Towards A Good Samaritan World

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Michael Barone voices a common meme:

Now, as then, they want to see American withdrawal even if that means defeat. Yet Iraq is plainly not Vietnam. There were more than 20 times as many American deaths in Vietnam as there have been in Iraq. And withdrawal from Iraq would be vastly more dangerous than withdrawal from Vietnam turned out to be.

I certainly don't think that withdrawal from Iraq would be more dangerous than withdrawal from Vietnam; rather, less so, both for us and the Iraqis. There could be a nasty civil war after we depart, but probably not on the scale of the bloodbath that swept Southeast Asia in the 1970s after we pulled out. It might even reduce violence, as most Iraqis seem to think it would (though I'd prefer not to take the risk). The likely outcome of the civil war would be an increasing Shiite ascendancy and more Iranian influence, which would spook the Sunni Arab states of the Middle East into becoming more cooperative with the US. More importantly, we don't have a major geopolitical rival like the USSR right now to be empowered by our weakness. Also we just can't lose the Iraq War once Saddam's dead: removing him from power was our #1 war objective, and only his restoration would be a true US defeat. (Unless you redefine what it is to "lose" a war, the way the Democrats are trying to redefine what it is to have a good economy.) As a result, Iraq's effect on our "credibility" won't be nearly as bad as Vietnam's was, regardless of the outcome.

One more point. Kerry's gaffe line...

"You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

... is no less ignorant and offensive if you read it the way Kerry says he meant it, namely as an insult against Bush. For one thing, it's a childish cheap shot unworthy of a member of the US Senate. For another it's totally wrong. Not only did Bush get a Masters of Business Administration, but a lot of the people who worked for him-- PhD Condoleeza Rice, former SAIS administrator Paul Wolfowitz-- are intellectually brilliant people. If you think (unlike me) that the Iraq War was a crazy idea, the fact you have to explain is how a lot of very smart people fell for it.


  • Staying in Iraq is more dangerous than losing Vietnam,as leaked CIA reprots and other reports indicate. The longer we stay, the more the jihad grows,and other anti-American sentiment throughout the world. We were just voted along with Israel, the most dangerous countries in the world.

    "Spooking" Sunni Arabs into cooperating with us...Ahhhh there's the old unkind strategy of divide and conquer of the UK empire,this time mssquerading as good samaritanism.

    Finn next redefines war aims,which were replacing Saddam with a stable pro-US, pro-Israel impossibility.

    The Iraq War project was a sinister project, and Finn should know, smart and sinister can go together.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:53 PM  

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