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No Flowers For Occupiers

"We hadn't considered it, those of us who supported the war . . . In retrospect, it seems obvious." Gee, well maybe you should have, um, listened to someone else. It was, after all, something plenty of other people considered.

December 14, 2004 | Permalink


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» Hindsight from fredschoeneman.com
Matt Yglesias quotes what I think is a fairly thoughtful piece by Steven Vincent, writing in NRO: We hadn't considered it, those of us who supported the war . . . In retrospect, it seems obvious." before interjecting with... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 14, 2004 7:48:18 PM

» Shame in Iraq from Silent E
In some sense, a shared national victory against a hated occupation may be the best outcome: if the Iraq people can believe that they have defeated the US, it will be a great psychological boon to the new nation and government. Shia and Kurd will fee... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 15, 2004 12:01:53 PM


I am not having a hard time imagining a similar aticle being written by an Englishman subject of King George about those ungrateful Americans.

Posted by: Chance the Gardener | Dec 14, 2004 5:21:05 PM

I have no trouble understanding that those who reject the fact that humans are primates find it so "unreasonable" when humans act like primates.

Most striking to me is the way in which the author quotes an Iraqi, "Imagine if a foreign power was occupying America — wouldn't you resist?" without dealing with the obvious truth of it.

Hasn't anyone seen the movie Red Dawn?

Posted by: Eric Malmstrom | Dec 14, 2004 5:33:09 PM

I think that's a pretty good excuse, and I'll use it the next time I bet my entire paycheck on lucky 14. "I'm sorry honey, it just didn't occur to me that I'd lose--after all, the croupier himself promised I'd win. In retrospect, of course, anyone can see that my actual odds were 38-1--but that's water under the bridge--so now let's start planning how to spend my future winnings."

Posted by: Christopher | Dec 14, 2004 5:39:02 PM

Ah yes, the oldest excuse- "Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time."

And I'm sure it did.

Posted by: serial catowner | Dec 14, 2004 5:41:40 PM

Who could possibly suspect that the Iraqis would actually get pissed off about rape, torture, pillage, and murder of civilians? Any reasonable people would thank us for killing their relatives.

Posted by: Tim H. | Dec 14, 2004 5:45:04 PM

Believing that the world is a rational place, where people are guided by reasonableness and enlightened self-interest is generally a mistake.

Posted by: Robert | Dec 14, 2004 5:49:44 PM

Wow. I'm having a little trouble dealing with the absolute arrogance that is oozing out of this article, and I'm having much the same reaction as I did when I saw Ann Coulter and Tucker Carlson talk about Canada as if they should be thankful they're on the same continent as the United States, and that many of them don't like America because we make them embarassed at their own incompetencies.

This is a wonderful way for the delusional arrogant right to frame Iraqis' resistance to our takeover of their country.

I'd really like to know who'd be the first to rise up against invaders who attempted to take over our country in order to rid us of George W. Bush. I wonder who the insurgents would be then, and who the revolutionaries would be then.

Posted by: Anjali | Dec 14, 2004 5:56:42 PM

But, there wasn't going to be an "occupation." The Iraqi state was going to function, administratively, just as it had before the Anglo-American invasion. Revered former exiles would return from comfortable lives as European and American exiles to lead it, cheerfully piloting a willing nation toward Chilean-style market reforms and a peaceful and economically-robust relationship with Israel (with which it would surely have full diplomatic ties) while eschewing anti-democratic attempts to crown themselves with permanent power. There would be minimal destruction and little deprivation, regrettable but necessary faults that would be retroactively excused by both the Iraqi Miracle and the revealed presence of Saddam's vast stores of frightening weapons. There would be fewer than 30,000 allied troops in Iraq within six months of invasion, too few to stir local resentment, particularly since they would generally be confined to their bases. There was no need to speculate about the consequences of another outcome. There was only one such possible.

Posted by: Brian C.B. | Dec 14, 2004 5:58:09 PM

This is so infuriating. MY is right on. The Iraqi response was predicted by many people. That it was a definate possibility should have been apparent even to those who believed it more likely that they'd be throwing bouquets.

I'm just an average joe who reads the paper and a few blogs and yet the casual predictions that I made conversationally over a cheeseburger and a bottle of rolling rock were much closer to actual outcomes than the geniuses in DoD.

Posted by: homeward bound | Dec 14, 2004 5:59:40 PM

Brian C.B.
That was brillant. Possibly THE best slicings of the Rumsfeld/Cheney policy I have seen.


Posted by: Cranky Observer | Dec 14, 2004 6:02:59 PM

Who knew the Iraqis would hate freedom so goddamned much?

Posted by: grytpype | Dec 14, 2004 6:08:50 PM

It's a perfectly natural mistake. People figured that because the invasion was a U.S. government activity, it would be run about as well as Social Security. If it had been, the Iraqis would be our best friends in the world.

The mistake was in not checking the track records of the people running the invasion.

