In one of his (hopefully) last columns, Will Safire
makes an attempt at admitting he was wrong about Iraq. Unfortunately, that's just a salt lick tossed out to get you reading. The only things he admits to being incorrect about are pure technicalities, while he continues to chide opponents of the invasion and beat the Bush drum of preemptive war and nation building. Atrios has a few sharp words
for him, but I think it needs a bit more kicking around.
"I now admit to having expected the war in Iraq to be won in a matter of months, not years. Saddam's plan to disperse his forces and conduct a murderous insurgency, abetted by his terrorist allies, was a surprise."
There you have it. If you are looking for more of an admission of being "wrong" you won't find it. He immediately goes on to invalidate any admission with his next graf.
This by no means suggests that President Bush's decision to overthrow a dangerous despotism was a mistake.
Ummm... yes it was.
On the contrary, it was and is the right war (against a genocidal maniac who was gaining strength)
Even though our investigations after the invasion showed that he was more of a powerless puppet than we ever imagined, who had no power to back up his bluster and spent most of his time locked in his room writing romance novels.
in the right place (the Middle East cradle of terror)
Terrorism has spread across the world, aided in large part by the hatred we fuel in the Muslim world.
for the right purpose (to get the Arab street out of the rut of hatred and onto a path to freedom).
Oh, yes. Nation building. Because that's worked so
well for us in the past. You also apparently don't read your own paper. If you did you would have seen that the hot choice of a political party to take over Iraq next month is a coalition of folks who are backed by the fundamentalist Iranian theocratic fun bunch. Enjoy your democracy.
Next, he demands a pound of flesh from all of us nasty war critics.
In return for today's grudging concession of tactical misjudgment, however, I claim this expectation: When and if we discover hidden supplies of germ weapons in Iraq or Syria, and as future confessions reveal the extent of connections between Al Qaeda and Saddam, the legion of war critics will forthrightly admit their certitude was misplaced.
No. And here's why. First of all, I can just about guarantee you that someplace, buried deep in the sand, there will be some left over chemical or biological weapons. We know he had them because we sold most of them to him originally. They already found one shell with some chemical munitions in it. Of course, it dated back to the Iraq-Iran war and was covered in so much dust that, odds are, nobody in the Iraqi army even know they had it. The question is, at the time of the invasion, did Saddam have active stockpiles of WMD's and programs to build more which he was preparing to launch against the United States and our allies. The answer is still no. And if we manage to torture a confession out of one of his goons saying he met with an Al Qaeda representative in a coffee shop in Paris in 1993? No. That's still no reason to go to war. They had nothing to do with 9/11 no matter how desperately you and Cheney and Bush and the rest of them want to believe they did.
Here are criteria to measure success or failure in the battle for democracy in the region and the struggles for freedom around the world: First, will Iraq stay whole and its people free? The present answer is: We'll see.
We'll see? That's lovely. The Shiites with their Iranian backers are getting set to oppress a whole bunch of Sunni just as badly as they have been oppressed over the last decades. The Kurds are simply waiting for us to kill off their enemies for them, and laying back until they can build a viable state of their own. They are engaged in a bloody civil war right now. The bonus is that they have us to fight it for them.
Next, has America's huge military engagement in the Middle East helped produce progress toward democracy in Muslim countries where monarchs and dictators now rule? Signs are that the answer is yes.
Man, I'd dearly love to know what planet you live on and what color the sky is there. We must read different newspapers.
America's decision to stay the course after its overthrow of Saddam - a financial backer of suicide bombers and hero of Palestinian jihadists - has helped revivify the prospect of peace in the Holy Land after the death of Arafat. Our military activism emboldened Israel to risk withdrawal from Gaza, and should encourage Palestinians to elect a rational state maker next month.
Let me pick my jaw up off the floor. Is this wingnut really trying to give credit for the tenuous prospect of improvements in the Israeli - Palestine conflict to our overthrow of the government of Iraq? It was because Arafat croaked. End. Of. Story.
A final criterion: Is our confidence in the desire of 20 million literate Iraqis to live in relative liberty being reflected in the recent run of elections in the world?
Australians voted to remain our stalwart ally in Iraq.
Australia is tied by the bib to American money. But yes, the twenty or thirty guys they sent over have been a big help. Thanks.
Afghanistan's voters took their lives in their hands to blaze their trail to a democratic government.
Afghanistan's "voters" rubber stamped an American installed leader, and ar currently huddled inside of three major population centers while most of the country is ruled by opium producing warlords. Wake up and smell the coffee.
Americans voted decisively to endorse our hopes rather than our fears in Iraq.
Do you really call 51-49 "decisively", Will? And yet again, you should try reading your own paper. The majority of Americans this week proclaimed that the war was a mistake.
This was one of the lamest right wing hatchet jobs I've read in ages. Safire can't be gone too quickly because he really is past his prime.