On the Corner today, John Derbyshire has an interesting debate on the state of the war occupation in Iraq. I quote on section in full (there are plenty others, just keep scrolling up and down):
WAR STUFF [John Derbyshire]
While my scorn for the "Bush lied, men died" gang is every bit as great as yours, it is a fact that no American, in March 2003, thought we would have a huge army planted in Iraq 2½ years later. The administration did not even hint at such a possibility -- not because they are liars, but because, like the rest of us, they did not envision it. If they had, I doubt Congress would have approved the war. (I would not have.)
Now the administration is being driven by events, and making up war aims as it goes along. Jihadis, and squabbling Iraqi politicians, are essentially calling the shots. The tragedy of this war, in my view, is that the salutary effect it might have had on Middle East Muslims, if done properly, has been frittered away by this pointless, and apparently endless, and increasingly embarrassing, occupation. I would much rather we had done ten times as much damage, killed ten times as many Iraqis, and left ten times as quickly. That is the war I should have liked to see; that is the war that might have done us some good and advanced our interests. This is a half-hearted war, a nice war, a lawyer’s war.
Our war against the Empire of Japan, 1941-45, lasted 1,347 days. The current war in Iraq, against a rabble of Arab hooligans, has lasted 861 days. If it lasts as long as WW2, it will end on November 25 next year. Do you really think it will have ended by then? Do you really think that Zarqawi and his gangs are as formidable an enemy as the Japanese Imperial Armed Forces? Do you really believe we are doing this right? Really?
Posted at 10:49 AM
Count me as one of the ones who knew we would be in Iraq 2 and 1/2 years after invading. It was one of the reasons I was hoping for an earlier invasion date (say October of 2001). I remember having debates with the Saint about why we were waiting so long, lets get started! The sooner it starts the sooner it will be over.
While it was certainly not mentioned in the arguments for the war (NYTimes Headline if it had been: "Bush argues for long drawn out conflict"), It had to have been considered by the planners.
As to the argument for more damage, more killing, etc. it has its merits, but that would have driven up the anti-war faction of the media and international relations even more than it is today. You have to remember that this is a 50-50 country. Bush is walking a tight rope of doing the right thing for history, but having to maintain his electability to see it through. As it is, the body count used by the anti-war left in this "lawyerly" war keeps increasing (100,000! 200,000!). Can you imagine if we hadn't been so lawyerly? If we had just carpetbombed Bagdhad proper? There would have been no way to install a government aftwards.
The argument comparing Iraq to Japan is false on its face. It took from 1941 to 1945 for Japan to surrender. The occupation, however, was not completed until April 28th, 1952, with the ratification and implementation of the San Francisco Peace Treaty. And we still have troops there today. And it was even easier in Japan, since there wasn't an active insurgency using car bombs to blow up their own civilians and public works projects. Nor was there an active media and international groups undermining the effort.
No we are going to have troops in Baghdad for a long time. We still have troops in Germany and Japan after all. If we're looking to "pull out" of a country how about we start in Germany. To paraphrase a former world leader: "Don't go wobbly on me John...."
Rich Lowry makes similar arguments, but of course in better prose (It's what he gets paid for obviously!) here.