Spinning the War — Still

Seems like support for the war in Iraq is starting to slip. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that public support for the war is now at 56 percent, down from 73 percent in April. That means current support for the war is just about where it was in early January (53 percent) when the White House was making its case for the campaign.

Oops! Seems like support for the war in Iraq is starting to slip. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll shows that public support for the war is now at 56 percent. In April, 73 percent believed it was worth it to go to war in Iraq, while 23 percent thought it was not.
The current support for the war is just about where it was in early January (53 percent) when the White House was making its case for the campaign.
(Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,003 national adults, aged 18+, conducted June 27-29, 2003. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the margin of sampling error is 3 percentage points.)
As for the weapons of mass destruction, while 52 percent were “very confident” in March that weapons would be found, today, only 22 percent are “very confident” now. Perhaps most significantly, the reports that Americans don’t care that President Bush may have lied about WMD aren’t true. Three-quarters of the population says it matters either a “great deal” (53 percent) or a “moderate amount” (22 percent”) whether Bush lied about the Iraqi arsenal.
Gallup notes that the public’s mood is still more positive than negative, but it’s impossible to ignore the slumping numbers. And it’s also impossible to ignore that the number of people who believe Bush actually _lied_ about the WMD rose from 31 percent “earlier in June” to 37 percent now. What’s curious is why CNN buried that news (and even called it a “little difference”) 17 paragraphs down in its story. Hey, CNN: a 6 point movement in a month on an issue revolving around the chief executive’s honesty is a *big deal.*
Also of note: Fewer than half (48 percent) are confident that the U.S. will capture or kill Saddam Hussein; 49 percent are not confident.
Getting more granular, Gallup asked the 408 adults who thought the war wasn’t worth it an open-ended question about why they felt that way. Fully 24 percent of them said “Fraudulent claims/no weapons of mass destruction/lied to the people about them” were the reason(s) for their discontent. Another 24 percent said that “Nothing has been resolved in Iraq/waste of human lives.”
Turning to the war’s supporters, 51 percent of those cited the need for security (30 percent said it was because of the need to “Protect the nation/stop the threat to world security”; 13 percent to stop terrorism and 8 percent to prevent the proliferation of WMD.) Forty-five percent were less concerned with security (27 percent felt it was the need to remove Saddam from power and 18 percent felt it was to free the Iraqi people.) The 8 percent of the war’s supporters who mentioned WMD as the primary reason indicates that it wasn’t a big deal to the supporters — and it probably still isn’t.
While the public becomes more and more skeptical, SecDef Donald Rumsfeld grows more and more snippy. Rumsfeld yesterday wrangled with reporters over the terms “guerrilla war” and “quagmire,” and said reporters had _still_ not gotten over Vietnam.
“There are so many cartoons where press people are saying ‘Is it Vietnam yet?’ hoping it is, and wondering if it is, and it isn’t,” Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon. “It’s a different time, it’s a different era, it’s a different place.”
He then went on to blame remnants of the Ba’ath Party, looters, released criminals and “foreign terrorists.” (Boo!)
“We are dealing with those remnants in a forceful fashion, just as we have had to deal with the remnants of Al Qa’ida and Taliban in Afghanistan and tribal areas near Pakistan.”
Ho, ho! Truer words than he may realize, since the U.S. is apparently negotiating with the Taliban. War makes strange bedfellows after all…
Anyway, Rumsfeld’s force assessment is no doubt partially correct. But he’s forgetting (or ignoring) the Iraqi civilians miffed as all get out at the American occupiers. But guerilla war? Perish the thought!

To characterize the attacks as a guerrilla war would be “a misunderstanding and a miscommunication to you and to the people of the country and the world,” [Rumsfeld] said.
“[Hostile forces] are all slightly different in why they are there and what they are doing. That doesn’t make it anything like a guerrilla war or an organized resistance,” he said. “It makes it like five different things going on that are functioning much more like terrorists.”

Boo!, again. Of course they’re terrorists. In the Good Guy-Bad Guy world of the White House and the Pentagon, any hostile force that doesn’t assemble in large armored formations on a featureless plain while wearing “Shoot Me” uniforms is, by definition, “terrorist.”
Well, one man’s guerilla fighter is another man’s terrorist, I suppose.

Iraqi Intifada Gearing Up

The Iraqi intifada hits second gear, and weapons of mass destruction fade ever further from the news pages.

