Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Iraq War: Yes, Virginia, it can get a lot worse

Molly Ivins:

I'm for democracy. I'm against Saddam Hussein. I'm sorry it didn't work out the way they wanted it to. Now let's go. Because anybody who tells you it couldn't possibly get worse is a fool.
Gary Hart:

"Our army is in danger," he said. "If all-out civil war breaks out, we could lose our army. If Sunnis and Shiites take to the streets by the thousands, it could literally be impossible to get [the soldiers] out. ... I know that sounds apocalyptic, but it's not out of the question. We need an exit strategy. We have no choice. We're making things worse. Ninety percent of the insurgents are Iraqis who don't like the fact that we have occupied their country. ...

"I know we can't just pack up and leave right away, but we're still acting as if we hold all the cards over there. We don't. We're losing control of the situation. ... The British occupied Iraq for 35 years and finally had to leave because there was a constant insurgency against them. We haven't learned anything." (my emphasis)
More Gary Hart below...

From his October 2005 interview with Gareth Porter in the Winter 2005 Middle East Policy:

Q: Let me ask you about the military implications of the inability to extract the United States from Iraq in an orderly fashion. There is a lot of speculation that this war will have the same effect as the Vietnam War had on the U.S. military in the 1970s.

SEN. HART: I think it's already happened. Every senior military officer who will be candid has said that we're exhausting both the Army and the Marine Corps in ground operations. And there's a secondary level of attrition and erosion in the Air Force and Navy just because of the kinds of constant ops, high-tech ops, that are going on in support of the ground forces. I think it'll take 20 years, at least, to rebuild the standing military in this country, not just financially but, more important, in terms of the human element.

I think the costs in human and financial terms are enormous, and they haven't even begun to be calculated yet. The sad part is that, under our system, the people who have caused it won't be around to have to repair the damage. They'll all be gone. (my emphasis)
Diplomat Suzanne Nossel:

"I've always been very concerned about leaving Iraq as a failed state, and the ramifications for the image of American power around the world. I take that seriously. Despite all the mistakes we have made in this war, the stakes have been so high that I felt we had to stay and try to make things right.

"But now, facing the facts on the ground" — a reference to death squads, militant clerics, ethnic fragmentation, and warring Iraqi leaders — "I question whether we are making a contribution, and whether it makes sense to stay in." Or, as she argued separately in an online column, "The only thing worse than Iraq as a failed state is Iraq as a failed state with 130,000 Americans serving there." (my emphasis)

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"It is the logic of our times
No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."

-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?


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