiya massacre, etc…[/quote]
    People were punished. This was not allowed under our laws, military or otherwise, and to blame all of America would be no different then blaming all of Islam for the actions of Al-Qaeda.[quote]
  • It was the driving force behind the modern arms’ race.[/quote]
    What?[quote]
  • It killed a lot more Americans than 9/11.[/quote]
    WWII killed more Americans then Pearl Harbor.[quote]
  • It may be the reason Ben-Laden is still on the loose.[/quote]
    Nope.[quote]
  • It is weakening the unity of Saudi Arabia.[/quote]
    Again, What?[quote]

For an alien watching us from its spaceship orbiting the Earth, it may seem as if Osama planned it himself.[/quote]

Aliens? Seriously? Your propaganda is really starting to get weak.

[quote]The Mage wrote:
And before that it was a wonderful place of genocide, and support for terrorists. (Anyone remember Zarqawi? Al-Qadea member who received assistance from Saddam?)
[/quote]

Youre not up to date. Declassified Pentagon reports have proven once and for all that the Saddam-AlQadea connection thing is bs.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/05/AR2007040502263.html

[quote]Sloth wrote:
Gkhan wrote:
Ok, then what can be done to turn the situation around in Afghanistan?

To turn it around? The draft.[/quote]

You must be joking. That is the last thing we need.

We need to cut better deals with the drug lords.