The story now in Iraq is the growing resistance to the American occupation, not weapons of mass destruction. As casualty reports continue their grim drumbeat, the death toll rose to 201 American troops killed since the war started March 20, with the two G.I.s found dead yesterday part of five troops killed since Thursday. In all, 24 American troops have died in attacks since May 1, when President Bush declared the major hostilities over. (Sixty-three have died in non-combat related accidents with 39 of those deaths coming since May 1.) George over on Warblogging has a good summary of the recent deaths.
8390999.jpgSaddamists and criminals who cling to the spectre of Saddam’s return are likely fueling this resistance. Oh, and Islamic fundamentalists, foreign Arab fighters and Iraqi nationalists, as well.
“It was predictable,” said Iraqi political scientist Saad al-Jawwad [in the Guardian.] “To any man or any woman or anybody who’s living in despair what could he do? He has nothing left but to carry arms and defy the people who are here occupying his country and doing nothing for him or his family. Where is democracy? Nonexistent. Where is stability? Nonexistent. Where’s electricity? Where’s water?”
Meanwhile, SecDef Donald Rumsfeld denied the U.S. was facing a guerilla insurgency. “I don’t know that I would use the word,” he said, when asked if the occupation was becoming a guerrilla conflict. He noted that the attacks consisted of 10-20 men, with no large formations involved.
Uh, aren’t small, disorganized cadres of insurgents, making hit-and-run harassment attacks kind of the definition of guerrilla warfare? As Stratfor points out:

The more concentrated the force and the more centrally commanded, the easier it is to defeat. Successful guerrilla movements are inherently “disorganized” — if by organization, one means a command structure that is vulnerable to attack. They certainly don’t aggregate into large units and rarely need to coordinate attacks. It is the very lack of coordination that makes them unpredictable and difficult to defend against. They adopt a basic doctrine, such as attacking convoys, pipelines and electrical infrastructure. Then small units carry out these operations on their own initiative.

Blaming the attacks on criminals completely glosses over the fact that the attacks, regardless of who is making them, are inherently political acts; they are attacks on an occupying power.
Stratfor points out that if this is indeed the beginning stages of a guerrilla war, regardless of whether Rumsfeld says it is or isn’t, it looks like the United States has been ill-prepared to deal with it despite last night’s launching of a counter-insurgency operation, dubbed “Sidewinder,” aimed at capturing whoever is behind the growing attack on U.S. troops. Already, 60 people have been captured as a show of force.
in Washington, officials continue to insist there’s no central command to the burgeoning Iraqi intifada, but troops on the ground are convinced it’s organized. “Somewhere in Diala province, something happens every night,” said Capt. John Wrann [in the Guardian], referring to the province northeast of Baghdad where much of the operation was taking place. “It’s got to be a coordinated thing.”
But, like so many post-war events, Operation Sidewinder has an ad hoc feel to it. Not the operational details, which by nature have to be developed to respond to rapidly changing threats, but the very need for it. One gets the distinct impression that the U.S. never planned at all for the possibility of an insurgency.
Rumsfeld seems to be arguing that the lack of a comprehensive military strategy to deal with this isn’t a problem if it’s criminals and other no-goodniks making trouble, not guerrillas in the midst of American troops. Criminals are a problem for the police and society, not the military — or so the thinking at the Pentagon goes. (Which is ironic, considering the current blurring of the lines between the criminal and the military justice systems in the United States.)
But the bottom line is that Rumsfeld & Co. never planned for a guerrilla war because they listened too much to the Iraqi National Congress, which gave them ridiculously rosy scenarios. I seem to remember a war sold as a “cakewalk” — at least according to Sharif Ali, a spokesman for the INC, said on Aug. 8, 2002.
“All of Iraq has suffered for many years from the oppression of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and there is not a single person out there in Iraq that will fight for or defend him, and therefore, we have full expectations that they will turn against Saddam Hussein. And that is one message we are giving the administration,” Ali told the National Press Club that day.
And not to pull an “I told you so,” but, as I wrote back on Jan. 12, 2003,

Instead of a nice, clean occupation that results in the first Arab democracy … I predict the United States will have years of guerilla insurgency from nationalistic Iraqis (some of the fiercest nationalism in the Arab world), the dirty job of suppressing Kurdish and Shi’ite independence movements and Sunni power grabs, the problem of al Qai’da slipping across the borders (with the help of Iran and sympathetic Saudis) into the country to strike at American troops and meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs by Turkey, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia. And don’t forget the resentment in the region that will occur when the United States begins exploiting the Iraqi oil fields for its own purposes.

