News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Liberal/Conservative Pundits Line Up to Kick Bush's Ass

Monday, October 03, 2005

Liberal/Conservative Pundits Line Up to Kick Bush's Ass

The list of pundits now against the war in Iraq continues to grow. This gentlemen--from the "liberl/conservative" (That's how they define themselves in the About Us section of their website)--argues that Bush and admin. exercized an historical muopia in getting into Iraq in the first place. Now, Bush continues to display his myopia by vowing to stay the course there.

There's still only one politican I know who has come out for an Iraqi withdrawal: Sen. Feingold. He looks to use this position to catapult him into presidency, no doubt, when the troops are still in Iraq in 2008 or have left with the country of Iraq tearing itself apart in civil war.

Except for Feingold, no other prominent democrat has voiced any opposition to the war, and instead took the Kerry line of "improving" on what George Bush bungled by sending in more troops! I hope the voters remember where these craven leaders were when young men and women died for no reason in a war that never should have been.
Historical ignorance guides Bush in Iraq
Published Sunday, October 2, 2005

In a Sept. 21 speech insisting that the United States must "stay the course" in Iraq, President George W. Bush warned that an early military withdrawal from that country would encourage al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations. Weak U.S. responses to challenges over the past quarter-century have emboldened such people, Bush argued. Among other examples, the president cited the decisions to withdraw troops from Lebanon and Somalia after U.S. forces suffered casualties.

Hawkish pundits have made similar allegations for years. But it is a curious line of argument with ominous implications. President Bush and his supporters clearly assume that the United States should have stayed in both Lebanon and Somalia. The mistake, in their opinion, was not the original decision to intervene but to limit American losses and terminate the missions. This is a classic case of learning the wrong lessons from history.

Even hawkish Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who was a special assistant to President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, acknowledges that the decision to send troops into Lebanon was perhaps the worst foreign policy mistake of Reagan’s presidency. The United States promptly found itself in the middle of a civil war as a de facto ally of the Christian-dominated Lebanese government.

American troops became entangled in skirmishes with Muslim militias, and U.S. battleships off the coast proceeded to shell Muslim villages. The disastrous intervention culminated with an attack by a suicide car bomber against the Marine barracks in Beirut that left 241 Marines dead. A few months later, Reagan cut his losses and pulled out of Lebanon.

The Somalia intervention was equally ill-starred. Although President George H.W. Bush sent troops into that country on a humanitarian relief mission, President Bill Clinton soon signed on to the United Nations’ far more ambitious nation-building project. The United States then became entangled in another multisided civil war.

One faction, headed by warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed, increasingly regarded the U.S. forces as an obstacle to its goals. When Washington decided to carry out the United Nations’ edict to arrest Aideed and his followers, Aideed’s militias struck back with a vengeance. The skirmishes culminated in an ambush in the capital city, Mogadishu, that left 18 elite Army Rangers dead. Soon thereafter, Clinton withdrew U.S. forces.

Both Reagan and Clinton made the right decision. It was not a mistake to withdraw and limit our losses. The real mistake was the decision to intervene in such strategically and economically irrelevant snake pits in the first place.

. . . . .

As in Lebanon and Somalia, it would have been better if the United States had never launched the ill-advised nation-building crusade in Iraq. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and so we now must choose between two bad alternatives.

Since Bush has learned the wrong lessons from history, he seems determined to pursue the least advisable one.

Read more

Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute, is the author or editor of 16 books on international affairs. Readers may write to the author at the Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20001; Web site:

No comments: