March 20, 2007

Defeating Them Wasn't the Point

Michael Williams' Because We Didn't Defeat Them misses the point by a mile. The Iraqi people were doomed to many years of strife and violence back in the 1950s when the royal family was ousted in 1958. The misalignment between what the people of Iraq wanted and the hard men with guns delivered got worse and worse, culminating in Saddam's Republic of Fear.

Even if we had run as picture perfect a post-invasion as could be managed, we still would have ended up with major troubles because when violent change in politics is all that's been on offer for 45 years and more then you've got a society that's primed and ready for running multiple violent resistence movements. Throw in some not-so-friendly neighbors ready and willing to stoke the fires of violence and you have a nasty time in Iraq for at least a few years.

That isn't to say that we couldn't have run the post-invasion better but I would argue that the invasion itself was run very, very well. We put in the maximum force we could sustain and achieved the Big Bang we needed.

I still believe that we're planting liberty trees in Iraq, and over the long haul that's going to remake the region. But had we flattened them down as Michael Williams advocates, we'd have ended up with another FRG, practically useless for the next stage of the fight. These Iraqis have shed their own blood, and will win their own freedom, and for their own reasons will spread liberty to their neighbors. In the process they will begin to reverse several centuries of Islamic civilizational decline and provide a way out of the toxic mess that Islam has put the Middle East into.

At the beginning of the conflict, I marked a free ME and Islam pulling out of its death spiral down as worth 10K dead americans. Compared to the alternatives, it's a small price to pay. I still believe so. But being more savage in the invasion wouldn't have helped us get where we need to go. It would have changed the post invasion narrative for the worse.

Posted by TMLutas at March 20, 2007 04:13 PM