The reality on the ground doesn’t gibe with Rumsfeld’s beliefs, and Stratfor sums it up thusly: “Rumsfeld and U.S. intelligence did not expect to be facing a guerrilla war following the fall of Baghdad, and there are no coherent plans in place for fighting one. Therefore, there is no guerrilla war.”
And if Rumsfeld truly believes this — and there is a precedent for Rumsfeld ignoring facts that don’t fit with what he believes — Stratfor worries that the guerillas have a massive advantage and that Rumsfeld is in fact buying time while he works on Plan B, whatever that is.
Concerning WMD — Remember Those?
All this focus on the Iraqi intifada has caused the Weapons of Mass Destruction, the raison de guerre, to fade. No one, it seems, in the United States particularly cares that they’ve not been found, and any scrap of evidence is increasingly lept upon with breathless hype that starts to sound more than a little desperate. The materials mentioned in the story found date from the before the 1991 Gulf War, when the Americans knew Saddam was working on nuclear weapons. The scientist who buried the barrel, Mahdi Shukur Obeidi, sat on this stuff for 12 years and never got the call to start up the ol’ uranium enrichment program. Why not, if Saddam were intent on bringing the civilized world to its knees and dominating the Gulf?
Before this war, I was convinced that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction — not nukes, but likely biological and chemical arms. After all, he had them before, and used them against the Iranians and the Kurds in 1984-1988 (along with the compliance if not the blessings of the West.) And he had plenty of opportunity to develop them, with the United Nations weapons inspectors out of the country since 1998.
So I thought there was something there. But I didn’t think he had them in any quantity that rendered him an existential threat to the United States, nor did I think he would cooperate with Al Qa’ida. I didn’t think the threat from iraq rose to a level that required a war, and I didn’t trust the Bush administration to follow through with an enlightened “liberation.”
Well, as it turns out, people who thought this way have been proven catastrophically correct, with one exception: It looks like there were no weapons of mass destruction at all. Some evidence may still be found, of course, but it is increasingly obvious that any program to be uncovered was nowhere near the level of development the White House said it was. Can anyone of reasonably sound mind argue to me that weapons so well hidden or programs in a state of such abeyance could be an imminent threat to the United States?
So if there were no weapons, why didn’t the Iraqis say so and avoid an extremely unpleasant war, as former chief weapons inspector Hans Blix once mused? Well, actually, they did. All throughout the fall and winter’s diplomatic cage death match the Iraqis claimed they had nothing. And look what it got them: invaded.
War supporters usually say now that happy, liberated Iraqis were the reason for the war and that the WMD don’t matter. To which I reply: Stop changing the damn subject. There are obviously a fair number of Iraqis neither happy nor particularly liberated, so those post-war rationalization don’t hold much water.
So if there are no weapons of mass destruction and Iraqis increasingly nostalgic for the “good ol’ days” of security, surveillance and secularism are killing Americans troops, why are we in Iraq?

Iraqi intrigue

According to ArabicNews.com, American proconsul L. Paul Bremer told journalists in Mosul that he had no intention of delaying the formation of an interim government, and said he “does not know the source of these stories.”
Huh?

Hm. According to ArabicNews.com, American proconsul L. Paul Bremer told journalists in Mosul that he had no intention of delaying the formation of an interim government, as I commented on Saturday, and said he “does not know the source of these stories.”
Hey, Paul, here’s a hint: It’s British Diplomat John Sawers, who’s _quoted_ in the story from the New York Times and The Associated Press.

“It’s quite clear that you cannot transfer all powers onto some interim body, because it will not have the strength or the resources to carry those responsibilities out,” The Associated Press quoted Mr. Sawers as saying. “There was agreement that we should aim to have a national conference as soon as we reasonably could do so.”

So what are we to conclude from this? That Jayson Blair is reporting from Iraq? Or that Bremer is engaging in a little “cheat and retreat” of his own? Is he dashing the hopes of Iraqi opposition figures on the one hand and then denying it to journalists a couple of days later? Is the Bush Administration taking yet another play from Ronald Reagan, who once famously quipped, “My right hand didn’t know what my far right hand is doing”?
Vivion Vinson, over at the excellent Iraq Democracy Watch, mentions a Reuters report that Bremer has started drawing a distinction between an interim “authority” and an interim “government,” leading to deep suspicion on the part of the until-now strongly pro-American Iraqi National Congress.

