Losing Iraq? (Editorials)

The Nation, June 9, 2003 | Go to article overview

Losing Iraq? (Editorials)


Is it too soon to ask, Who lost Iraq? War critics and skeptics should not be hurling I-told-you-so's yet. But many of the serious questions they raised before the invasion (apart from why it was justified in the first place) have turned out to be questions for which the war planners of the Bush Administration--and we use the word "planners" hesitantly--had no answers.

They had no plan for providing security and countering the lawlessness and disorder that some Pentagon officials foresaw. They had no plan for managing a political transition that would entail more than directing the "dancing in the streets" Iraqis toward elections. They had no plan for insuring the supply of essential services. They had no plan for maintaining the health system (let alone guarding hospitals in addition to the oil ministry). They had no plan for restoring the economy and getting the oil industry up and running smoothly under Iraqi control. They had no comprehensive plan for quickly finding and securing the weapons of mass destruction they claimed were in Iraq or the nuclear material--of value to anyone looking to make a nuclear bomb or merely a dirty bomb--that was known to be present at various nuclear facilities. And they had no clue that Shiites would quickly develop a political force demanding power and a quick end to the US occupation--even though experts on the region warned that this would be likely.

There's more. Team Bush--and its think-tank and op-ed colleagues--claimed that victory in Iraq would lead to democracy throughout the region, would pressure terrorists and would ease the path to resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Weeks ago, flush with military success in Iraq, Bush proclaimed Al Qaeda to be "on the run" and "not a problem anymore. …

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