Posted by: serial catowner | Dec 14, 2004 6:17:12 PM

What's really annoying is that the whole goddamned thing, from AQ on down, is more about humiliation than religion, economics, or most of the other factors bandied about.

You can't defeat through humiliation people who hate us for humiliating them.

Shock and Awe -- any idiot could see that our own reaction to the AQ Shock and Awe assault on NYC was not abject surrender, or anything like it.

Posted by: CharleyCarp | Dec 14, 2004 6:19:34 PM

Such closemindedness to other viewpoints is the natural result of ethnocentrism and egocentrism. It's the extremity of the ethnocentrism that is the surprise to the rest of us.

Posted by: Debi | Dec 14, 2004 6:22:52 PM

Gee, well maybe you should have, um, listened to someone else. It was, after all, something plenty of other people considered.

I wonder if Matthew could point me to, you know, an example or two.

Posted by: Al | Dec 14, 2004 6:37:03 PM

Well, I agree wholeheartedly with Matt as usual. Unfortunately, there seems to be no sign of the willing blindness getting better. From Bush's new cabinet of flatterers to his 'one question' policy at his rare press conferences, there are fewer and fewer sources for him to get another point of view. Democratic politicians are branded "too liberal", columnists are branded "elitist", protests are branded "hippie treehugging anti-patriots."

What's the point of leaving dozens of comments on Matt's blog (besides boosting his ego...)? What can we do? The only thing I can think of is to get more support for moderate republicans or independents. Unfortunatley, the left-leaning republicans such as Maryland's ex-representitive Connie Morella have recently been voted out, and those directly under Bush's control have been dismissed, a la Colin Powell. Chris Van Hollen, the democrat who replaced Morella, has almost the exact same views on issues. His campaign slogan -- "I'm the democrat".

In the name of rationality, we need to put aside partisan ties, and vote for the person who has good ideas. If the administration will only listen to voices from its own side, then let's strive to get some rational-minded people on the right, even if it means giving up a couple seats in the house. I'd rather have a reasonable senate than an empty-headed left one.

Posted by: Renaissance Man | Dec 14, 2004 6:38:39 PM

I think it's a damn shame that even reactionary, Bush-licking outfits like NRO are getting all weepy and introspective. Ah well, I guess it's now up to us lefties to play both sides of the argument.



Posted by: Sven | Dec 14, 2004 6:39:55 PM

I was initially against the war in Iraq, because the talk about cakewalk and flowers sounded like total BS.
I changed my mind mostly because Saddam's atrocities reminded me of my own country's history, and how my country was liberated from the Commies - if not through force, but still, mostly through efforts of America, led by another cowboy who was called an idiot by everybody at the time. The end of the Cold war hurt Russian pride almost as much as the current war hurt Iraqi pride. Most Russians still hate America, yet most of them would love to live here. Just like the Iraqi woman in the article who wanted to be published in an American magazine.
Most Americans seem really concerned with popularity. They want to be popular as individuals, and as a country. I guess it leads some to forget that you don't fight a war to be popular: you fight it to protect your butt. And unfortunately, because America now is the world's only superpower, her butt does need protection, and that has nothing to do with Bush or the evil neocons.

Posted by: Ivan Lenin | Dec 14, 2004 6:59:38 PM

Ahem. Anyways, this debate is way past its use-by date. The hot new freshness is, "Do the Iraqi insurgents resemble the Maccabees?"

Posted by: Sven | Dec 14, 2004 7:05:10 PM

Brian CB, i agree with Cranky: perfect. dead-on.

Al, although there were various studies, the single best (and i don't have the time to track it down, but i'm sure you can google it) was the study by the two professors from the Army War College whose name escapes me.

Reading it, as i did, during the fall of last year, was to be startled and depressed about every single issue that we confronted in the occupation was discussed in detail, including measures for avoidance of same....

Posted by: howard | Dec 14, 2004 7:14:36 PM


Here's one example for you:


Posted by: Swopa | Dec 14, 2004 7:22:25 PM

May I suggest reading the book CRIMES OF THE RIGHT by author HOPE NEWMAN to see the real Washington's behind-the scene.

Posted by: Jack Kemp | Dec 14, 2004 7:35:59 PM

" wonder if Matthew could point me to, you know, an example or two."

I was saying it quite loudly Al, but then you never really listened to me.

Posted by: God | Dec 14, 2004 7:37:05 PM

I wonder if Matthew could point me to, you know, an example or two.

All you needed were the ears to listen, some wide reading, and an ounce of skepticism. The information was all out there.

Posted by: ScrewyRabbit | Dec 14, 2004 7:40:06 PM

"... Believing that the world is a rational place, where people are guided by reasonableness and enlightened self-interest is generally a mistake ...

Who are you suggesting is unreasonable? Us, them, or both? ;-)

Posted by: synykyl | Dec 14, 2004 7:43:27 PM

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