“An interim authority is a very vague concept. I am not sure that an Iraqi representative would go to OPEC meetings (of oil exporting countries) under this setup,” Entifadh Qanbar, a senior official in the Iraqi National Congress, told Reuters.
“We will continue to tell him and push very hard. Anything of this sort will not work. The U.S. will come back and accept an interim government,” Qanbar said.
Qanbar said the United States had repeatedly agreed to form a sovereign government rather than a mere “authority”.

What’s going on here? Is this another example of the “pull it out of your ass at the last minute” planning that has marked the Bush administration’s “administration” of post-Saddam Iraq so far? I have no doubt that Bremer and Sawers told the Iraqi opposition group at a meeting that plans for an interim government would be put off. And I still maintain this is the least bad decision to make. With all the groups in Iraq jockeying for power — Ahmad Khaffaji, a politburo member of the Shi’ite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), accused Washington of breaking its promises to set up a sovereign Iraqi government and warned darkly of civil disobedience if the Americans don’t “fulfill their promises” — turning Iraq over to a government before it’s ready would be a recipe for civil war. This, obviously, would be the worst of all situations and the United States would be in a quagmire practically alone.
This puts the U.S. in a bit of a pickle. If it hands over the reigns of government too quickly, it’s civil war (probably.) If it holds on to them, it’s a colonial power in a region with long and painful memories of colonialism. Running Iraq like an oily fiefdom is not likely to engender cooperation from reluctant allies. And make no mistake: They _are_ reluctant. The sum total of troops contributed by allies other than Britain and Australia can be measured in the hundreds — their numbers look like bowling scores at U.N. league night.
Further complicating matters are, of course, the Kurds, particularly Jalal Barzani’s Talabani’s Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The PUK is already negotiating deals with Turkish (!) oil companies Pet Oil and General Energy to develop the oil fields around Taqtaq near Kirkuk. (Iraq War Reader has a good take on this.) As Micah Sifry muses:

All this may foreshadow a collision between the United States and the Kurds of northern Iraq over who will control the country’s richest oil fields. Hopefully, some of the journalists who have distinguished themselves on the Kurdish beat, like Charles Glass, Patrick Cockburn and Tim Judah (whose article on the Kurds graces our book), will shed more light on this soon.

With the delay of an interim government, a possible dispute with the Kurds — and Turkey? — in the future, the United States’ work in Iraq is cut out for it.
*CORRECTION May 29, 2003*
I misidentified Jalal Talabani in the preceding paragraph. It has since been corrected.

U.S., Britain put off Iraqi self-rule “indefinitely”

In a move seemingly designed to infuriate Europeans and others suspicious of the motives of the United States in Iraq, the U.S. and Britain have told the Iraqi oppositions that plans to put in place an interim government led by the opposition groups have been put on hold “indefinitely.”
This is actually a good thing.

In a move seemingly designed to infuriate Europeans and others suspicious of the motives of the United States in Iraq, the U.S. and Britain have told the Iraqi oppositions that plans to put in place an interim government led by the opposition groups have been put on hold “indefinitely.”
As _The New York Times_ reports, American proconsul L. Paul Bremer and British diplomat John Sawers told Iraqi political figures “that the allies preferred to revert to the concept of creating an ‘interim authority’ — not a provisional government — so that Iraqis could assist them by creating a constitution for Iraq, revamping the educational system and devising a plan for future democratic elections.”
Believe it or not, this is probably the best idea the Coalition has had since it decided to turn Iraq into the 51st state. Iraqis don’t want democracy right now. Well, they do, actually, but they want security a whole lot more. And they want economic development. Hemin Sultan, one of my translators in Arbil, told me that given a choice between democracy and jobs, the Iraqi people would take jobs. And he’s a Kurd in the relatively prosperous part of the country! There’s no widespread looting in Iraqi Kurdistan, nor are there roving militias claiming turf and threatening to turn that part of the country into a 21st century Lebanon.
This also sends the reassuring signal to the region that the United States is in this for a longer haul than some imagined. It’s exactly the opposite what happened in Afghanistan, in which America was so anxious to hand over power to the loya jirga and Afghanistan’s “government” that poor Harmid Karzai has been reduced to being the Mayor of some parts of Kabul instead of the president of his country.
This is a crucial signal to send, for if there’s one thing Iraq’s neighbors want to see _less_ than an extended U.S. presence in Iraq is a too hasty retreat that leaves the country shattered and refugees pouring into Syria, Jordan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Turkey. It will also send a message to the Kurds, so they don’t get the idea they can leverage their newly ascendent position in Iraq to wring _de facto_ independence from a weak interim government.
The story reports that Iraqi opposition figures (it doesn’t mention names) are “disappointed” over the United States’ reversal.

