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Operation Told You So

But now that nearly everyone has figured out that this was an incredible, criminal mistake, some of them have changed their minds. Conservative luminaries like William F. Buckley, George Will, Francis Fukuyama, and Andrew Sullivan have all admitted that the war was a mistake, or at least handled incredibly badly. But none of them have gone the extra mile. It's one thing to admit you were wrong—something a lot of conservatives seem genetically incapable of, so they're ahead of the pack there. But it is quite another to admit someone else was right. And that's something none of these guys are about to do.
Operation Told You So
No one could have anticipated the Iraq disaster, except the 40% who did
Allan Uthman

With bodies popping up in Iraq like morbidly obese people at a Krispy Kreme grand opening, public opinion on the war is finally approaching reality—everywhere but in the White House. The papers are hesitating to call the escalating violence between Shiite and Sunni Arabs civil war (the euphemism in both the LA Times and New York Times today is "strife"), but it's pretty clear that the situation is well out of hand. Still, the badly weakened White House is in full denial mode, planning yet another "series of important speeches." The message is the same as it has been for the last couple of years—forget all that WMD stuff; we went to Iraq to spread freedom and democracy.

Democracy in the Middle East, even forcibly implemented, Bush says, will "bring hope to a troubled region, and this will make America more secure in the long term." But this is as much of a lie as the whole "500 tons of sarin" thing. The most recent democratic elections in the Middle East have brought to power Hamas in Palestine and a holocaust-denying fundamentalist madman in Iran. All democracy means, really, is majority rule. This can be a drawback if the majority is insane.

But I don't really have to argue about that anymore. It seems that the country has finally caught up to the farcical stupidity of this war. It's like everybody's waking up from a hypnotic trance under which they were homicidal zombies, rubbing their eyes and saying, "where am I?" And when told, they can't believe it. "Me? I would never do a thing like that."

They say that, after Watergate, you couldn't find anyone who would admit they had voted for Nixon. I suspect we're going to see a similar phenomenon with Iraq. How many people want to admit they supported the dumbest war in modern American history? At least, when we got to Vietnam, there were really communists there. We weren't running around desperate to find anybody with a copy of The Marx-Engels Reader so we could announce it on TV.

But some of the majority who did at least temporarily support the war don't enjoy the luxury of plausible deniability—namely, the opinion-makers who convinced so many that Saddam would be crawling out of their toilets with a vial of anthrax clenched in his teeth any second. All you have to do if you want to see just how wrong right-wingers were is read some columns from the run-up to the war. It's amazing these people are still able to show their faces in public without being repeatedly slapped.

Seriously—go read some of those opinion columns again. It's really something. It's hard to distinguish the liars from the fools, but the inescapable fact is that they were all wrong. America's history of war is teeming with liars and fools, and this one is no exception. Let's look at a few examples:

"Delaying action against Saddam is like waiting for a killer to knock at the door... The kind of harm Saddam can deliver will take thousands of American lives if we wait."
-Cal Thomas, October 9, 2002

"Even today, Saddam Hussein has chemical and biological weapons that violate the terms of that treaty; he is rebuilding weapons facilities, assembling new squads of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles, and continuing to seek nuclear weapons, all clear treaty violations."
-Maggie Gallagher, October 14, 2002

"The threat of mass death on a scale never before seen residing in the hands of an unstable madman is simply intolerable--and must be pre-empted."
-Charles Krauthammer, October 7, 2002

They sound pretty stupid now, don't they? This list goes on and on, but you get the idea. It's painful but important to remember these words, especially if you believed them. It's important to look back, to feel the embarrassment, to remember just how wrong they were.

And that's exactly what they were, all these people who smugly dismissed the notion that invading Iraq was illegal, immoral, and pointlessly stupid—they were wrong. This is no longer a matter of "he said, she said." The issue is past debating. These people were wrong. And not only were they wrong, but they spent a lot of time accusing their opposition—liberals who turned out to be right—of hiding their heads in the sand, of lacking courage, even of treason. And it worked, at least on the ones who did lack courage. It got us there.

