Magazine article The Nation

Turning Point in Iraq

Magazine article The Nation

Turning Point in Iraq

Article excerpt

When asked why the United States should not invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein, a prescient critic said, "Once you've got Baghdad, it's not clear what you do with it. It's not clear what kind of government you would put in place of the one that's currently there.... How much credibility is that government going to have if it's set up by the United States military when it's there?... I think to have American military forces engaged in a civil war inside Iraq would fit the definition of quagmire, and we have absolutely no desire to get bogged down in that fashion." The critic was none other than Dick Cheney, who made these comments as Defense Secretary in 1991, explaining the first Bush Administration's decision to end the Gulf War after Iraq had been expelled from Kuwait.

Now that he's climbed onto the neoconservative bandwagon in the second Bush Administration, Cheney seems to have forgotten his own wise counsel. As many predicted before the current war, the invasion and occupation have released explosive tensions and caused growing anti-US feeling. With the uprising of Muqtada al-Sadr's militia in at least seven cities, the unrest has spread from the Sunni minority to the Shiite population. The resistance calls into question the Administration's characterization of the war.

Before the invasion, the White House and its supporters promised that US troops would be greeted with flowers and candy. Instead, resistance was often fierce among the Sunnis, even though the bulk of Saddam Hussein's army abandoned the field. Then, as an insurgency took hold in the Sunni Triangle, a new explanation was concocted: Resistance was only from Baathist "dead-enders," or sometimes Islamist extremists from other countries. In fact, resentment of the occupation was never limited to Saddamists, or even to the Sunni population. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.