'The Great Blunder'

January 2008

The American Spectator has supported the war on Iraq, but lately it has become skittish about its support. Tom Bethell, in an article titled "The Great Blunder" (The American Spectator, Oct. 2007), says the war and occupation of Iraq is a "disaster." Bethell says, "You can't blame dreamers for giving bad advice. Dreamers tend to do that. The mistake is to take them seriously. And that's what President Bush, Vice President Cheney, and [former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense] Paul Wolfowitz did.... Overturning the existing Arab order in the belief that it would produce something better was utopian in the extreme.... It's clear now that the invasion of Iraq was a very big blunder.... Saddam Hussein was not involved in 9/11 and did not have nuclear weapons."

In a letter to The American Spectator (Nov. 2007) John Den Dulk says Bethell is a "seditious scattergun of the left," and "our capitulationist lefties trick us into writing essays of self-doubt after the manner of 'The Great Blunder.'" Memo to Den Dulk: Sixty percent of the American people oppose the Iraq war -- are all of them "seditious" too? And by the way, Bethell is no leftie, we can attest to that.

Also in The American Spectator (Oct. 2007), Laurie Mylroie, in an article titled "Three Months of Dysfunction: Letter From Baghdad," says, "My three months recently spent in Baghdad clarified the considerable difficulties facing the United States in Iraq.... A year ago, Baghdad received four to six hours of electricity a day from the national grid. In late April, when I arrived, it was down to two hours.... The water supply -- which depends on electricity -- has faltered; for one week in late August, there was none at all. One of the sadder features of life in Baghdad is that the situation has steadily deteriorated in the four years since Saddam Hussein's overthrow. The passage of time seems to make things worse, not better."

In a column in the Washington Post (Oct. 16, 2007) titled "The Real Iraq We Knew," 12 former Army captains write, "Iraq is in shambles.... Many roads, bridges, schools and hospitals are in deplorable condition. Fewer people have access to drinking water or sewage systems than before the war. And Baghdad is averaging less than eight hours of electricity a day.... Transparency International ranks Iraq as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.... Against this backdrop, the U.S. military has been trying in vain to hold the country together. Even with 'the surge,' we simply do not have enough soldiers and marines to meet the professed goals of clearing areas from insurgent control.... in practice they just push insurgents to another spot on the map.... U.S. forces...are vulnerable targets.... Our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal...will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition."

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New Oxford Notes: January 2008

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