Thursday, August 23, 2007
Bush and history
There's just one problem with that. Historians aren't stupid.
Oh, sure, there are stupid historians; there are stupid people in every profession; some stupid people can even be elected President of the United States. But as a general rule, historians look at decisions, and the events surrounding them, and recognize stupid decisions for what they were. What are they going to note about Iraq?
First, I'll bet that they'll be appalled at the moral blindness that America had entered. Going to war is a serious issue, and the reasons raised for a full scale invasion were simply not important enough to justify bringing the horrors of war to the Iraqi people.
Second, I'll guarantee that they'll be bemused by the ridiculous idea that you can impose freedom by force. "Yes, that's right," Bush said, "If you beat people up and order them to be a free people, they'll by-god *be* a free people, if they know what's good for them!" Yeah, sure... people are always more free when forced to be that way by outsiders.
Thirdly, and most importantly, they'll be stunned by the idiocy of the arguments. The United States was attacked by a massive criminal organization. Three thousand people were killed. Bush decided that he could ignore the massive criminal organization, and go after a completely different target, one that was not affiliated with that criminal organization. He decided he would risk an open-ended, costly war, without thinking that his plans could fail, without making any contingency plans, and, let's face it, without even making any plans for what to do after the initial conquest was completed.
John Kerry called it a distraction; he was wrong. It was much, much worse.
Look, Osama bin Ladin knows that a single terror network, consisting of a mere 20,000 people, can't do a huge amount of damage to the United States. But if he could goad us into doing something stupid, like invading a country we've already been damaging (with the sanctions for which we were the primary champions), then he could use that to whip up more anger against us. He could also tire out our military, strike against our soldiers and military equipment, and make us spend massive amounts of money and resources, making us weaker.
And it has worked. One massive terror plot, and he goaded a foolish American President into committing us to a war that's cost over three hundred billion dollars, and counting, that has reduced our military readiness to a pitiful level, that has killed over 3500 of our best and brightest, and that has caused us to bring a huge amount of suffering and chaos to the Middle East.
Historians will not record this as a success. They will not record this as a good idea. They will record it as what it is: the most incredible blunder imaginable given the circumstances. The main question that historians will answer is now "was invading Iraq a good idea?" but instead "how did America become so blind and stupid as to do something so clearly foolish?"