Had We Known

Via Romenesko, the AP:

“It’s not clear that the United States has the political will to stay with this much longer,” Curley said, before asking the panelists what happens next.

Hurst responded: “I hope that what happens next doesn’t happen until after there is a long period of examination of the ethical question that needs to be answered, and, that is, there is a situation in Iraq today — leave aside how it got that way — for which the United States bears some, if not a lot of responsibility. My guess — and, I think, it’s a guess, perhaps a prediction, held by a lot of people who are more expert than me — is that when the United States goes, if it goes too quickly from Iraq, that there will be a great deal of killing and a lot of bloodshed.”

Hurst added: “I think clearly, though, that when the United States begins to leave, if there hasn’t been some sort of miraculous turnaround there — there’s no sign of that — that there is going to be a lot of violence. A lot of violence. You’ll probably end up with a much more radical style Shiite-led government in at least part of Iraq, if it isn’t partitioned completely … It’s probably an outcome that had the American public known about, going into it, there would have been a lot less fervor and support for the war.”

And the thing is, I’d like to say that Hurst is right, that if it had been made clear to the American people that it was going to be a total cock-up on the level we’re seeing today, they’d have said eh, let’s go blow someplace else up instead. But I have no such confidence, really. Americans wanted to kick the shit out of somebody, and Iraq would do, is basically how it went, and if you don’t think that’s how it would go next time, you haven’t been paying attention.

Plus there was a whole store of Iraqi jokes left over from Gulf War I that we could use at parties, and patriotic songs about putting boots in people’s asses. You can’t waste that kind of opportunity.

A.

10 thoughts on “Had We Known

  1. Hoppy says:

    I have said this before and it is still true: Americans love a war. We like to feel all threatened by boogiemen, but able to kick butts, with heroic marines wading in to successfully show “them” that we are the meanest, baddest sons of bitches in the neighborhood. Of course our pleasure in war only holds true as long as it is other peoples children doing the fighting. Therefore, there will be more of these in our future.
    As far as Iraq goes, it is true that when we withdraw our troops there will be sectarian violence, with people being killed by once neighbors, and the government will tend heavily towards a Shia government. But, it is equally true that the same will occur and is occurring if we don’t withdraw our troops.
    Maybe the answer is for us to look for more places like Grenada where it is still possible to have a nice little war to satisfy our urges without killing so many people.

  2. cosmic tumbler says:

    Americans live under the delusion of innocence. We are constantly having our innocence violated, as with 9/11. It’s like the regenerating virgin. And, once our innocence is violated, we have to kick the shit out of someone.
    What is odd about this is that America has never been innocent. From slavery and genocide against the native people to the fire storming of Dresden and the dropping of the A-bomb, American has been a vicious, all consuming predator.

  3. Oh, Athenae…, you’re sounding about a cynical as I feel.

  4. aimai says:

    What this post makes me think is that the commenters and journalists and politicians of this country are really, really, morons.
    Look, America and, indeed, any democracy, doesn’t have “political will” it has “political desire.” As other posters have pointed out above Americans desired war, vengeance, nobility, a cause etc… and they acceded to Bush’s co-optation of gtheir vague desires for those things but they never actually had any particular political will for those things. If by that we mean a desire/intention that is stronger than other competing desires and intentions such as the desire not to lose, or not to lose lots of troops, or not to be made a fool of.
    A nd that was obvious from the very beginning. Bush’s whole promise of tghe “short war” was meant to get around the fact that the US did not have, and never had had, some unambigous, unalloyed, “strength of will” when it came to war. People wanted a short war, a glorious war, a war without loss and with great gain. That war has pretty much never existed (except reagan’s little mini ego massages) and it certainly wasn’t the war they got in Iraq. So why lament the loss of political “will?” It never existed in the first place.
    Its like saying that my toddler has a “will to ice cream.” That’s not true. My toddler “desires” ice cream but would never pursue ice cream if it meant injury or pain along the way. Desire without will? idle.
    “Will” alone? meaningless. Even if the US had the “political will” to continue in iraq absent a winning strategy that is like saying we are too dumb to pull our feet out of the fire when it starts burning us. Its nothing to be proud of.
    Oh to have a press corps that recognizes that using terms like “political will” when such a thing doesn’t really exist in a democracy for any long term, difficult goal, is an absurdity.
    aimai

  5. pansypoo says:

    this ‘war’ spoiled some dearly held american illusions/delusions. and america hasn’t really seen the bill for it.
    of course there’s still some idiots who still don’t understand how the magicians trickery worked and still see the ‘fWeedom.