But now that nearly everyone has figured out that this was an incredible, criminal mistake, some of them have changed their minds. Conservative luminaries like William F. Buckley, George Will, Francis Fukuyama, and Andrew Sullivan have all admitted that the war was a mistake, or at least handled incredibly badly. But none of them have gone the extra mile. It's one thing to admit you were wrong—something a lot of conservatives seem genetically incapable of, so they're ahead of the pack there. But it is quite another to admit someone else was right. And that's something none of these guys are about to do.

But it hardly matters. The fact is they were wrong. They were wrong, and the wussy, unpatriotic, "pre-9/11 mentality" liberals were right.

I'm not talking about John Kerry or Hillary Clinton, so don't even go there. I'm talking about liberals, the ones who are practically unmentionable these days—Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich—even Michael Moore. The truth of this would be enough to give a guy like Chris Hitchens an aneurysm, if he could only admit it to himself. But it is true, undeniably. Anyone who thinks the situation in Iraq is improving, or will improve, just isn't paying attention.

They were wrong. There were no nuclear weapons, no 500 tons of sarin gas. Saddam was not connected to al Qaeda. We were not greeted with flowers. The war was not a piece of cake. The mission was not accomplished. It does require a lot more troops to occupy a nation than to invade it. The world is not a safer place. They were just wrong.

We who opposed the war, who wrote and spoke and demonstrated against it, we were right. Iraq is an intractable quagmire, an endless disaster with no solution. America's actions have resulted in civil war there. The war has become al Qaeda's best recruiting tool and made the threat of Islamic terrorism much worse. Our international image is indelibly tarnished. We were 100%, unequivocally right.

There is no joy, no satisfaction in writing this. I sincerely wish the Neocons were right, that freedom and Western values would have magically flourished in Iraq, spilling out from Saddam's broken pedestal and flowing across Iraq's borders into Iran, Syria, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Middle East. But the whole idea sure seemed stupid to us whacky leftists at the time.

And you know what? We were right. So maybe next time, you shouldn't just dismiss us as terrorist sympathizers or white-livered elites. Maybe next time you should listen to us, and forget the idiots who've been lying to you the whole damn time, sweet-talking you into giving up hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of gallons of blood just to make total asses of ourselves in front of the whole damn world. And maybe you won't be so quick to trust the same people again.

But probably you will. Because the only thing harder than admitting you were wrong is admitting that the other guy was right. But you should; you really should, because that's how people learn. Just admit it. You were wrong. We were right. I'll try not to bring it up again.

homepage: homepage: http://buffalobeast.com/95/operationtoldyouso.htm

yep. 23.May.2006 17:11

this thing here

>No one could have anticipated the Iraq disaster, except the 40% who did<

this statement is a killer bumper sticker and demonstration banner.

i have a similar kind of amazement towards the bush admin. what did they think would happen? how high ARE they on crack? what planet do they live on?

i, along with millions of others in america and around the globe could see this coming for MILES - no WMD's, protracted occupation, civil war, and possible cancer like spread of the war into iran or other countries. and we are just the little people, who don't have big degrees and tailored suits and pointy heads. hell, we we're even elected. we don't have fancy crystal balls, and yet we have all been proven right.

wait a minute... 23.May.2006 19:40

a person

Now wait a minute...

"The threat of mass death on a scale never before seen residing in the hands of an unstable madman is simply intolerable--and must be pre-empted."
-Charles Krauthammer, October 7, 2002

Doesn't that one sum things up pretty accurately? We failed to pre-empt him, but....

they don't care. 23.May.2006 21:22

--

The bush crime family (republicrats & demoblicans alike) don't care. They don't care about you. They don't care about me. They knew what you knew and decided overthrow of sovereign nations, imperialism, power, oil, personal status and money are more important. They do not represent us and don't care to. They are the enemy. The Iraq war has accomplished plenty for the people who planned it.

This is government by default, not consent. Operation Fascism Accomplished.

Some very good points here... 23.May.2006 21:55

Wallowed

...but excuse me?

"I'm talking about liberals, the ones who are practically unmentionable these days—Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Dennis Kucinich—even Michael Moore."