Opposition leaders were “very respectful” to Mr. Bremer and Mr. Sawers, a participant said, “but I think everyone was also pretty forceful about the need to have full sovereignty for the Iraqis.” A question they kept posing, he added, was, “Do you want to run this place, or should we?” …
Today’s decision was a disappointment for the former opposition forces and their supporters in the Pentagon and the Congress, where officials had been pressing for an early turnover of sovereign power to a government formed by the opposition groups.

Also of note is that this decision is a victory for Colin Powell’s State Department, which has been fighting a not-very-private war of its own with the Pentagon and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. State has _never_ trusted INC head Ahmed Chalabi, who is wanted in Jordan for fraud in connection to the collapse of Petra Bank. State has never liked the idea of turning Iraq quickly over to the fractious opposition, knowing full well it and not the Pentagon ultimately would be the department that would have to clean up whatever messes Chalabi and his cronies would leave.
This is second such victory by the State Department recently in this internecine war in the Bush administration. The first was the appointment of Bremer, who, while reporting to Rumsfeld, is a State Department man, having spent 23 years in the diplomatic corps before retiring as a diplomat-at-large for counter-terrorism in 1989.
(I hinted at something like this back in February, and while I was outraged then, I have to reluctantly admit that this is probably the best solution at the moment. Security must come first. Only by building the foundations of a civil society can democracy have a hope of withstanding the buffets of the region’s politics, and that foundation can’t be laid in a country dominated by militias, raping, pillaging and the probable plunder of the nation’s treasury by a cabal of corrupt exiles leading an impotent interim government.)
It will be interesting to see what the reaction will be from the neocons and other hawks at the Pentagon — including vice president Dick Cheney — who supported Chalabi and the Iraqi opposition throughout the 1990s. It will be even more interesting if Bremer can keep the United States’ eyes on the ball and still in the game.
*Addendum*
I’m sure several readers have already pointed this out in the comments — I haven’t read them yet; I will! — but the obvious and better solution would be to turn Iraq over to the United Nations to be governed as a trust, sort of like Kosovo. This would have the added benefit of encouraging more countries to send peacekeeping troops, something few are doing now. This, however, would require the Bush administration to do the Right Thing, which it has proven remarkably adept at avoiding. And since waiting on the White House to come around to that point of view will lead to a lot of Iraqis being killed as the country falls into chaos, what is the better choice? I’m not advocating Bremer’s “Shoot the Looters on Sight” policy, but security, order and basic services must be established first and foremost before a crony-filled, puppet government is established.

What kind of world do you want to live in?

What would you do if someone in your community took the law into his own hands and murdered an admittedly bad character? What if he then had trouble proving why he pulled the trigger?