  6. Athenae says:

    Darryl, I’m not cynical so much as I’m scared that if everybody doesn’t yell loudly ehough about this, that if everybody assumes what everybody else is thinking, it’ll just happen all over again. “Oh, well, we know better now.” No, we really, really don’t, and unless it’s pointed out that we don’t, and why we don’t, I don’t see how we’re ever going to be able to get out of another situation exactly like this.
    aimai, that’s a hell of a point, and a good distinction.
    A.

  7. The_Other_Sarah says:

    Okay, wait a minute, WTF?
    Look what this moron says is coming, and contrast it with what’s already happening. Iraq today is NOT a haven of peace, bliss and happiness, no matter what our delusional CommandeW-guy-the-decideW-McMoron believes. So. Some kind of working government in Iraq won’t be an improvement over the current situation? What is this guy smoking?
    Hurst responded: “I hope that what happens next doesn’t happen until after there is a long period of examination of the ethical question that needs to be answered, and, that is, there is a situation in Iraq today — leave aside how it got that way — for which the United States bears some, if not a lot of responsibility. My guess — and, I think, it’s a guess, perhaps a prediction, held by a lot of people who are more expert than me — is that when the United States goes, if it goes too quickly from Iraq, that there will be a great deal of killing and a lot of bloodshed.”
    Hurst added: “I think clearly, though, that when the United States begins to leave, if there hasn’t been some sort of miraculous turnaround there — there’s no sign of that — that there is going to be a lot of violence. A lot of violence. You’ll probably end up with a much more radical style Shiite-led government in at least part of Iraq, if it isn’t partitioned completely … It’s probably an outcome that had the American public known about, going into it, there would have been a lot less fervor and support for the war.”

  8. Tena says:

    Yeah. The problem, as I see it, is that we like ourselves way too much.
    I’ve had a million discussions with liberals who moan that Europeans will hate each of us when we go overseas. Well the fact is, they are not sitting over there obsessing about us. That would be us, over here.
    We really need to get over ourselves and that ain’t going to happen until WE DISMANTLE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.
    Bill Clinton started to – that’s why the military hates him, IMO.

  9. Dorothy says:

    a long period of examination of the ethical question that needs to be answered, and, that is, there is a situation in Iraq today — leave aside how it got that way — for which the United States bears some, if not a lot of responsibility.
    […]
    It’s probably an outcome that had the American public known about, going into it, there would have been a lot less fervor and support for the war.”

    This completely and totally pisses me off. How does he not see that these two statements are contradictory? If the American public had known the probable outcome going in, there would have been less support for the war–but it’s not important “how we got here”? If support for war is based on what we know, isn’t “how we got here” all that matters? If the war was a bad decision, don’t we need to review the decision-making process and see where the flaws were?
    It’s essentially abstinence-based foreign policy: Let’s all bemoan the poor pregnant teenagers, but by all means let’s not teach them how they are getting pregnant, so when the poor girl comes in with her third unplanned pregnancy, we cluck our tongues and say, “Well, remember, abstinence is best” and “No one could have imagined she’d get pregnant again.” Most importantly, when it becomes apparent that abstinence is not working, let’s all clap harder, keep the faith, and deride anyone who suggests maybe we should try something else as “quitters” and “abortion enablers”.
    These people do not learn. That’s the overall problem: the press, the people in charge–and hence the people who support them–are incapable of admitting a mistake and will make the same ones over and over and over…

  10. BuggyQ says:

    Heh. Shorter Tena: “The rest of the world just isn’t that into us.”

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