To my knowledge, Ralph Nader is the only person in that list whom has been able to maintain his principled anti-war position to the bitter end. The other 4 men all publicly endorsed John Fuckface Kerry- the man who proposed escalating the illegal invasion of Iraq by adding 40,000 US soldiers to the meat grinder, as his solution to the debacle.

By endorsing Kerry, public figures such as Chomsky, Zinn, Kucinich, and Moore, all played their part in legitimizing the Iraq abomination. Kerry is not fit to scrub Nader's toilet.

Democrat Party supporters, and the greens for that matter, owe Ralph Nader a huge apology for mounting such a vicious attack against him, rather than taking a principled stand against the bloodthirsty fascist pirates that have assumed control of our government. Until they are able to find the courage to do that, half of the problem will remain.

ps- For all of you Deaniacs out there... Dean NEVER took a clear principled stand against the horrific and illegal invasion of Iraq...EVER, and HE SUCKS EVEN MORE ASS THAN KERRY!!! If you can demonstrate otherwise, I would like to see it.

There were more than 40% against the war to begin with 23.May.2006 23:22

Fred Bauer

The media worked on the general public for months trying to whip up support. That 40% was after the media blitz, after applying the O'Really Factor. Remember how they compared Saddam to Hitler and Bush to Churchill? (Whose side you on?)

"If we hadn't gone in after Hitler, we'd all be speaking German."

"Freedom isn't free. You have to fight, not like one of dem cheeze eat'n surrender monkeys."

They're girly men you know. That's why we have to keep pulling their shit out of the fire.

"If appeasement didn't work with Hitler, it sure as shit won't work with Saddam."

See, you were like Chamberlain if you didn't want to fight like your Daddy did when men were still men.

Saddam was presented as a threat to the world. Anyone who didn't want to fight was either a fool or a coward, most likely both and certainly a member of "The Axis of Weasel". This was the strategy they used for "conservative" mindsets.

For "liberals" they appealed to your sense of compassion and showed torture chambers and wood chippers and stories about depraved sons ready to take over if you didn't have the guts to get off your liberal panty waist ass. And if you were just too sorry, useless, cowardly to do anything, then at least have the common decency to get out of way.

JUST SHUT UP!

And of course there was the story about Saddam gassing and slaughtering "his own people".

I guess it's OK to gas and slaughter someone else's people.

After months of that broadside of bullshit, there were STILL 40% against the war.

Same author on the WWII analogy 25.May.2006 17:55

Me Tarzan

Hey Fred Bauer, here's the same author, Allan Uthman, writing at the Beast's Blog on the weakness of such Hitler-Saddam comparisons:

***

Quite frankly, I could write a much better and more logical argument for staying the course in the Iraq war than Blankley's new column, "Tony Blankley: Exit strategy day." In it, Blankley alludes to the failed Munich Agreement of 1938, wherein UK Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain agreed to let Hitler have the part of Czechoslovakia he had already taken. Ultimately, the agreement wasn't necessarily a mistake, because Hitler wouldn't have backed down anyway had Chamberlain threatened military action.

But that's beside the point. Blankley here draws a parallel between Iraq's, um, not invading anybody, and Germany's acquisitive aggression. This is totally absurd and makes no sense whatsoever. Blankley is comparing apples and asteroids.

While Saddam has been compared to Hitler in terms of general badness, it's beyond asinine to compare Iraq in 2002 to Germany in 1938. Blankley is basically implying that, had Team America not gone all shock and awe on Sadddam's behind, he would have...I don't know, conquered Europe or something? It's fucking ridiculous. Iraq was in no position to do a damn thing; it was, in fact, a devastated country with a hopelessly weak army before we invaded. Germany was a beefed-up military powerhouse which truly had to be dealt with.

Saddam was dangerous because he dared defy the forces of privatization. So we made an example of him, just like we made an example of Aristide, and have been trying to do the same to Hugo Chavez. The Feds couldn't give a shit whether these leaders torture, gas, or even eat their own subjects, as long as they're willing to sell them out for Exxon Mobil. And neither could Tony Blankley.

***

Uthman is a diamond in the rough, and deserves more attention.