Let’s open this up with a hypothetical situation: There’s a murderer living in your community. He’s struck before and one of your neighbors, the richest and most powerful guy in town, is convinced he’s going to strike again. Rich Guy tells everyone in town that the murderer is a bad guy and needs to be taken care of, that he has a torture chamber in his garage and that he’s a threat not only to you but to the whole town. To top it off, he beats his attractive wife and abuses his children. But no one wants to join Rich Guy’s lynch mob. And the cops aren’t much help; they say they have no evidence that he’s done anything lately. He’s a wily criminal and covers his tracks. But he gives you and everyone else in town the creeps.
Finally, Rich Guy decides to take the law into his own hands. One day, after repeated warnings, he shoots the old guy dead in the street in full view of everyone. The community is secretly glad he did it, and — bonus! — his attractive wife and children are no longer terrorized. Why, you might even date her yourself although Rich Guy has already started wooing her.
One small problem: As Rich Guy is rummaging around in the murderer’s house, he can’t find a single instrument of torture or the murder weapons that he used on his previous victims. All signs, in fact, point to a decrepit old man whose reign of terror — which at most extended to his front lawn — would soon be coming to an end anyway. There are no indications he was able to kill again. However, Rich Guy does find the old man’s personal fortune stashed away in mason jars, which he said he would take “to hold on to while his wife and child recover from their horrible ordeal.”
So now Rich Guy has killed a man — who no doubt deserved to die and could hardly be considered innocent — but he’s broken the law. He committed murder and there’s really no denying that.
Should the cops now lock him up? Prosecute him for first degree murder? What would you say if this situation happened in your community?
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Well, if that mean old man was really about to do some nasty stuff, perhaps Rich Guy should get manslaughter or justifiable homicide.” But the mean old man’s means of terrorizing his neighborhood are inconveniently absent. Do you still trust Rich Guy? Would you look at him counting the old man’s money with his arm around the beautiful widow and think, “Ah, hell, the wife and child are happy so all’s well that ends well”? Would you shrug and think, “This is the kind of town I want to live in! Who needs cops when Rich Guy can take care of the bad guys?”
But what happens if Rich Guy is wrong?
Okay, this was obviously an analogy for Iraq and the United States, and this report from the Washington Post makes it clear that not only is the search for weapons of mass destruction coming up empty, it’s looking increasingly futile. As the Post says:

The 75th Exploitation Task Force, as the group is formally known, has been described from the start as the principal component of the U.S. plan to discover and display forbidden Iraqi weapons. The group’s departure, expected next month, marks a milestone in frustration for a major declared objective of the war.

The task force is being shuttered next month, and the number of fruitless missions paints a damning indictment.
CENTCOM began the war, the story says, with 19 top weapons sites. Only two remain to be searched, with nothing coming up in the first 17. Another list had 68 top “non-WMD” sites that might offer clues to the locations of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons programs. Forty-five have been dead ends. Despite the Bush administration’s assertions that the inspections have barely begun and — irony alert! — must be given time, Task Force 75’s inspection of the high-priority targets has been marked by poor intelligence on the part of Washington or poor security that led to sites being looted or burned. This means that any materials that might have been used to produce WMD are now missing, which is what this was was allegedly fought for.
“Am I convinced that what we did in this fight was viable? I tell you from the bottom of my heart: We stopped Saddam Hussein in his WMD programs,” said Army Col. Richard McPhee, according to the Post. “Do I know where they are? I wish I did … but we will find them. Or not. I don’t know. I’m being honest here.”
But the key parts of this article are the ones that show how poorly the retroactive search for a casus belli is going.

“We came to bear country, we came loaded for bear and we found out the bear wasn’t here,” said a Defense Intelligence Agency officer here who asked not to be identified by name. “The indications and warnings were there. The assessments were solid.”
“Okay, that paradigm didn’t exist,” he added. “The question before was, where are Saddam Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons? What is the question now? That is what we are trying to sort out.”
One thing analysts must reconsider, he said, is: “What was the nature of the threat?”

The suspicion that the American people — and the United Nations — were not simply misled but actively lied to by Team Bush to gain support for this war leads to a bit of a queasy feeling. At least it should.
Look, I’m not denying that good came of this and that the Iraqi people likely will eventually be better off, but I do have to ask some questions to the people now crowing that what the United States did was right:

  1. Was the good that came out of this worth the problems and costs now facing the United States?
  2. Was it worth it to saddle the United States taxpayer with a multi-billion dollar commitment to Iraq when the nation’s deficits are climbing ever higher and the economy is as stagnant a Florida swamp?
  3. Was it worth the damage to international order and alliances that has been done?
  4. Why did the United States start a war armed with a quiver full of lies?
  5. Is this the kind of world you want to live in?

A couple of quick pointers

This is a short entry as I’m swamped in pulling together work on various projects, but I wanted to draw your attentions to a couple of interesting-looking sites now that the war is “over” and Iraq is “free.”

This is a short entry as I’m swamped in pulling together work on various projects, but I wanted to draw your attentions to a couple of interesting-looking sites now that the war is “over” and Iraq is “free.”
The War in Context.org is pulling together a host of articles on the aftermath of Gulf War II in an attractive and easily accessible form. The Iraq War Reader, edited by Michah L. Sifry and Christopher Cerf, looks to be a good resource for people trying to understand the so-far dominant story of 2003. The Village Voice has a review online. (Sifry and Cerf edited The Gulf War Reader, a collection of documents and essays about the first Gulf War in 1991.)